Where are the Most Popular Places in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park?

4 min read

The Great Smoky Mountain National Park is filled with wonderful locations your family can access to experience the Smokies. There are endless websites of information about many of the wonderful places to visit in the Smoky Mountains.

From the Gatlinburg entrance to the park at the Sugarlands Welcome Center look for opportunities to visit these popular areas of the park.  The Welcome Center provides a great wealth of knowledge about the park and is free to visit.  We highly recommend it.  The mountains are calling you!  Visit the Great Smoky Mountains this year and discover why it is the most loved park.

Chimney Tops
The chimneys top a sheer rise of almost 2,000 feet and were known to the Cherokee as “Dukiskwal-guni” (forked antlers). From the overlook on Newfound Gap Road, passersby can see the 30-foot deep “flue” in the right-hand peak which gives the outcropping its name. The Chimneys Picnic Area, located in a ravine on the mountain’s side, is an excellent place to stop for a leisurely lunch.

Mount LeConte
Mt. LeConte is the Park’s third highest peak at 6,593 feet. Despite runner-up ranking, LeConte serves as the focal point of the Park. The summit offers unforgettable views from two different overlooks, Myrtle Point and Cliff Top. Hikers can choose from five different trails to the top, ranging from 11 to 16 miles roundtrip.

Newfound Gap
In 1940 Franklin Delano Roosevelt officially dedicated the Park from this majestic site. The road, completed in 1932, straddles Tennessee and North Carolina here. Originally, Indian Gap, a point two miles west, was thought to be the lowest gap in the mountains, but Newfound Gap was discovered to be lower in elevation, thus the name.

Charlie’s Bunion
This 1,000-foot sheer drop-off can be found four miles east along the Appalachian Trail. The cliff is named after a bunion that prevented Charlie Conner, an Oconaluftee settler, from traveling through the Gap in 1928. Fellow travelers claimed the bare mountain resembled their friend’s bunion.

Clingman’s Dome
Clingman’s Dome is the Smokies’ highest peak and the third highest point east of the Mississippi. Named for a colorful Civil War general, Clingman’s Dome rears its head 6,642 feet. The observation tower , located 7 miles off Newfound Gap Road, looks out on an ever-changing view. Occasionally the peak is above cloud level, creating a surrealistic scene of mountaintops floating in an ocean of white.

Andrews Bald
A picture-perfect picnic spot, Andrews Bald offers glorious views of the towering mountain ranges of North Carolina and Georgia. It’s a 3.6 mile roundtrip hike from the Forney Ridge parking area at Clingmans Dome and is the most accessible bald in the Park.

This area was first a pioneer settlement called Bradleytown. During the 1920s logging boom, Smokemont became a busy village, sawmill and railroad terminal to haul lumber down from the forest. Today, it is a popular Park campground with a self-guiding nature trail through the reborn forest.

Metcalf Bottoms
Learn more about Metcalf Bottoms as the entrance to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park that can be accessed from Wears Valley Road. Turn on Line Springs Road from Wears Valley Road and follow into the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.  You will arrive at Metcalf Bottoms, which is a popular area of the park.  From Metcalf Bottoms you can connect to Little River Road, another popular drive.  Turn Right and arrive at the Townsend Wye near Cades Cove and Townsend, Tennessee, turn Left onto Little River Road, and arrive in Gatlinburg at the Sugarlands Welcome Center.  It is a beautiful trip any way you go.

Metcalf Bottoms Great Smoky MountainPicnic Area

Waterfall Hikes are a particular pleasure and there are several you can access from trailheads in the Great Smoky Mountains.  These waterfall hikes are some of the most popular, learn more.


You May Also Like

More From Author