Nestled in the Smoky Mountains, the towns of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge are home to exciting outdoor activities and scenic views everywhere you look. Whether your idea of fun is tackling a challenging hike with gorgeous views as your reward or enjoying the ease of being transported in complete comfort to a scenic overlook, there are many ways to experience the beauty of the Gatlinburg area. On your getaway to Tennessee, be sure to add these top 5 best views in the Smoky Mountains to the itinerary for breathtaking sights to remember!
Take the SkyLift, an iconic yellow chairlift to a mountaintop setting to enjoy sweeping views over Gatlinburg and the surrounding Smokies. At the mountain’s peak, the newly added SkyBridge awaits. Noted as the highest pedestrian suspension bridge in North America, this bridge extends across a deep valley, offering breathtaking views from the center. To add to the thrill of crossing this 680-foot bridge, the center section of the bridge has been constructed with glass paneled flooring, making visitors truly feel as if they are suspended in air over the valley. Stand in the center of the SkyBridge, suspended at 150 feet above the valley floor and soak in panoramic sights of the surrounding mist-shrouded mountains and valleys.
Newfound Gap Road
If you’re up for a road trip, consider driving all or part of the 31-mile Newfound Gap Road. This fully paved road cuts directly through Great Smoky Mountains National Park, weaving its way from Gatlinburg, Tennessee to Cherokee, North Carolina. From Gatlinburg, the road ascends 3,000 feet through fragrant woodlands and breathtaking mountain landscapes. Simply enjoy the panoramic views from the comfort of your car or plan to stop at the many viewing points along the way to truly soak in the scenery. The road is accessible throughout the year and new views come with the changing seasons, from colorful foliage in fall to brilliant greens in summer. The Campbell Overlook, Morton Overlook, and Webb Overlook, in addition to several picnic spots, are popular stopping points along the way for capturing some of the best views along Newfound Gap Road.
Dropping approximately 100 feet over several tiers, Ramsey Cascades is the highest waterfall in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. To reach Ramsey Cascades, Gatlinburg hikers will have to complete a tough 8-mile round-trip hike, making it more difficult to access than other waterfalls within the park. But for those who put in the effort, a beautiful, tiered cascade awaits. The hiking route itself is also beautiful, traveling through an old-growth forest teeming with red maple, white oak, and black cherry trees. Part of the trail also follows the contour of the Ramsey Prong of the Little Pigeon River, passing by smaller waterfalls and tranquil pools of water. For those with the bravery and stamina to cross the narrow footbridge that spans the creek and navigate the rocks and boulders that lead to the finish, a postcard-perfect waterfall awaits!
This 80-foot waterfall is considered to be one of the most beautiful within Great Smoky Mountains National Park. At only 2.3 miles round-trip, the hike to reach the falls is manageable, making it a popular destination within the park. The hike is particularly beautiful in spring, when mountain laurels bloom along the trail, giving the waterfall its name. Once you’ve ascended a mere 314 feet in elevation gain and reached the falls, take plenty of time to soak in its beauty. Laurel Falls consists of an upper and lower section and can be traversed via a pathway that crosses at the base of the upper falls.
If you’re planning to drive all or part of Newfound Gap Road, Clingman’s Dome is an easy add-on to this scenic route. Clingman’s Dome stands at the highest point in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, at a towering 6,643 feet. The seven-mile stretch of road that leads from Newfound Gap Road to Clingman’s Dome is scenic in itself, offering pull-offs to admire the rolling ridges and valleys along the way. More views can be admired from the Clingman’s Dome parking lot, from which a 0.5-mile trail leads to the mountain’s summit. Those who aren’t up for a steep scramble to the top can admire views from the parking area, while those up for the climb can make their way up the steep 0.5-mile paved trail. At the peak, an observation tower awaits with 360-degree views of the Great Smokies and beyond. Additional hiking options extend from the peak of Clingman’s Dome, including the Appalachian Trail and the Forney Ridge Trail.
Take some time between adventures to stop and admire these top 5 best views in the Smoky Mountains! Be sure to browse our beautiful Gatlinburg holiday vacation rentals today! Also, check out our Pigeon Forge villa rentals.