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The Great Smoky Mountains National Park was created in 1934. The park was created for the natural beauty, the flowing waterfalls, and to conserve natural resources.
During this period, the automobile was becoming more affordable. Therefore, the Smokies were created with auto touring in mind.
88% of Great Smoky Mountains National Park visitors see the park by car.
Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail is 5.5 miles long and a one-way looped, narrowing road.
You’ll notice you’re driving through a quieter time of days past when you see all the well-preserved structures like old cabins and grist mills.
Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail
Put your worries and stress aside for a little while and allow yourself to be enveloped by nature’s embrace.
Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail is open April through November.
Cades Cove Loop Road
Cades Cove is a lush valley surrounded by majestic mountains. Many would say is one of the most stunning areas of the Smoky Mountains, TN.
This is probably due to the fact that you’ll see a lot of wildlife such as deer, black bear, coyote, groundhog, turkey, raccoon, skunk and more.
For motorists, there is an 11-mile loop road that circles the Cove. The loop is a great feature that offers tourists the opportunity to sight-see at their own pace. Always remember to pull off to the side of the road and let other motorists pass if you’d like to stop and taken in the views.
Rich Mountain Road
Rich Mountain Road offers another fantastic route to view Cades Cove.
This route is an 8-mile one-way road is gravel. Drive easy on this road and soak in Cades Cove as you head up the mountains and back to Townsend.
This road leads you AWAY from Cades Cove. You cannot go back into the park without driving back to the main entrance of the loop road.
The road is winding and steep. A 4-wheel drive vehicle is recommended by the National Park Service.
Upper Tremont Road
Upper Tremont is a hidden gem. It is the road away from it all, and a peaceful drive. The gravel path indicates it’s the road less taken by tourists.
Upper Tremont Road is near Wears Valley, on the way to Cades Cove. This scenic drive allows you to enjoy mother nature. The fall season is the favorite time for most guests to the area.
You can get out and experience the area, too. You can pick up a self-guided auto tour booklet at the beginning of the road. Stop at the featured areas and learn the history of Tremont.
On the Upper Tremont Road, several hiking trails have waterfalls, rivers, and tree-shaded parking areas.
Remember: it’s a quiet place. Cast all your cares aside and enjoy this hidden gem.
The Tail of the Dragon
If you want a wild ride, try The Tail of the Dragon (AKA US Highway 129).
This infamous Smoky Mountains, TN road is popular with bikers and sports car drivers and for good reason.
If you’re adventurous, this route is for you – there are more than 300 curves on this 11-mile stretch where The Dragon tests your driving abilities.
Of course, The Dragon is more than just a winding adventure. There’s plenty of scenery to take in, too. It is mother nature at her finest.
This amazing road bookended by Chilhowee Lake and Fontana Lake.
The Tail of the Dragon is America’s number one motorcycle and sports car road. Remember to yield to those who are driving faster than you. The road has pull offs so you can take a break and take in the scenery.
Little River Road
Little River Road is a beautiful drive connecting Gatlinburg to Townsend. On this drive, you’ll see wildflowers, rustic wooded areas, a scenic river, and many waterfalls.
The route of Little River Road follows an old railroad bed. During the early 1900’s, this road was the route of a slow-moving passenger train. In some places, you can even see coal soot on the rocks.
Taking a drive on Little River Road will reveal places you never thought existed.
Newfound Gap Road
Newfound Gap is a 32-miles long, featuring the majesty of Smoky Mountains TN.
The Gap is the highest driveable pass through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park as well as forest ecosystems.
The road is paved and is a US highway, all with stunning beauty along the way.
Because of the elevation, it’s possible for the weather to be cool, even in the summer.
Clingmans Dome Road
The Clingmans Dome road is open April through November, and is a real treat.
This is the highest elevation road east of the Mississippi River.
Located just past Newfound Gap, this road saddles the state lines of Tennessee and North Carolina. You will experience the highest point in the National Park.
After the drive, walk the half mile to the observation tower. The highest point of the entire 2,192 mile Appalachian Trail with 360-degree views is your reward.
If you want to take a scenic drive through the mountains that’s quiet, you should drive through Cataloochee. While people enjoy driving in this area, it’s not quite as crowded as other drives in the Smokies. You’ll love the scenic views, and you might see wildlife, like elk. There are historic buildings you can explore as well.
The Foothills Parkway scenic drive in the Smoky Mountains is touting as one of the most beautiful drives. This beautiful road was been under construction since the 1960’s and was completed in sections. You’ll see mountain views, which are stunning in the fall. There are numerous areas to stop and take picture.
Smoky Mountains, TN Awaits
Are you ready to go on a trip featuring nature’s splendor?
Smoky Mountains, TN awaits with My Bearfoot Cabins!
Pat and Don Kirchhoefer, owners