The Smokies are packed with clifftop viewpoints, picturesque drives and forested trails that wind past boulder-filled streams to thundering cascades. Early settlers left their mark in the fertile mountain valleys, and you can peer into the past by exploring the park's many log cabins, one-room schoolhouses and weatherboard churches.
Cades Cove and the northern part of the park (Tennessee) generally draw more visitors than Cataloochee and the southern half (North Carolina). Dividing the two is the Newfound Gap Rd, which has a little of everything – views, hikes, historic buildings and even occasional wildlife viewing.
Newfound Gap Road
Historical attractions and gorgeous scenery dot this picturesque mountain road. Stunning panoramas await at Newfound Gap and atop Clingmans Dome, while trailheads to some of the park's best hiking trails lie along this road.
Cades Cove is justly famous for its atmospheric homesteads and fine wildlife viewing in the forests and meadows. There are also loads of activities on offer, including ranger programs, horseback rides and a spectacular hike to Abrams Falls.
In a remote corner of the park, the Cataloochee Valley is a top spot for seeing elk and other wildlife. Aging log cabins provide a glimpse of early settler life, while hikes take in old-growth trees and mossy streams.