Top 4 Popular Things to Do in the Smoky Mountains

May 08, 2020

Do you plan on visiting the Great Smoky Mountains National Park while you’re in town? You may be wondering what all you can do in the national park. We want to help you figure out how to enjoy your time in the national park! Look at these top 4 popular things to do in the Smoky Mountains: 

1. Go for a Hike

Laurel Falls in the Great Smoky MountainsThe most popular thing to do in the Smoky Mountains is to go for a hike! With over 800 miles of hiking trails, there are plenty to choose from! If you have never been hiking before, there are plenty of beginner trails you can try. Laurel Falls is a short, paved hiking trail with a beautiful waterfall at the end. If you have small kids with you and want to take it easy, try the Elkmont Nature Trail, which is less than 1 mile long or Cataract Falls Trail. Moderate hiking trails include Abrams Falls, Porters Creek Trail, and Grotto Falls. Is hiking one of your favorite hobbies? Try one of the more difficult trails, including Ramsey Cascades Trail, any of the trails that lead to Mount LeConte, or Gregory Ridge Trail. 

2. Bring a Picnic

Families love bringing a picnic into the Great Smoky Mountains. There are several picnic areas throughout the park that have picnic tables and charcoal grills. Some picnic areas are only open during certain times of the year, while others are open year round. A few of the popular picnic areas in the park are Cades Cove picnic area, Metcalf Bottoms, Deep Creek, and Greenbrier. Many people who decide to hike Andrews Bald take a picnic to the top to enjoy after their hike, which is always a great option. Plus, you have so many options when it comes to what you want to bring! Pack a cooler, pick up a meal from one of the local restaurants, or use the charcoal grill to make hamburgers and hot dogs! Just be sure to clean up properly before you leave so you do not leave trash for wildlife to get in. 

3. Take a Scenic Drive

A stunning sunset in Cades CoveA popular thing to do in the Smoky Mountains for people who don’t want to or enjoy going for a hike is to take a scenic drive. There are several roads you can drive to explore the Smokies and enjoy the views. Cades Cove Loop is the most popular scenic drive in the entire national park. Millions of people drive this road every year. Newfound Gap Road connects Gatlinburg, Tennessee to Cherokee North Carolina and has several spots where you can stop and explore along the way. Foothills Parkway is another great scenic drive, and it is unique because it’s the only road that isn’t completely constructed. There is still about 33.5 miles left of the road to finish.

4. See Historic Sites

The Smokies are full of history and historic sites where you can really see what life was like for the pioneers who came here years ago. Cades Cove is the most popular area for these kinds of sites. There are several homesteads with cabins you can walk through, as well as old barns, churches, a working grist mill, and a smokehouse. There are more historic sites along the Roaring Fork Motor Trail. At the Gatlinburg Welcome Center, you can see the oldest cabin in Gatlinburg.

Now you know about some of the popular things to do in the Smoky Mountains when you come. Are you ready to start planning your next trip? Look through our cabins in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg to book one for your next vacation!