The Great Smoky Mountains are full of wildlife, natural features, and all kinds of beauty people come from all over the world to see. You have probably wondered what you should see while you’re visiting the national park. Here are the 6 best places to visit in the Great Smoky Mountains:
1. Clingmans Dome
Do you want to see one of the best mountain views in the Great Smoky Mountains? You should hike to Clingmans Dome. The roundtrip length is about 1 mile, but the hike to the top is steep. The trail is paved, but because of its steepness, wheelchairs and strollers aren’t recommended. Clingmans Dome is actually the highest place in the Great Smoky Mountains at 6,643 feet, which is why it has one of the best views available.
2. Cades Cove
If seeing wildlife and historic buildings is on your Great Smoky Mountains bucket list, then you definitely have to drive the Cades Cove Loop. Cades Cove is one of the most popular scenic drives in the mountains and one of the best places to spot wildlife. Some animals you might see include the infamous black bears, white tailed deer, wild turkey, and much more. The empty fields with mountain ranges in the background are what draw people to Cades Cove. Plus, the old homesteads you can see and walk inside fascinate people from around the world. Cades Cove is also popular for photographers.
3. Charlies Bunion
If you avidly hike and want a beautiful view of the mountains, you should hike to Charlies Bunion. THe roundtrip length is 8 miles with an elevation gain of 1,600 feet. This area gets its name from rock formations that resemble bunions. Behind these rock formations, you’ll find incredible views of mountains and valleys.
4. Andrews Bald
For a more moderate hike with great mountain views, you should travel to Andrews Bald. Its roundtrip length is 3.5 miles with an elevation gain of 900 feet. You’ll travel through old forest growth. The Forever Trails Program made the trail to Andrews Bald easier and safer to climb with rock stairs. Once you reach the bald, which is known as a “bald” spot on a mountain, you’ll have great views of the mountain range in the distance.
5. Laurel Falls
One of the easiest and rewarding hikes is Laurel Falls. At just a little over 2 miles roundtrip, this hiking trail is perfect for kids and older adults who aren’t equipped for other hiking trails. The path is paved. Once you reach the top, you’ll see the two-tiered, 80-foot-tall waterfall. Water gushes over the rocks, and there’s an area with a footbridge that’s perfect for pictures. Laurel Falls is one of the most popular hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains, so going early in the morning would be best.
6. Ramsey Cascades
If you’re looking for a hiking trail that challenges you and has a beautiful waterfall at the end, you should hike to the Ramsey Cascades. It’s an 8 mile hike roundtrip, and you’ll cross footbridges over creeks and through old forest. Once you reach Ramsey Cascades, you’ll see over 100 feet of water rushing over multiple tiers of rocks, going into a pool at the bottom.
When you visit the Great Smoky Mountains, you have so many fun things you can do and sites to visit. For even more information about the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, click here.