August 19, 2019
Are you not the type of person who likes to get out and hike in the wilderness? If this sounds like you, you still have a variety of ways you can enjoy the beauty of the mountains! You won’t even have to leave the comfort of your car! There are a ton of roads you can drive and see gorgeous mountain views. Check out these top 6 scenic drives in the Smoky Mountains you’ll love:
One of the popular scenic drives in the Smoky Mountains is the Foothills Parkway . This road stretches 72 miles from Cosby to Chilhowee, Tennessee. As you drive through the mountains, you’ll have incredible views. In the spring and summer, you’ll get to see the lush greenery of the foliage, while in the fall, you’ll be blown away by the reds, oranges, and yellows you will see as you drive. Not only will you see the mountains, you’ll also have great views of the Tennessee Valley as you wind on the Foothills Parkway. This is definitely a scenic drive in the Smoky Mountains you don’t want to miss!
The Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail is 5.5 miles long and goes in one direction. If you want to go on a scenic drive in the Smokies without as many people, this is the perfect road for that. Plus, if you want to take in the beauty and history the Smoky Mountains have to offer, this is just the road you should take. You’ll see rushing streams, especially after it rains, and old growth forest full of huge trees. There are also many log cabins, mills, and other historic buildings that have been well preserved so tourists are able to see what the mountain culture was like back in the day. The Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail is closed during the winter due to treacherous snow and ice that can accumulate and make it dangerous to drive.
A major road you don’t want to miss out on is the Cades Cove Loop . This road is 11 miles long. It is designed to be driven, providing you with opportunities you may not find anywhere else in the Smokies! As you drive along the road, you can look out into the meadows and fields, possibly seeing black bears, deer, turkey, and many other wild animals. There are many places you can stop and get out of your car to not only stretch your legs but also see incredible historic buildings that have been preserved, such as the John Oliver cabin or a working grist mill. Hiking trails are also in Cades Cove, such as the Rich Mountain Loop or Abrams Falls where you can enjoy seeing nature up close. Plus, there’s a picnic area right outside the Loop where your family can enjoy a meal and then stick your feet in the cold mountain water in the creek!
A low point in a mountain ridge is known as a gap. Newfound Gap is the lowest point you can drive in the Smoky Mountains, with an elevation of over 5,000 feet. The road is 31 miles long, going from Tennessee to Cherokee, North Carolina. Not only will you be able to see beautiful old forest growth, you can also stop and see Mingus Mill and the Web Overlook.
If you’re looking for a scenic drive in the Smoky Mountains that will make you feel peaceful as you drive it, the Cataloochee Valley is the drive you need to take. In the isolated valley, you’ll have the opportunity to see elk, deer, and maybe even black bears. There are also many historic buildings you can stop at along your drive.
Looking for a way to get from Gatlinburg to Townsend or vice versa? Then you need to drive on Little River Road! If driving through the mountain forest is how you want to spend your day, this is the perfect scenic drive in the Smoky Mountains for you. Along the 18 miles, you’ll see roadside waterfalls, picnic areas, wildflowers, and views of the river. You can get to Laurel Falls, Cades Cove, the Sinks, the “Y” in Townsend, and many other popular stops while on this road.
Taking a scenic drive in the Smoky Mountains is the perfect way to spend a day! Looking for other fun things to do while you stay with us? Find out what discounts and free tickets you get when you stay with us through our Freedom Fun Pass!