Great Smoky Mountains National Park was the next stop during our Airstream journey across America. We highlight things to do in the Smoky Mountains with some exciting activities at this beautiful National Park, including the Gatlinburg Skybridge, a drive up to Clingmans Dome, and a hike to the top of the Chimney Tops trail. There were many fun things to do in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and the surrounding area in eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina. This is a beautiful area of the country and worth a visit.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park Things to Do
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, located on the border between North Carolina and Tennessee and is known for its stunning landscapes, diverse wildlife, and rich cultural history. Here are the top five things to do in the park:
- Cades Cove Loop Road: This 11-mile, one-way loop offers some of the best opportunities for wildlife viewing in the park. You may see deer, black bears, and a variety of bird species.
- Newfound Gap Road: This scenic drive takes you to the highest point in the park accessible by car, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains.
- Alum Cave Trail: A popular trail that leads to Alum Cave Bluffs, offering stunning views along the way.
- Clingmans Dome Trail: Hike to the highest point in the park, Clingmans Dome, for panoramic views of the mountains.
- The park is home to diverse wildlife, including black bears, white-tailed deer, elk, and a variety of bird species. Wildlife viewing is possible along the roads, trails, and in open meadows like those in Cades Cove.
- Laurel Falls Trail: An easy, paved trail leading to the 80-foot Laurel Falls, one of the most popular waterfalls in the park.
- Grotto Falls Trail: A unique trail that takes you behind the 25-foot Grotto Falls, allowing for a different perspective.
- Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail: This historic motor trail takes you through a variety of ecosystems and past several historic buildings, including old homes and mills.
- Cades Cove Visitor Center: Explore the Cable Mill historic area and learn about the pioneer history of the region.
Remember to check trail and road conditions, as they can be affected by weather. Also, respect the park’s guidelines for wildlife safety, and be prepared with proper gear and information before embarking on hikes.
Other Retirement Travelers videos from the Great Smoky Mountains area
Before visiting the park, we spent time in northern Georgia near the start of the Appalachian trail. We did some hiking at Amicalola Falls State park and made a video of our experiences there.