This time of year there is always one question on visitors minds, “Where is the best place to see the fall leaves?” At Visit My Smokies, we have already told you about many of the great fall Smoky Mountain hiking trails that offer incredible views of the Smoky Mountains fall foliage. However, for guests wanting to experience the beauty of fall in the Smoky Mountains from the comfort of their car, here is a breakdown of all of our favorite Smoky Mountain fall drives near Wears Valley.
Wears Valley is known to be one of the most peaceful areas of the Smoky Mountains, and with the peace and quiet comes some of the most incredible fall views.
1. Wears Valley Road
Wears Valley Road stretches all the way from the heart of Pigeon Forge to the peaceful Townsend, TN. Running along the border of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, this 15-mile roadway is where visitors and families can find all the quaint shops, delicious restaurants and fun things to do in Wears Valley.
Not to mention, the rolling fields of lush farmland and mountain views create the perfect backdrop for any family photo or vacation souvenir. You never know what new shop or business you will find along Wears Valley Road.
2. Lyon Springs Road
Located less than 5 miles away from the heart of Wears Valley, the Lyon Springs Road takes guests directly into the Great Smoky Mountains NAtional Park. This road begins on Wears Valley Road before guests turn onto Lyon Springs Road at the Smoky Mountain Store.
After turning onto this peaceful Smoky Mountain fall drive, guests will pass a breathtakingly beautiful private ranch and rolling views of scenic mountainsides blanketed by the fall colors.
Lyon Spring Road fittingly ends at Metcalf Bottoms, one of the best picnic areas in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Because of this, you and your family will probably want to pack a snack or a light lunch to enjoy before continuing your journey into the national Park.
3. Little River Road
If you decide to continue on Lyon Springs Road into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, you will eventually run into the Little River Road. This road is also best known for being the roadway that connects downtown Gatlinburg to Townsend, TN.
True to its name, Little River Road offers travelers gorgeous views of the river, as well as various waterfalls, beautiful foliage and the occasional wildlife.
During the warmer months, guests should not be surprised to see kayakers, river tubing and fly fisherman enjoying the peaceful river next to the road.
One of the most popular Smoky Mountain fall drives near Wears Valley, the Cades Cove Loop Road is a picturesque 11-mile loop road that takes guests around several historic homesites, churches, buildings and open fields.
Click here to learn more about the Cades Cove Loop Road.
5. Foothills Parkway West
It is hard to beat the incredible view of the Smoky Mountains that can be witnessed from the Foothills Parkway. Offering a total of 18 beautiful miles, the western portion of the parkway has been a long-time favorite Smoky Mountain fall drive near Wears Valley for both motorists and motorcycle riders.
During the drive, visitors will come across several pull-offs, including a short half-mile paved hiking trail that leads to Look Rock Tower. There is also a picnic area and campground found along the parkway.
We recommend guests either visit the Foothills Parkway early in the morning or just before sunset. This has also been known to be a popular spot for both wildlife viewing and star gazing, depending on the time of year.
For motorcyclists looking to add to the adventure on this scenic drive, you will find the entrance to the iconic Tale of the Dragon roadway at the end of the Foothills Parkway. Boasting over 100 tight turns, this road is one of the most notorious roads in East Tennessee.
Directions to the Foothills Parkway West from Wears Valley:
- Drive West toward Townsend
- Turn right onto Lamar Alexander Parkway
- Arrive at Foothills Parkway on your left (10.2 miles)
6. Upper Tremont Road
One of the more secret scenic Smoky Mountain fall drives near Wears Valley, the Upper Tremont Road is great for families and guests looking to enjoy a peaceful and serene driving experience. Here, visitors will find several fun hiking trails, scenic views, waterfalls and the peaceful Middle Prong of the Little River that runs along the roadway. Fishing is allowed here, with proper permits of course.
Please exercise a little caution as you drive along this roadway because there have been reports of people seeing the occasional Smoky Mountain black bear exploring the Tremont area.
The Tremont area of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was once a prominent logging community. However, when the national park was established, families and loggers who called the area home packed up and headed into town.
Directions to the Upper Tremont Road:
- From Wears Valley, drive towards Townsend, TN
- Turn Left onto Lamar Alexander Parkway
- Make a right at the Townsend “Y” (roughly one mile down the road)
- Arrive at Tremont Road on your left (roughly 2.8 miles)
If you would like to learn more about the many scenic Smoky Mountain fall driving trails near Wears Valley and the rest of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, be sure to visit the Smoky Mountains information page on our website. There you will find tons of information on driving trails, hiking routes, campgrounds, fishing information, where to see the most wildlife, and much, much, more!