foothills parkway
February 20, 2020

Do you want to explore the Smoky Mountains but don’t want to hike? Then you should hop in your car and go on a scenic drive! You can see so much of the mountains from the comfort of your vehicle. Here are 5 great scenic drives in the Smoky Mountains you should try:

1. Little River Road

Little River Road in the snow

Little River Road connects Gatlinburg to Townsend. It’s a beautiful drive that twists and turns through the mountains and follows along the Little Pigeon River. There are quite a few places where you can stop along the road to stretch your legs and see even more of the mountains. See an incredible amount of water gushing over rocks at The Sinks and stop and see Meigs Falls from the road. Plus, you’ll see all kinds of native plants along this road.

2. Foothills Parkway

The Foothills Parkway has been under construction for about 75 years now. The road was green lit a long time ago and was worked on in sections. There’s a portion going from Chilhowee Lake to Walland, Walland to Wears Valley, and a short section in Cosby. The last sections have been purchased by the National Park Service, but funding for the road has not been secured yet. The views along the open portions of the road are incredible, giving you an amazing tour of the Smokies.

3. Newfound Gap

Newfound Gap is a road that runs from Gatlinburg, Tennessee to Cherokee, North Carolina. You can see incredible colors on this road in the fall and amazing mountain views all year. Because of the elevation, Newfound Gap usually receives more snowfall than any other scenic drive in the Smoky Mountains. It was actually also used to help make the Great Smoky Mountains National Park free!

During the winter, Newfound Gap Road can close due to snow and ice. Be sure to check the national park site to make sure the road is open while you're in town!

4. Roaring Fork Motor Trail

roaring fork motor nature trail

Do you enjoy drives where you can also get out and walk if you want? Roaring Fork Motor Trail is probably the scenic drive in the Smoky Mountains for you! This is a scenic, one-way route where you will see all kinds of native plants and possibly even wildlife! You can also see historic buildings and what cabins were like on the Roaring Fork Motor Trail.

Please Note: Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail is closed from the end of November through mid April every year.

5. Wears Valley Road

If you want to see beautiful views of mountains and meadows, you should take Wears Valley Road from Pigeon Forge to Townsend. You can see rolling hills with livestock and how locals live along this drive. You’ll also find quaint little cafes and neat shops you can stop at along the way. It’s a great scenic drive in the Smoky Mountains!

Taking a scenic drive in the Smoky Mountains is a great way to spend one of your days on your vacation. Trying to think of other fun things to do on your trip? Check out these Gatlinburg attractions for more ideas!

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