Places To Visit In Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains is one of the most popular national parks in the U.S. When it comes to adventure and breathtaking views nothing can beat Great Smoky Mountain. With over 150 Official Trails the Great Smoky Mountains is a dream destination for hikers. It is also the most attractive destination for adventure seekers. 

The Great Smoky has plenty of places to explore from adventurous hikes to peaceful birdwatching and even hidden waterfalls. Here we have mentioned the top places to visit in the Great Smoky Mountains which you shouldn’t miss.

Fontana Lake and Dam

Fontana Lake is the largest lake in Western North Carolina. Fontana Dam is the tallest concrete dam east of the Rocky Mountains. The dam impounds the Little Tennessee River forming Fontana Lake. The Appalachian Trail crosses Fontana Dam giving a breathtaking view of the lake.

Fontana has about 238 miles of shoreline and 10,230 acres of water surface. It also gives an opportunity for many watersports. There are many marinas that service the lake, which offers watercraft and equipment for rental including canoes, pontoon boats, paddleboards, and kayaks. You can also go swimming a popular activity in Fontana Lake, and there are plenty of public places you can stop along Highway 28 and swim.

Things to do in Fontana Lake & Dam

  •  Wildland Trekking
  • Tail of the Dragon
  • Fontana Village Resort
  • Fontana Lake Houseboat
  • Fontana Dam & Visitors Center
  • Swimming in Fontana Lake
  • Lakeshore Trail

Newfound Gap

Scenic drive through Newfound Gap is most popular in the Great Smoky Mountains. It is the lowest drivable pass through the park. The drive through Newfound Gap Road has often been compared to a drive from Georgia to Maine is because of the forest ecosystems and the wonderful landscape.

Newfound Gap is cooler than the surrounding lowlands and also receives much more snow. Temperatures at the Newfound Gap are 10° F or cooler than in the lowlands on average, 69 inches of snow falls at the gap. Newfound Gap has a stunning landscape which is the perfect destination for photographers.

Things to Do in Newfound Gap

  • Go for hike at Clingmans Dome Trail
  • Mt. LeConte & Alum Cave
  • Mountain Farm Museum, 
  • scenic drive on Newfound Gap Road

Cades Cove

Cades Cove is the most popular destination in the Great Smoky Mountains. Cades has several hiking trails for all levels of hikers from short trails to challenging trails. You can even drive through the loop to explore Cades Cove but the most beautiful way to explore is seeing it on horseback. They even have a Cades Cove horse stable where you can rent a horse.

In Cades Cove, you get to see all kinds of historic buildings churches, barns, and cabins. Many of these buildings were moved to Cades Cove. The stunning mountain scenery and beautiful wildflowers along the trail in the spring make Cades Cove worth visiting.

Things to Do in Cades Cove

  • Drive through the Cades Cove Loop Road
  • Hiking Trails in Cades Cove
  • Historic Buildings in Cades Cove
  • Tuckaleechee Caverns
  • Spruce Flats Falls

Clingmans Dome

Clingmans Dome is the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It is also the highest point in Tennessee. The spectacular view from Clingmans Dome. You need to walk the half-mile steep path to the observation tower for a 360-degree view of the Park.

It is one of the great places in Smokies for sunrises and sunset. There are several trails other than Clingmans Dome trail. Before you go for a hike make sure to check the weather condition and avoid hiking alone.

Things to Do in Clingmans Dome

  • Clingmans Dome Observation Tower Trail 
  • Forney Creek Trail
  • Drive to Clingmans Dome
  • Explore Clingmans Dome the highest peak

Laurel Falls

Laurel Falls Trail is the longest of four paved trails in Great Smoky. The trail was built in 1932 to allow fire crews access to the Cove Mountain area incase of a a forest fire. Now it’s the most popular hiking trail in Great Smoky.

Laurel Falls Trail is one of the beautiful trails, but you need to be careful of black bears.  Laurel Falls is a favorite haunt spot for the bears. You can watch black bears from a distance and do not disturb them.

Things to Do in Laurel Falls

  • Elkmont Synchronous Firefly Viewing
  • Hike to the Laurel Falls Trail

Grotto Falls Trail

Grotto Falls Trail is a 2.6 mile out and back trail located near Gatlinburg. The hike begins from the Trillium Gap Trailhead endpoint of the trail is the Grotto Falls. The falls are a 25-foot high in summer is a perfect treat for hikers with cool, and shady water. You get to cross at least three streams following a beautiful forest.

Things to Do in Grotto Falls Trail

  • Explore an old-growth hemlock forest
  • Gatlinburg Trail 
  • Trillium Gap Trail 

Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail

If you like to go for a scenic drive Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail is one of the most popular scenic drives in the Smokies. It is a 5.5-mile loop road through old-growth forest and even historic structures. It is home to historic buildings like log cabins and grist mills, waterfalls.

Things to Do in Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail

  • Rainbow Falls Trail
  • Scenic Overlooks
  • Trillium Gap Trailhead
  • Jim Bales Place
  • Ephraim Bales Cabin
  • Alfred Reagan Place & Tub Mill.

Chimney Tops

The Chimney Tops Trail is one of the most popular trails in Great Smoky among hikers, It’s because of its length and challenging path. The one-mile hike to Beech Flats crosses several bridges and tributaries. You even get to climbs up to a height of 4,840 feet to a 360-degree view of the park which gives a stunning view of the park.

Things to Do in Chimney Tops

  • Climb to the Chimney Tops
  • Go for a picnic at Chimneys Picnic Area.
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