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A diverse set of experiences await you in the most visited National Park in the US.
Don’t miss the immensely popular Cades Cove with its collection of historic homesteads, preserved buildings like Cable Grist Mill and churches. The scenic valley is also one of the best and most reliable areas to see wildlife, including bears.
Crossing the park using Newfound Gap Rd, you’ll enjoy that typical mystical scene from Newfound Gap with the blue fog rising from the valleys – the reason why they’re called the Smoky Mountains. Side trip to Clingmans Dome, the highest peak take the short but steep hike up the walking to the flying saucer style viewing platform.
The 5.5 mile one way loop Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail leaves from right in Gatlinburg and features lush, hardwood forest, Rainbow Falls and the Place of a Thousand Drips, as well as more historic cabins like Noah “Bud” Ogle’s, grist mills, and other preserved buildings.
No matter what your hiking ability or level of enthusiasm is, the Smokies has a trail for you. Maybe one of the short and easy Quiet Walkways is your style. Moderate choices include the Grotto Falls Trail where you maybe lucky enough to see the llamas hauling supplies to LeConte Lodge trekking behind the waterfall.
Or perhaps it’s a steep challenging trail like the Chimney Tops hike that’s on your list.
Hear stories about the hardy pioneers and founders of the Park, wondrous wildlife and stories about Cherokee Nation culture & museums, all while you explore Great Smoky Mountain National Park at your own pace.
Gatlinburg, Cherokee, or Townsend
In a single day you’ll be able to visit the highlights of Newfound Gap, Clingman Dome and Cades Cove. If you have an extra day, consider saving Cades Cove for its own day and add Roaring Fork Nature Motor Trail. With more time available, stop to enjoy hiking opportunities and time in the towns.
There are 145 miles of touring inside the Park
There are no National Park entrance fees for Great Smoky National Park – you’ll find out why in the tour!
Consider making a donation to Friends of the Smokies who Preserve Protect and Provide for needed projects.
Check out our blogs and make the most of whatever time you have in the Smokies.
You can bicycle anytime in Cades Cove but its much nicer when the Loop is closed to vehicles on Wed and Sun 7am-10am, to allow for pedestrian and bike-only traffic.
A lottery determines who gets to view the synchronous fireflies that are usually on display for a few weeks around late May – late June.
Applications open on the NPS site in April.