Wears Valley, TN, often referred to as the hidden gem of the Smoky Mountains, is actually one of the best places to spend time while you’re visiting the area. When you’re looking for the ultimate relaxation while being surrounded by the natural beauty of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, Wears Valley is the place to be. Take a look below to find out why visitors love all of the things to do in Wears Valley.
1. Peaceful Location
Wears Valley sits about 500 feet higher in elevation than other areas of the Smoky Mountains. Remember, the higher the elevation, the cooler the temperatures. This means that the Wears Valley area can be a little cooler than other spots in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. In Wears Valley, guests can take in the fresh mountain air while being surrounded by the beauty of the national park.
Wears Valley may be small, being a valley that’s only 3 miles wide and 5 miles long, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have many great things to do.
For a quick tour of Wears Valley, take a look at the video below:
2. Secret Entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Many people don’t know they don’t have to drive through Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg to get into the national park. Wears Valley has one of three major entrances on the north side of the park.The Wears Valley entrance to the national park provides some of the most beautiful views of the mountains as well as quick access straight into the park.
When you enter the national park from Wears Valley, you will cross a bridge and be able to watch the scenery change from lush greenery to wooded forestry.
For more information about this entrance to the national park, take a look at our article: Do You Know the Secret Entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park?
Two of the most popular hiking trails in the Great Smoky Mountains can be easily accessed from the Wears Valley entrance to the national park. Here’s two of the most popular trails near Wears Valley:
The Wears Valley entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains is at Metcalf Bottoms.The hike is relatively short, only a little over a mile roundtrip. The trail takes hikers from the Metcalf Bottoms picnic area to the Little Greenbrier School. If you like seeing the history of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Little Greenbrier School is a neat place to visit. The trail has an easy difficulty rating, so nearly everyone can make the hike without any complications.
This is definitely one of the most popular trails in the national park. The Laurel Falls trail is mostly paved, so it’s easier for many people to hike. It has an easy difficulty rating, but very small children and strollers are not recommended on the trail. There are some steep spots and hikers will gain about 314 feet in elevation along the 2.5 mile (roundtrip) trail. Obviously, the hike leads to a waterfall where many families like to take photos.
Keep in mind that the water in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is not sanitary and should not be consumed by anyone. There are water filtration systems that you can buy to hike with, but we recommend being as safe as possible by bringing your own water to avoid any bacteria.
For a list of other hikes near the Wears Valley entrance, you can look at our Top 5 Hiking Trails in Wears Valley article.
There’s 5 Wears Valley Restaurants You Didn’t Know About, but there’s one in particular that draws visitors from all over the area–Elvira’s Cafe. This restaurant in Wears Valley features the freshest Smoky Mountain ingredients as well as an inviting atmosphere. Each meal is prepared to order and only includes fresh ingredients that everyone can pronounce, so you know exactly what’s in your meal.
To learn more about Elvira’s Cafe or to see their menu, you can visit their website here: http://www.elvirascafe.net/
For more information about things to do in Wears Valley as well as hiking guides and travel tips, take a look at Visit My Smokies’ Smoky Mountain information blog. There, you will find all the inside information and news about the area.