Cades Cove is an isolated valley located in the Tennessee section of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The valley was home to numerous settlers before the formation of the national park.
Geologically, Cades Cove is a type of valley known as a "limestone window", created by erosion that removed the older Precambrian sandstone, exposing the younger Paleozoic limestone beneath. More weathering-resistant formations, such as the Cades sandstone which underlies Rich Mountain to the north and the Elkmont and Thunderhead sandstones which form the Smokies crest to the south surround the cove, leaving it relatively isolated within the Smokies. As with neighboring limestone windows such as Tuckaleechee to the north and Wear Cove to the east, the weathering of the limestone produced deep, fertile soil, making Cades Cove attractive to early farmers.
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