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We’re excited to report that one of our favorite Smoky Mountain cities has received a major honor! Architectural Digest recently compiled a guide to “The Prettiest Town in Every U.S. State,” and Gatlinburg was chosen to represent Tennessee. The Volunteer State is absolutely overflowing with beautiful buildings and breathtaking scenery, so Gatlinburg’s win is no small feat.
In their write-up for Gatlinburg, Architectural Digest noted that “as the gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park,” our city’s “smoky sky and lush green hills are eye candy for nature explorers.” To help you plan your next vacation, Visit My Smokies has put together a guide to five of the best places for admiring Gatlinburg’s natural beauty.
5 of the Best Views in Gatlinburg
1. Gatlinburg Scenic Overlook
Located along the Gatlinburg Bypass, the Gatlinburg Scenic Overlook is one of the most photographed spots in the Smokies. This popular pull-off showcases the Gatlinburg skyline and the surrounding scenery of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. What makes the view from the Overlook so unique is the dramatic contrast in elevation between the city and the mountains. While Gatlinburg rests at an elevation of around 1,300 feet, Mount LeConte stands at 6,593 feet tall!
2. Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail
The Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail is a gorgeous 5.5-mile, one-way, loop road that is situated minutes away from downtown Gatlinburg. Running beside a lovely stream, the Motor Nature Trail is famous for its historic 19th-century buildings, old-growth forest, and stunning mountain views. The Roaring Fork area is also home to two of the national park’s most beautiful hikes: the Rainbow Falls Trail and the Trillium Gap Trail (which leads to Grotto Falls).
Anakeesta is another destination that offers some of the very best views in Gatlinburg. Overlooking the downtown Parkway, this awesome mountaintop attraction is home to a dueling zipline course, scenic shopping and dining area, tree canopy walk, and treehouse playground. Visitors can reach Anakeesta by taking a chairlift or enclosed gondola ride to the top of the mountain, which both offer picturesque views along the way.
4. Gatlinburg Space Needle
The Gatlinburg Space Needle is a can’t-miss stop for any Smoky Mountain vacation! Standing at 407 feet tall, this striking observation tower is the perfect place to take in panoramic views of downtown Gatlinburg and the mountains. The Space Needle boasts two glass elevators and free viewfinders, so guests can enjoy spectacular vistas throughout their visit to the tower.
5. Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway
The Aerial Tramway is the most convenient (and scenic) way to travel from The Strip to the Ober Gatlinburg Amusement Park and Ski Area. This 2.1-mile cable car ride offers incredible aerial views of the Great Smoky Mountains and the city below. Riding the Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway is a wonderful experience any time of the year, but the views are especially beautiful in the fall, when the Smokies are covered in brilliant red, yellow, and orange leaves.
Looking for even more great views near Gatlinburg? Check out our guide to the Top 7 Country Roads and Smoky Mountain Scenic Drives!