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Top 4 Picnic Areas in the Smoky Mountains

picnic table and grill in Greenbrier
June 26, 2024

One of the best ways to enjoy the fresh mountain air is having a picnic in the Great Smoky Mountains! There are a number of great picnic areas in the Smoky Mountains that offer picnic tables, charcoal grills, and even pavilion facilities. If you’re looking for a beautiful spot to enjoy your outdoor meal, check out these top picnic areas in the national park:

1. Chimneys Picnic Area

One of the best picnic areas in the Smoky Mountains is the Chimneys Picnic Area. You can find this spot about 20 minutes from downtown Gatlinburg along Newfound Gap Road. This shady picnic area has 68 picnic sites with some of the tables overlooking the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River, providing a picturesque backdrop for your picnic. If you’re looking for a fun activity after you finish your meal, you can try hiking the short Cove Hardwood Nature Trail or the challenging Chimney Tops Trail nearby.

2. Cades Cove Picnic Area

table and grill in Cades Cove Picnic Area

Cades Cove is the most visited section of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and the Cades Cove Picnic Area is a popular place to stop for a peaceful meal while exploring the area. Whether you need to fuel up before a hike to Abrams Falls or a bicycle ride around the loop, or you just want to enjoy the fresh air before continuing your scenic drive, this is a great place to enjoy a relaxing breakfast, lunch, or snack before continuing your adventure. You can even cook up a hot meal on the charcoal grills at this picture-perfect picnic area in the Smoky Mountains.

3. Greenbrier Picnic Area

The Greenbrier Picnic Area is another great place to have a picnic. The Greenbrier section of the national park is often overlooked, meaning this is typically one of the least crowded picnic areas in the Smoky Mountains. The Greenbrier Picnic Area only has 12 picnic tables and a handful of charcoal grills; however, there is a large picnic pavilion with more grills and a stone fireplace less than a mile up the road. You can find the Greenbrier area of the national park just 15 minutes east of downtown Gatlinburg.

4. Metcalf Bottoms Picnic Area

river next to Metcalf Bottoms Picnic Area

One of the most popular picnic areas in the Smoky Mountains is the Metcalf Bottoms Picnic Area. This spot has 122 picnic sites, each with a charcoal grill. Many of these picnic sites are situated next to the river, allowing you to enjoy beautiful and peaceful scenery during your outdoor meal. Dip your feet in the water or splash around in the swimming hole downstream to cool off on a warm day. If you feel like exploring after your picnic, you can walk the 1.5-mile Metcalf Bottoms Trail that begins right next to the picnic area. This trail features old homesites, a cemetery, and the Little Greenbrier Schoolhouse.

More Things to Do in the National Park

A picnic is only one of the many fun activities you can do in the Smoky Mountains. Whether this is your first visit to the national park or your hundredth, you should check out these 5 things to do in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park that everyone should try at least once!

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