Another Cades Cove trail, or “close to” Cades Cove, is the Crooked Arm Ridge trail which runs 2.2 miles from the Rich Mountain Loop trailhead to the Indian Grave Gap trail.
Starting on the Cades Cove Loop Road, walk 0.5 miles to its intersection with the Rich Mountain Loop Trail before reaching the first stream along the Crooked Arm Ridge trail at 0.2 miles. This stream eventually becomes Crooked Arm Falls, which is really only noticeable during wet weather. You’ll hop across the stream as you make your way along the trail.
Switchbacks come upon the hiker as he ascends the trail further, but don’t keep your head down or you’ll miss the many majestic views Crooked Arm provides. At 1.2 miles in, the view of Cades Cove is one many who just stick to the touristy parts of the national park miss. It’s a beautiful image of one of the park’s jewels.
As trail moves on, hikers continue over Crooked Arm Ridge and then to Pinkroot Ridge and into an oak and pine forest. You’ll want to keep your eyes from here on as a number of spectacular views come up. The first, at mile 1.9, shows you Sparks Lane as it crosses Cades Cove. You’re not far from the conclusion of the Crooked Arm Ridge trail now. At the end of it, you may turn left if you want to continue on the Rich Mountain Loop day hike.