Taking a scenic drive through the Smoky Mountains? Make sure that you give yourself plenty of time to stop and enjoy what this beautiful park has to offer. Plus, building in time on your road trip to get out and go for a hike will help you to stretch those legs after sitting in the car for a long time! Here are some stops along the way in the Smoky Mountains that will give you plenty to explore on your next road trip.
Dolly Parton Statue
If you're driving to the national park from the northern side, you will likely be passing through downtown Sevierville - the home of Dolly Parton. Stop by the courthouse and take a photo with the iconic Dolly statue. It's not too far out of the way, and downtown Sevierville makes a great place to stop for a delicious lunch with your group.Dolly Statue
Sugarlands Visitor Center
Just south of Gatlinburg and near the border of the national park is the park headquarters and Sugarlands Visitor Center. Here you can peruse some interesting plant and animal exhibits, watch a video about the history of the national park, browse at the gift shop, and maybe even talk to a park ranger.Visitor Centers
The Gatlinburg Trail
The Gatlinburg Trail is a great place to stop, get out of the car and stretch your legs with a nice scenic walk. The stunning trail will treat you to gorgeous mountain vistas and it is approximately 3.8 miles round trip. There are informational placards around the trail, so you can learn about the flora and fauna and history of the local area.Gatlinburg Trail
If you want to be awestruck by stunning views, stop at the Campbell Overlook that is located just off the wonderfully scenic Newfound Gap Road. This viewpoint offers excellent views of Mount LeConte and the surrounding forests, especially during the autumn when the leaves are changing color. It's a great place for a photo op.Scenic Overlooks
Drive To A Waterfall
There are several places in the national park that have waterfalls you can drive to. Some of them make a great place to park the car and stretch your legs; perhaps even put your feet in the water at The Sinks. Just make sure that if you do park the car for longer than 15 minutes that you have a valid parking pass.Smoky Mountain Waterfalls
The Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont is a school located in the national park that is dedicated to delivering experiential learning for all ages. The area is a great place to stop and walk around, and they have a great little bookstore of which all proceeds go to funding scholarships for the school. Check it out if you're coming from the Townsend area.Tremont
While you're at Tremont, if you're up for a short 2 mile hike, ask the attendant at the bookstore about the trail to Spruce Flats Falls. It's an outstanding waterfall that only take a short walk to reach. Just be aware that if you are traveling with your pet, dogs are not allowed on trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Right in the middle of the national park is a beautiful place to stop for photos and to gaze at the surrounding scenery. Newfound Gap is the lowest drivable pass through the park at an elevation of 5,046 feet, and it's also home to the Rockefeller Monument, where the park was dedicated in 1940. If you stopped at Sugarlands Visitor Center, just keep driving south on Newfound Gap Road to reach it.Newfound Gap
These are just a few great suggestions for road trip stops in the Great Smoky Mountains, so make sure that you build lots of extra time into your trip so that you can stop and check them out. Interested in the best waterfalls in the Smokies?