When you’re visiting the Great Smoky Mountains, one of the best activities to do as a family, couple, or with friends is to have a picnic! There are so many places in the national park where you can have a picnic, and then you can explore different parts of the national park after you eat! Here are the top 6 picnic areas in the Great Smoky Mountains:
1. Cades Cove
One of the most popular picnic areas is Cades Cove. The picnic area is located on the left right before you enter the Cades Cove Loop, and it is beside the Cades Cove campground. There are 81 picnic sites, with most of them being right next to the creek. All of the picnic tables have a charcoal grill next to them you can use if you want to make hamburgers or hot dogs. You just have to bring your own charcoal and clean up after you’re done grilling. After you enjoy a picnic in this area, you can drive through the Loop and enjoy the beautiful sights!
The Chimneys picnic area is near Gatlinburg. It has 68 picnic table sites for you to choose from. You’ll be surrounded by trees, which provides a ton of shade from the sun. You’re also close to the river, and people enjoy climbing on rocks and getting in the water after they eat. There are grills at these picnic tables as well. After you finish eating, you should go on the Cove Hardwood Nature Trail to see more of the area.
3. Metcalf Bottoms
Another pretty popular picnic area in the Great Smoky Mountains is Metcalf Bottoms. This area has 122 picnic sites, along with public restrooms. Many of the sites are next to the river, so you can enjoy the water before and after you eat. Metcalf Bottoms is close to Cades Cove, as well as Metcalf Bottoms Trail. This is a great area to explore with family and friends.
The Cosby picnic area has 35 picnic sites. It’s close to the Cosby campground. There are picnic tables with charcoal grills, and Cosby Creek is nearby if you want to play in the water. If you want to go on a hike after your meal, you should hike Gabes Mountain Trailhead. It’s 4.4 miles roundtrip, and you can see Hen Wallows Falls.
5. Look Rock
The Look Rock picnic area in the Great Smoky Mountains is off of the Foothills Parkway. To get to this picnic area, you’ll drive on one of the most beautiful scenic drives in the national park. There’s an overlook at Look Rock where you’ll see beautiful mountain views, which is definitely something you’ll want to see before or after you have your picnic.
6. Twin Creeks
Twin Creeks has a pavilion where you could have a picnic, but it is reservation only. This pavilion houses 150 people, making it great for a small wedding or family reunion. Roaring Fork Motor Trail is near the Twin Creeks picnic area, so you have a ton of hiking trails you could go on or you could just enjoy the beautiful scenic drive.
These picnic areas in the Great Smoky Mountains are the perfect spot to enjoy the beauty of the area and a great meal. Want to know what else you should do when you book one of our cabins? Look at these Gatlinburg attractions for some ideas!