One of the best ways to explore the Smokies is by driving on one of the scenic roads in the area! This is a pleasant way to enjoy the region’s natural scenery while riding in the comfort of your car, plus you can make as many stops as you want! You will find all kinds of wonderful overlooks to break up the drive, as well as some awesome hiking opportunities to stretch your legs! Here are the top 4 scenic drives in the Smoky Mountains you’ll want to explore:
1. Clingmans Dome Road
One of the top scenic drives in the Smoky Mountains you’ll want to explore is Clingmans Dome Road, which leads to the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park! At 6,643 feet, Clingmans Dome is also the highest point in Tennessee and the third highest mountain east of the Mississippi! The 7-mile road to Clingmans Dome features plenty of scenic pullouts with stunning views of ridges and valleys, so plan to make a few stops! The road ends in a large parking area, where you can take a 0.5 mile hike to the summit and climb an observation tower!
2. Upper Tremont Road
Upper Tremont Road is a delightful setting for a scenic drive because it features several great hiking trails, picturesque waterfalls, and lots of fantastic views! Since it travels along the Middle Prong of Little River, there are endless photo opportunities along the way! You will also find plenty of tree shaded parking areas along the route where you can stop for a picnic lunch. Since Upper Tremont Road is considered a hidden gem, this route is less traveled than most and is particularly peaceful. Although the road is gravel, it is well maintained and suitable for most vehicles.
3. Wears Valley Road
Another one of the top scenic drives in the Smoky Mountains you’ll want to explore is Wears Valley Road, a 15-mile road that runs between Pigeon Forge and Townsend. Although this route is considered a “highway”, it still features all of the amazing mountain views that makes the Smokies so famous! This is also a convenient route for anyone wishing to access the Great Smoky Mountains National Park via Line Springs Road, which always has less traffic entering the park than the Gatlinburg entrance. You can also access the gorgeous Foothills Parkway from Wears Valley Road to experience even more fantastic views of the Smokies!
4. Little River Road
Little River Road is a gorgeous drive that gently winds between Gatlinburg and Townsend. You can start this relaxing journey at the Sugarlands Visitor Center. Don’t let the name “little” fool you, this is actually one of the longest drives in the Smokies at 36 miles round trip! The road snakes along the Little River with some fantastic stops that include overlooks, trailheads, picnic areas, and even a waterfall that can be seen from the road! Eventually, Little River Road dead-ends right into Cades Cove, where you can continue on the loop. Read more about Cades Cove Loop Road and some of the area’s other breathtaking scenic drives!
Check out all of our cabins in the Smokies today to stay close to these scenic drives in the Smoky Mountains! We look forward to seeing you soon!