There are a ton of places in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park you’ll want to check out. From scenic drives to hiking trails, you have plenty of fun things to try! We want to share some of the top spots you should check out while you’re visiting the Smokies. Here are the top 5 places you need to visit in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park:
1. Cades Cove
The most popular destination in the national park is Cades Cove. It’s very unique because you drive along an 11-mile loop where you can stop and get out at any point. There are a ton of historic buildings along the drive, and you will want to get out and explore the cabins, barns, and churches. There’s even a smokehouse and a working grist mill. Cades Cove is also popular because it’s where many people see wildlife. Early in the morning or right before the sun sets, you could see white tailed deer, wild turkey, and possibly even black bears. Cades Cove has to be on your list of places to experience!
2. Clingmans Dome
Another place you’ll want to check out in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is Clingmans Dome. At 6,643 feet, Clingmans Dome is the highest elevation in the park. It’s one of the first places the leaves start to change colors in the fall, and you’ll also see snowfall stick here first. The path to the observation tower is paved but steep. The hike is about 1 mile round trip. You won’t want to miss seeing the beautiful views from Clingmans Dome!
3. Laurel Falls
You may know the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is home to many beautiful waterfalls. The most traveled path to a waterfall is Laurel Falls. This hiking trail is considered easy with a round trip length of 2.6 miles. The path is paved, preventing people from tripping over roots and rocks. In the spring, you’ll see why the trail is named after mountain laurel, because you’ll see it as you hike. Laurel Falls stands at 80 feet tall, and a footbridge sections the falls into two, an upper part and a lower part.
4. Roaring Fork Motor Trail
If you don’t want to get out and hike but still want to see the mountains, you should drive on the Roaring Fork Motor Trail. This is a scenic, one-way drive and a great way to see the beauty of the mountains. You’ll pass over creeks and even be able to get out and see old homesteads. You can even see a waterfall named The Place of a Thousand Drips along this drive.
5. Grotto Falls
To get to Grotto Falls, you’ll have to drive along the Roaring Fork Motor Trail. This hiking trail is considered moderate and is 3 miles roundtrip. You’ll make your way through old forest growth and see beautiful flowers in the spring. Once you reach Grotto Falls, you’ll be amazed at this 25-foot-tall waterfall. It’s the only waterfall in the national park you can walk behind, but be careful since the rocks are slippery!
When you visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, you’ll want to experience all of these places. Since you have an idea of what you’re going to do when you’re in town, now you just need a place to stay! Look at our Pigeon Forge hotel rooms and start planning your trip today!