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smoky mountain picnic areas

5 Best Smoky Mountain Picnic Areas You Should Know About


Whether you just spend a couple of hours or a full day exploring the Great Smoky Mountains, you will probably want to take a break and relax next to a creek or in the comfort of the shady trees. You can find plenty of places to picnic in the national park, and we want to share some popular areas as well as a few lesser-known spots. Read on to discover the best Smoky Mountain picnic areas! 

1. Chimneys Picnic Area 

Along Newfound Gap Road between Gatlinburg and Cherokee, you will come to the Chimneys Picnic Area. Shady and situated next to the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River, this area is picturesque and provides a tranquil backdrop for your picnic in the park. The Cove Hardwood Nature Trail is next to this site and less than a mile long, so it won’t take long to complete. Also, further up the Newfound Gap Road is the Chimney Tops Overlook!

2. Cades Cove

cades cove picnic area in the smoky mountainsIt should come as no surprise that the Cades Cove Picnic Area is one of the most popular Smoky Mountain picnic areas! It is convenient for those hiking to Abrams Falls, biking the scenic loop, or touring the many historic sites in the scenic valley. Situated next to a peaceful creek, you’ll love enjoying a relaxing lunch or quick snack in this area before resuming your adventure! You may even see a black bear or other wildlife– just remember to stay away, and whatever you do, do not feed them!

3. Metcalf Bottoms

Metcalf Bottoms is another popular picnicking site along the river, and we highly recommend checking it out! The Metcalf Bottoms Trail begins right next to the picnic area. At only 1.5 miles roundtrip, it is ideal for families, and at the end, you will come to the Little Greenbrier School, which is rumored to be haunted!

4. Greenbrier Picnic Area

greenbrier picnic area in the smokiesGoing for a scenic drive in the Smokies and want to explore the Greenbrier area of the Smoky Mountains? You won’t want to drive by this beautiful picnic spot! There are only a few picnic tables and grills at the Greenbrier Picnic Area, but less than a mile up the road is a large picnic pavilion with more charcoal grills and a stone fireplace that can accommodate up to 70 people. The Porters Creek and Old Settlers trails are also nearby!

5. Twin Creeks

Located off of Cherokee Orchard Road, Twin Creeks is one of the lesser-known picnic areas in the Smoky Mountains. It is special because the pavilion there can seat up to 150 people with charcoal grills and a large stone fireplace with grill grates for an extra cooking area. Close to downtown Gatlinburg and the Roaring Fork Motor Trail, this area is perfect for large group gatherings and can be reserved. There are also restrooms available! 

These are just a few of the best Smoky Mountain picnic areas in the national park. Want to learn more about places to explore? Check out our list of top family-friendly waterfall hikes!