10 Stunning Smoky Mountain Scenic Drives That Will Leave You Breathless

These gorgeous Smoky Mountain scenic drives boast sweeping mountain views you’ll remember for a lifetime. While these picturesque parkways are wonderful at any time of year, the vibrant colors of fall add an extra spark of beauty. These roads also offer a variety of hiking and entertainment options along the route. 

Smoky Mountain Scenic Drives

Smoky Mountain Scenic Drives

1. Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail

his forested nature trail features rustic driving bridges, restrooms, and picnic areas. Along the route, there are also a variety of hiking trails and a historic homestead.

2. Blue Ridge Parkway

Stretching from Cherokee, North Carolina to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, this parkway offers 469 miles of amazing views!

3. Cades Cove Loop Road

This scenic loop features a variety of great photo spots with designated pull-offs and sweeping mountain views. A variety of historic churches, homesteads, and other buildings are also featured along this route. This is also an excellent spot to bear watch.

Related Read: Discover Clingmans Dome Summit Hike

4. Little River Road

This windy drive follows the Little River, hence the name. It stretches from Gatlinburg to Cades Cove and features several pull-off locations for pictures. There are also several hiking opportunities along this route, as well as the Sugarland’s Visitor Center.

5. Cherohala Skyway & The Tail Of The Dragon

Slightly south of the Smokies, this famed 43-mile driving loop features scenic views and the Tail of the Dragon, a section of highway that attracts motorcyclists from across the United States. The Tail of the Dragon is infamous for its 318 curves in just 11 short miles and the many deaths that occur from reckless driving!

6. Clingman’s Dome Road

With some of the highest elevations in the Smoky Mountains, this picturesque road leads to several enchanting hiking trails, including Clingman’s Dome Trail with its famous tower.

Related Read: 20 Family Friendly Smoky Mountain Hikes

7. Wears Valley Road

This peaceful road meanders through the Smoky Mountain town of Wears Valley. Wears Valley offers a variety of quaint county cafes, restaurants, and shops with continuous mountain views. The road also connects Townsend to Pigeon Forge.

8. Foothills Parkway

With multiple sections, this route offers breathtaking views of the Smoky Mountains and the Tennessee Valley. There are many pull-offs along the way to satisfy the photographer in you!

9. Newfound Gap Road

This road is the lowest pass through the Great Smoky Mountains and connects Gatlingburg, Tennessee to Cherokee, North Carolina. It is known for its cool temperatures.

Related Read: The Ultimate Smoky Mountain Shopping Guide

10. Tremont Road

This route is close to Cades Cove and features an upper and lower portion. Along this route, in addition to the great views, you will also find the Tremont Institute. This educational center features classes and programs designed to bring you closer to nature.

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Written By
Erica Cardinal
Erica is a long-time resident of East TN and the founder of East TN Family Fun. She's also a sucker for a good adventure. Together with her hubs and kiddos, she spends her time exploring, homeschooling, and making memories.

4 thoughts on “10 Stunning Smoky Mountain Scenic Drives That Will Leave You Breathless”

  1. If I’m unable to get to these scenic routes before noon, are there any that you would recommend as the least busy? I’ve heard these roads can get backed up with traffic in the fall.

    • Foothills Parkways tends to be a little less crowded because it is further from Gatlinburg than some of the others. But, the views are stunning there! You can enter the road right from Wears Valley, which has tons of cute shops and eateries. 🙂

    • I agree with Erica, the Foothills Parkway is the best. The new section has great views of Wears Valley. For a limited amount of time it is ideal. Right now, it is a secret.
      My favorite is the Blue Ridge Parkway. The only access is from the NC side of the mountains. With limited daylight this time of year, returning could be problematic.


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