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view of the mountains from foothills parkway

Top 6 Places You Should Visit in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park


The Great Smoky Mountains National Park has several points of interest you may want to check out while you’re in town. From waterfalls to beautiful mountain views, there are several cool things to see. Here are the top 6 places you should visit in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park:

1. Cades Cove

Cades CoveThe most popular place people love to visit is Cades Cove. You can do just about everything in this area, from driving to hiking to having a picnic. The Cades Cove Loop is very popular; it is 11 miles of paved road you can drive on to see the beauty of the Smokies. You might see wildlife, and you’ll definitely get beautiful mountain views and historic buildings along your drive. You can stop virtually anywhere along the Loop and get out. There are several hiking trails along the Loop, and the Cades Cove picnic area is right outside of the Loop entrance.

2. Clingmans Dome

Another great place to visit in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is Clingmans Dome. This interesting point is off of Newfound Gap Road. You’ll hike up a paved path to get to the observation tower. Once you’re at the top, you’ll have an incredible view of the Smokies. On clear days, you will be able to see up to 100 miles away. Clingman’s Dome is actually the tallest point of elevation in the national park.

3. Andrews Bald

andrews baldIf you want to see a beautiful view of the Smokies at the end of a hike, you should hike to Andrews Bald. The roundtrip length is 3.6 miles, and the trail is considered moderate. The view from the bald at the end of the trail is worth it. A bald is a meadow on the top of a mountain, and there are beautiful wildflowers and an incredible view of the mountains from Andrews Bald.

4. Alum Cave Bluffs

Want to see unique geological features? Hiking to the Alum Cave Bluffs, you will see a ton of natural features. Arch Rock is one of the first geological features you will see. There are several rock staircases that have been added to make the trail easier to climb. You’ll find old forest growth and plenty of mountain views along this trail. It is 4.6 miles roundtrip and considered moderate. Once you reach the bluffs, you’ll be amazed by their size.

5. Grotto Falls

grotto falls smoky mountainsGrotto Falls is a beautiful waterfall to hike to if you want to see one. This trail is 3 miles roundtrip and is considered moderate. Grotto Falls is one of the unique waterfalls in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park because it’s the only one you can walk behind, though you should be careful due to mist and algae making rocks slippery. You might see a ton of salamanders and other amphibians in the area too.

6. Foothills Parkway

If you prefer to go on a scenic drive instead of hiking, you should go on the Foothills Parkway. This road is different from others because it’s been under construction for about 75 years. The road was commissioned a long time ago, but it has been completed in phases due to insufficient funds. There are about 33.5 miles left for the road to be completed. You’ll see beautiful mountain views along this drive. There are also quite a few places where you can get out and explore or have a picnic.

You won’t want to miss out seeing these places in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Now you just need to plan your trip to the Smokies since you know what you want to see when you’re here! Look through our Smoky Mountain cabin rentals and pick one out for your next vacation!