The Great Smoky Mountains National Park covers 520,000 acres of land that is split almost evenly between Tennessee and North Carolina. If you’re planning a trip to the park for the first time you’ll likely find that putting together an itinerary can be overwhelming. We wanted to help make the process easier so we’ve put together 5 must-visit places that you’ll want to explore in the park. If you can’t make it to all of them during your visit then tuck the list away for a future getaway to America’s most favorite national park.
If you’re visiting the Smokies for the first time or even if it’s been awhile, then you’ll want to make the Sugarlands Visitor Center your first stop. This hub of information is located just minutes from our downtown Gatlinburg hotel. You’ll find helpful park staff, maps, park information, a plant and animal museum, and much more. You can also use the restroom, check in on the weather forecast for the day and participate in free ranger-led programs that are held seasonally.
Located just outside of downtown Gatlinburg on Highway 321 is the Greenbrier area of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The area was once the home to numerous small communities and included numerous farms, general stores, a hotel, family owned grist mills, churches and one of the largest schools to ever exist within the park boundary. Today you can enjoy the hiking trails of Greenbrier, spend the afternoon at the picnic area, go trout fishing in the river, take a stroll up Porter’s Creek and explore an old farmstead and the historical cabin that once provided shelter to the Smoky Mountain Hiking Club. A hike up the Ramsey Cascades Trail will give you a good workout and also allow you to take in the beauty of one of the most stunning waterfalls in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Greenbrier is certainly a gem of the Smokies that you don’t want to miss during your time in Gatlinburg!
A must-visit destination in the Smokies during spring, summer and autumn is the Roaring Fork Motor Trail. The area is a perfect balance of beauty and tranquility with a side of history and hiking trails that lead to some of the most epic locations in the park. You’ll have the opportunity to see wildlife, visit historical homesteads and take a hike. Or, you can just enjoy a relaxing drive around the motor trail that includes views, cascades and a waterfall. You’ll be just a short drive away from the beginning of the trail during your stay at our hotel.
Newfound Gap and Clingmans Dome are two of the most iconic spots in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and if you haven’t experienced each location yet, you’ll want to make sure that you take time to do so the next time you’re in town. Taking a scenic drive along Newfound Gap Road and Clingmans Dome Road will take you to both locations and you’ll find plenty of stunning views and places to explore along the way. Newfound Gap is not only located on the state line but it’s also home to the Rockefeller Monument, the place where President Franklin D. Roosevelt held the park dedication in 1940. Just after Newfound Gap, you’ll find Clingmans Dome Road to your right and it will take you to the top of the highest point in the Smoky Mountains. From the parking area you can take in a breathtaking view or you can take a trip up to the top of the Clingmans Dome observation tower for a stunning 360 degree view of the Smokies. Clingmans Dome is the third highest peak east of the Mississippi as well as the highest point on the Appalachian Trail.
Are you ready to start exploring the Smokies? This is just a starter list for all of the amazing places that you’ll find in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and in the Gatlinburg area during your time at our beautiful hotel in downtown Gatlinburg.
Booking a stay with us will also give you the advantage of being both just outside of the entrance of the park and within walking distance of great shops, restaurants and attractions in town. We have an excellent selection of guest rooms that you’ll find perfect for your stay regardless of if you’re traveling solo, with your sweetheart, your family or with a large group. Take a few minutes to Browse Our Guest Rooms and check out all of Our Amenities. If there’s anything that our staff can assist you to make the planning process go smoothly, Contact Us and we’ll be happy to help you set up the perfect home away from home accommodations for your next vacation in the Great Smoky Mountains!
We hope to see you soon!