The Townsend Wye

The Townsend Wye is the area where Lamar Alexander Parkway intersects with Little River Road. It is not only an important directional marker in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, but also a point of interest for swimming, picnicking, and hiking in the warmer months.

The Townsend Wye

Most locals and visitors know the Townsend Wye as a popular swimming hole. It features several access points to reach the Little River with large pools big enough for swimming. With multiple parking lots in the area, you are likely to find a spot to leave your car if you get there early enough in the day.

Swimming Holes
Townsend Wye

Reaching The Townsend Wye

The Townsend Wye is located just under a mile after the Townsend entrance to the national park and about 18 miles west from the Sugarlands Visitor Center toward Gatlinburg. Tremont is about 5 miles south of the Wye, and Cades Cove is just under 13 miles southwest on Laurel Creek Road. The Y-shaped nature of this intersection is precisely how the location got its name.

Swimming At The Wye

There is more than one access point to the waters of the Little River in this area. The best places to swim are really divided in half; one side is much shadier than the other. Both areas have fairly deep water, so be sure to bring a life jacket especially for younger children. There are plenty of locations where the water is shallow enough for kids to wade around comfortably, with the most shallow water being on the side with the more pebbly shore.

Tubing At The Wye

You can bring your own tube or rent one at one of the several locations north of the Wye in the Townsend area. There are plenty of places to relax in a tube and anchor yourself to the shore, or you can venture out into parts of the river with more rapids. The farther out into the deep waters of the river, the stronger the current - so be sure to use caution. You can also go tubing with Smoky Mountain River Rat, located just north of the Wye.

River Rat

Chestnut Top Trail

There are several hiking opportunities in the Townsend Wye area. If you are coming in from Townsend, you will find the trailhead for Chestnut Top Trail on the left directly across from Middle Prong Little River Parking A. This 4.3 mile moderately strenuous hike reveals lots of wildflowers in the early spring.

Chestnut Top Trail

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