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Wears Valley in the Smoky Mountains is one of the best kept secrets in all of East Tennessee. It’s a popular vacation destination for visitors, but also a great place for locals to spend time, too. At Visit My Smokies, we decided to share some of the best hidden gems in Wears Valley, and a few of the secret spots you probably haven’t visited. You don’t want to miss this, so take a look at the video below for an inside look at Wears Valley:
Meredith: Hi, I’m Meredith with Visit My Smokies and today we’re in Wears Valley, one of the most scenic places in all of East Tennessee, and joining me today is Ted Jordan, a local business owner and a twenty plus year resident of Wears Valley. Thanks so much for having us here today.
Ted: Thanks for coming out, thanks for coming out.
Meredith: Okay, so tell us a little about this gem in the Smokies.
Ted: Wears Valley, we love Wears Valley. It’s a high mountain valley, it’s about 500 feet higher in elevation than the surrounding cities, and which means we get cooler temperatures in the summer. Always good to knock three or four degrees off, makes it feel a little bit better. But it’s a valley that’s three miles wide, five miles long with our own entrance into the national park, which it’s only one of three major entrances on the north side of the park. Lot of folks don’t know about it, so it’s a sort of a little hidden gem as you called it a minute ago.
On the south side of the valley we have Cove Mountain. Cove Mountain is 4,400 feet in elevation, it is the highest privately owned mountain east of the Mississippi River. To the north face of it is privately owned, the southern side of it is in the national park. If you’ve got time we’ll head over to Metcalf Bottoms to that entrance into the national park I was telling you about a minute ago and we’ll go check that out.
Meredith: Okay, that sounds good.
Ted: One of the great things to do here in Metcalf Bottoms that is really popular is tubing. Families come here all the time for that.
Meredith: I see there’s a bunch of tubers out here today. What makes this little river a great place to go tubing?
Ted: Well since it’s so wide, you don’t have a lot of fast waters. So it’s good for the kids and you’re not being dropped off your tube, but yet it’s still deep enough that it’s not bumping your bottom on rocks as you go down.
Meredith: Well it looks like a lot of fun and definitely a very family oriented type of environment here. Looks like the kids are having a great time. There’s the picnic areas over here to our left that I see people enjoying some fine food, fisherman out there fishing.
Ted: Yes, it’s just great family environment. Bring your picnic lunch like you said. They’ve got little grills here too so you can cook a hamburger or a hotdog when you come and it’s just a great place but yet convenient to Wears Valley here.
If you’re ready, I’d love to go show you some more of the local businesses here in the valley.
Meredith: Absolutely, sounds like fun.
Ted: Alright, let’s go.
Ted: Meredith, I wanted to stop here and show you one of my favorite stores here in the valley. This is Heather and Michael Shepperd, they own GSM Outfitters, Great Smoky Mountain Outfitters, and they have all kind of neat in here. I’ll let Michael tell you what all they sell here.
Michael: Well, if you’re in the area and you’re in need of hiking shoes, camping supplies, hiking equipment, hammocks, fishing, we’re kind of a one-stop-shop. We just love this area and we want to help everybody who comes into it with their mountain experience.
Meredith: Now do you have anything in regards to tubing?
Michael: We do, we have plenty of tubes. We have tubes and water shoes, very reasonably priced all the time, and it’s been a great niche that we’ve filled in this community.
Ted: Meredith, I’d like to introduce you to Elvira, owner of Elvira’s Cafe, where we are now and this is another one of those hidden gems here in the valley.
Meredith: Okay, so, tell me a little about your restaurant. What kind of food do you serve?
Elvira: Well, our variety of food includes everything homemade prepared to order and the idea here is homemade cooking without you washing the dishes and cleaning up the kitchen.
Meredith: I like that.
Elvira: Thank you.
Farm fresh food, and what we say about local food is that we use for example Swaggerty Sausage to make our real fancy gravy with pretty much browning the meats, and making the spices, flours and then adding the milk Now, we don’t add anything in our food that you can’t pronounce, so it’s real ingredients.
Meredith: Okay, well we’re gonna go in and grab something to eat. This is Meredith with Visit My Smokies here in Wears Valley, Tennessee. Come visit.
Other Behind the Scenes Videos of the Smoky Mountains
After exploring the heart of Wears Valley, take an inside look at one of the most popular attractions on Wears Valley Road, the Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster. We took a behind the scenes look at the ride, and you can learn all about it in our video here: https://www.visitmysmokies.com/blog/pigeon-forge/attractions-pigeon-forge/learn-more-about-the-smoky-mountains-newest-coaster/