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Research Areas > Great Smokys > Cades Cove


Loop Road

      The 11-mile Loop Road begins at the east end of Cades Cove.  Road Log 4 in Moore (1988)   provides a guide to the geology along Little River Road and Laurel Creek Road to the entrance of Cades Cove.  Loop Road is on alluvial and colluvial debris terraces and "fords" 23 branches that have incised the terraces.  The road also is generally parallel to the surface trace of the Great Smoky fault and it crosses the buried fault at 6 places. 

     The best exposure of limestone that has fossils is from the John Oliver Cabin to just beyond Freezell Branch, where there are concretions of silica called chert, used by Cherokee for tools.  North of the road, Gregorys Cave is one of three known caverns in the park, the other two are in Tuckaleechee Cove.

     Metcalf Phyllite immediately above the Great Smoky fault can be seen above the limestone at Gregorys Cave and along Martha's Branch north of the John Oliver Cabin.

     The Rich Mountain Road crosses Cades Cove Mountain into Tuckaleechee Cove where Jonesboro Limestone is exposed in another tectonic window through the Great Smoky fault.  To see Abrams Falls, exit right off the Loop Road at the west end of the cove. 

     Forge Creek Road connects the Loop Road and the trail head to Gregory Bald.  The Forge Creek Road crosses several thrust faults that places Metcalf Phyllite and Cades Sandstone in contact.

to Abrams Falls trail >

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Abrams Falls

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Gregory Bald

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