If you want to see the beauty of the mountains but don’t want to hike, you should take a scenic drive! You will have incredible mountain views, be able to see wildflowers or fall colors, and possibly even spot wildlife! Plus, it’s a great way to spend time together. Here are the top 4 scenic drives in the Smoky Mountains you should take:
1. Cades Cove
Cades Cove is one of the most popular destinations in The Great Smoky Mountains National Park. You drive 11 miles around a paved loop where you can stop and get out at any point to take pictures or enjoy the fresh outdoors. There are plenty of stops with historical buildings you can walk through, and you might even see black bears or other kinds of wildlife along your drive. There are 3 churches you can explore, as well as old homesteads so you can see how people lived when they first migrated to the area. There’s also a worked grist mill, a smokehouse, and the ever-popular cantilever barn! You will want to come back again and again once you drive the Cades Cove Loop!
2. Newfound Gap
One of the great scenic drives in the Smoky Mountains is Newfound Gap. This road connects Gatlinburg TN to Cherokee NC. You’ll wind and drive along with the mountains. This is a great road to take if you want to see the beautiful fall colors because of the elevation of the road. Not only will you be able to enjoy the beauty from your car, you could also stop at popular destinations along this road! There are plenty of trail heads you can access from Newfound Gap, including Clingmans Dome, a short 1 mile roundtrip hike to the highest elevation in The Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
3. Foothills Parkway
Foothills Parkway is a popular road to travel to see the Smoky Mountains. The government commissioned the road, and it has been completed in sections over the last 75 years and probably has another 20 years to go until it is complete. Eventually, the remaining 33.5 miles will be completed once funding has been secured to connect the rest of the Parkway. If you want to see wildflowers and fall colors, you should definitely drive the open sections of the Foothills Parkway. You will all have a good time enjoying the beauty of the national park on this scenic drive.
4. Roaring Fork Motor Trail
If you want to go on a road less traveled, try the Roaring Fork Motor Trail. It is named after the creek the road follows along. It is a 5.5 mile, one-way road that provides a truly scenic experience. You might spot wildlife in the woods from your car, and you can even get out and explore old homesteads. There are plenty of trailheads that lead off of this road, including Rainbow Falls and Grotto Falls. This is a great scenic drive in the Smoky Mountains!
Taking a scenic drive in the Smoky Mountains is just one way you can enjoy yourself when you stay with us. Want to know about more fun things to do in the area? Check out these Smoky Mountain attractions for some ideas!