Newfound Gap is the lowest drivable pass through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. With an elevation of 5,046 feet, it was measured by Arnold Henry Guyot in 1872. Guyot used a barometer to measure changes in air pressure to mark the height of gaps, passes, valleys and mountains in the Smoky Mountains. When the pass was discovered, it replaced Indian Gap as the lowest drivable pass, hence the name Newfound Gap. The road through the drivable pass is named Newfound Gap Road (Highway 441).
Newfound Gap Road
It is said that a trip over the gap is like going from Georgia to Maine in terms of foliage and the variety of the forest ecosystems. When starting from either Gatlinburg, TN or Cherokee, NC, travelers will climb 3000 feet, ascending through pine-oak and cove & northern hardwood forests, to get to the evergreen spruce fir forest at Newfound Gap.Scenic Routes
Newfound Gap can be up to 10 degrees cooler than the lowlands and receives much more snow. Rain in Cherokee or Gatlinburg can easily, and will often, be snow in Newfound Gap. There is an average of 69 inches of snow in Newfound Gap annually. If the roads aren’t closed for the snow, there is ample opportunity for snow sports, such as cross country skiing on Clingmans Dome Road, which starts 0.1 of a mile from Newfound Gap.
About 13 miles down Highway 441 from the Sugarlands Visitor Center is the central marker of the road on the border of Tennessee and North Carolina where the national park was dedicated in 1940 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. You can park here and take photos of the gorgeous mountain scenery and explore the dedication.Rockefeller Monument
The Appalachian Trail
The Appalachian Trail crosses Newfound Gap Road and continues down the North Carolina – Tennessee border. Here visitors can take a quick hike to stretch their legs, or even partake in a multi-day backpacking excursion through the park. Plus, there's a great photo op at Newfound Gap in front of the AT sign with the distance to the end: Katahdin Maine: 1972.0.Appalachian Trail
Newfound Gap Road Hikes
Besides the Appalachian Trail, there are several great trails that start from Newfound Gap Road. Along its entirety from Gatlinburg to Cherokee you'll find Huskey Gap Trail, Chimney Tops, Alum Cave, Thomas Divide, Kephart Prong, Kanati Fork, Smokemont Loop, Bradley Fork, Newton Bald, and Oconaluftee River Trail.Hiking In The Smokies