Smoky Mountain Attractions
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a forested region with impressive mountains reaching more than 6,500 feet high. A central range of the Appalachians running east-west, the Smokies get their name from the mist that frequently rises out of the valleys like smoke signals. Travelers enjoy the mountains year-round: hikers during spring, summer, and fall, and skiers in winter. A number of excellent Visitor Centers offer guides and easy access to the most scenic areas, and numerous campsites are dotted around the park. One of the highlights is the park’s flora, a mix of deciduous and conifer forests, as well as over 1,400 species of flowering plants including mountain magnolias, wild azaleas, mountain laurels, orchids and Rhododendrons. All told, more than 900 miles of hiking trails crisscross the park, and many visitors also come for the fly-fishing and mountain biking.
Don’t leave the park without ticking off at least one of these top Smokies to-dos including historic sites, grand overlooks, wildlife, and waterfalls.
The 6,800-acre Cades Cove Valley was originally developed by the Cherokee Indians, but they were tragically uprooted and replaced by American colonists in the mid 1800s. By the time the Civil War rolled around, the valley had all but been abandoned. In addition to the mills and homesteads left behind (the John Oliver Cabin is a highlight), you may get lucky and spot a black bear, fox, wild turkey, red wolf, or elk. The 11-mile trail is no stranger to crowds, though; Cades Cove is not only one of the top Smoky Mountain attractions… it’s the most visited! Tip: springtime is a little more peaceful.
Go Auto Touring on Historic Park Roads
Driving the 11-mile one-way loop road through Cades Cove takes you through a lush valley surrounded by mountains. Stop to visit historic buildings, a grist mill, and watch wildlife. For a quieter ride, head to the Roaring Forks motor nature trail with views of rushing streams, old log cabins, another mill, and forested wilderness. Other beautiful drives include the 18-mile Little River Road from the Sugarlands Visitor Center to Townsend, and the Blue Ridge Parkway (outside of the park).
At 6,643 feet, Clingmans Dome is the highest point in Tennessee. Straddling the Tennessee/North Carolina border, and requiring only a half-mile walk, it’s super accessible. And that’s very fortunate, as it offers up the best views of the Southern Appalachian Mountains around. On a clear day, you can see seven states from the Dome’s 54-foot observation tower!
Stay in a Rustic (or Glamorous) Cabin
Cabins, cottages, and vacation homes are plentiful in the Great Smoky Mountains region. You’ll find rustic cabins for adventure travel, luxurious homes with large balconies, outdoor kitchens, and hot tubs for family reunions, and romantic hideaways for honeymooners and other occasions. One thing they all have in common is the view of the Great Smoky Mountains.
The 80-foot waterfall is one of the Smoky Mountains’ best photo ops (and that’s saying a lot). While the 2-mile trail is pretty easygoing, it gets steep and may not be suitable for kids or the elderly. It’s also not suitable for last minute planners – Laurel Falls is so popular, parking nearby is sometimes impossible. Visiting on a week day or in the morning will increase your chances of finding a good spot. For all your efforts, the falls are a great payoff, though. Tip: for the best show, vist after a big rain.
The Smoky Mountains number one attraction! Dollywood is nothing but good clean family fun for the young and old alike! This is a great place to spend a day or a whole week! Folks often return year after year to see old time favorite and also to see the changes in the park and shows! Dollywood and Splash Mountain often have new things added every year! Dollywood features and amusement park, water park, shows and first class entertainment!
Titanic Museum – This world-class museum is a tribute to the ship and the 2,208 passengers & crew with more than 400 real artifacts. Walk the full scale Grand Staircase, touch an iceberg, and see the world’s largest Titanic ship built with LEGO bricks.
Tanger Outlet Coupon Book – Tanger is committed to give you the ultimate shopping experience with 108 brand name & designer stores at prices you will love! On-site dining is available and it is located on the trolley route; so no car is necessary.
Smoky Mountain Wheel at the Island – The Island offers over 70 of the most unique shops, restaurants and attractions plus a ride on the Wheel with great views of the Smoky Mountains in a gondola. Daily entertainment is offered.
Useful resources http://www.tellurideadventures.com/summer/via-ferrata/