6 Ways to See the Smokies from Above

Along the Tennessee/North Carolina border stretching from the Pigeon River to the Little Tennessee River you’ll find the Smoky Mountains, cloaked in blue-green spruce fir trees and shrouded in cool mist. These stunning peaks are rich with natural beauty and are a peaceful retreat for hiking and camping, but to really understand the scale and grandeur of these mountains you must get a glimpse them from above. Here are 6 ways you can get a bird’s eye view on this wonderfully scenic region.

Mt. LeConte

At 6593 feet, Mount LeConte is the third highest peak in the Smokies and considered the tallest mountain in the Eastern United States. For spectacular views of breath taking lush and green mountain scenery, there is no better place than Mount LeConte. As far as the Mount LeConte view itself, there are many other outstanding views on the way to the top: Charlies Bunion, Jump Off, Myrtle Point, Cliff Top, and Alum Cave.


Experience the thrill of gliding through the air high above the mountains with a Pigeon Forge zipline. You will be strapped into a harness so that you can fly above the treetops, about 400 feet above the ground. There are several incredible Pigeon Forge zip lines to experience, as well as rope bridge courses that are not for the faint of heart.


Gatlinburg Space Needle

When the Gatlinburg Space Needle was completed in 1969 it was the second tallest tower in the state of Tennessee. It offers a fantastic 360-degree jaw-dropping view of the Great Smoky Mountains as well as the city of Gatlinburg, from a height of over 400 feet.

Space Needle

Great Smoky Mountain Wheel

An observation wheel towering over 200 feet tall, the Great Smoky Mountain Wheel is one of the tallest attractions in the Southeast and offers an unparalleled view of the gorgeous Smoky Mountains, and it's conveniently located on The Island in Pigeon Forge. From your all-glass gondola you will be able to look at the lush and green landscape around you in all directions as go around.

The Island

Sky High Air Tours

Take a ride in a biplane high above the Smoky Mountains for some of the best aerial views you can find. Offering affordable rides from 8 to 15 minutes long, Sky High Air Tours will carry two passengers at once in the front seat of their convertible in the sky. Make a reservation in advance or get there early, as rides will be supplied on a first-come first-serve basis. You can find out more here.

Clingmans Dome

If you want to admire the views of the Smokies from above the hard way, you can make the big climb up Clingman’s Dome. This mountain is the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park as well as the highest point in all of Tennessee. When you reach the top you can climb the observation tower, which will reward you with stunning 360 degree views of the Smoky Mountains and even further. On a clear day you can see for more than 100 miles!

These are six amazing ways to get a glimpse of the Smoky Mountains from above and enjoy an all new perspective on this beautiful natural wonder.