Do You Know the Secret Entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park?

View of the green trees in the Smoky Mountains

Many of you may not know about the secret entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Instead of driving through Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg and working your way into the mountains, there’s one spot that offers the best views and quick access into the national park. Keep reading to learn more about the hidden entrance.

When you’re on vacation in the Smoky Mountains, you probably want to take the scenic routes to enjoy the beautiful mountain views. Wears Valley is the best place to experience true Southern charm and endless mountain scenery.

(Also Popular: 5 Things You Don’t Know About the History of Wears Valley)

If you’ve never taken a drive through Wears Valley into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, you are really missing out on the beauty of the Smokies! The Wears Valley entrance (also referred to as the Wears Cove entrance) is a secret spot, typically where many of the locals will go to enter the national park.

During the peak seasons, this entrance is a great way to skip the crowds and head straight into the park. At the entrance, you will drive on a bridge over a river, and you’ll be able to watch the scenery change from views of the national park to views of the wooded forestry.

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park occupies over 500,000 acres of land. There’s hundreds of hiking trails in the Smokies, plenty of wildlife to see and lots of great picnic areas, like the Metcalf Bottoms picnic area, for enjoying a relaxing lunch or dinner.

Our blog has more information about the hiking trails in Wears Valley in the Smoky Mountains.

Why You Should Spend the Fall Season in Wears ValleyBright red and orange leaves in the fall

Wears Valley is known for its open land and quiet environment. The views from Wears Valley are unbelievable, showcasing all of the great colors of the mountains.

On a clear day in Wears Valley, you will be able to see Mount LeConte in the background with the colorful leaves blanketing the treetops. When the leaves begin to change, you can see all of the bright reds, yellows and oranges from any spot in the Wears Valley area.

People tend to visit Wears Valley when they’re looking for a true getaway from the stress of everyday life. The atmosphere is calm and quiet and there’s not many attractions and restaurants around to make a lot of noise.

When you stay in Wears Valley, you’re only a few short minutes from the Pigeon Forge Parkway, so when you’re ready to spend time experiencing the exciting things to do in the area, you won’t have to drive too far.

Tree in the field in the Great Smoky MountainsTell Us What You Think

What’s your favorite part about Wears Valley? Just scroll to the bottom of this post and let us know in the comments!

The author will respond to comments.

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  • dan willard

    Where, exactly, in Wears Valley, can you see LeConte in the background?

    • Emily Arnwine

      Hey Dan! Thanks for commenting! You can actually see Mt.LeConte from the ridge tops on the north side of the Valley. If you look Southeast, you can see LeConte. If you’re looking for another view, you can take one of the zipline tours in Wears Valley and see LeConte from there, too!

  • Clara Chapman

    Discovered this entrance several years ago. We liked camping at Irene’s campground in Townsend and then on into Gatlinburg by way of Wears Valley. The scenery is beautiful and the different businesses /shops are nice.The beautiful mornings and evenings in Wears Valley make the drive into the mountains like an appetizer before a gorgeous dinner. Love the area.

  • AnneGA

    Where in Wears Valley do you turn to get to the secret entrance to the National Park?

    • Kaye White Gatlin

      Wear’s Valley is the entrance.

    • southerninsanity

      You come into the park at Metcalf Bottoms.

  • David S Honeycutt

    Hello and Thank you. Great info, Do you know if Ghost town will reopen this year yet??? Or are they still redoing the park?

  • Lynne Norris

    I have loved Wears Valley for decades. It is so sad to see all the commercialism with apparently no codes or plan for the growth. It’s beginning to look like the junky strip areas of Pigeon Forge. Heartbreaking.