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5 of the Best Scenic Drives in the Smoky Mountains

There’s nothing that can quite compare to the views in the Smoky Mountains. There are so many great ways to enjoy those views, and one of the best ways is with a scenic drive. We’ve put together a list of some of our favorite scenic drives in the Smoky Mountains to go for amazing mountain views.

Scenic Drive #1: Cades Cove Loop Road

One of the most popular scenic drives in the Smoky Mountains is Cades Cove Loop Road, and for good reason. This scenic drive consists of an 11-mile loop that meanders through a valley surrounded by mountains. You’ll see majestic mountain views and grass-covered rolling hills. There are a number of places you can park your car and get out to snap photos of the scenery or to explore historic buildings along the way. There’s a good chance you’ll see some Smoky Mountain wildlife during your drive in Cades Cove, too. Just make sure you keep a safe, respectful distance

Scenic Drive #2: Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail

Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail roadRoaring Fork Motor Nature Trail can be found just outside downtown Gatlinburg and is the perfect place for a scenic drive in the Smoky Mountains. This narrow one-way loop is 5.5 miles long and winds through the forest.You’ll drive past well-preserved old structures as well as a roadside waterfall. There are plenty of places where you can stop to get out and explore, including plenty of hiking trails that lead to more views of the mountains and additional waterfalls. It’s not uncommon to see wildlife on this scenic drive, so keep your eyes peeled!

Scenic Drive #3: Newfound Gap Road

Newfound Gap Road connects Gatlinburg, TN, across the mountains to Cherokee on the North Carolina side of the Smokies. The total length of this scenic highway is 32 miles each way, but you’re welcome to turn around at any of the scenic overlooks. There are quite a few overlooks along this drive where you can stop to take in the breathtaking mountain views at a high elevation. This is an especially great scenic drive during sunset–you can get some great photos of the sun painting the sky with vibrant colors as it sets over the mountains.

Scenic Drive #4: The Foothills Parkway

foothills parkway in the summerYou can go for a beautiful scenic drive through the foothills of the Smoky Mountains on the Foothills Parkway. You can get to sections of the Foothills Parkway either from Cosby, TN, on the other side of Gatlinburg, or from Wears Valley Road near Pigeon Forge. Both sections have many overlooks where you can breathe in the fresh air and enjoy the amazing views of the mountains that surround the road. There are even a few picnic areas where you can enjoy a picnic with some of the best views around.

Scenic Drive #5: Wears Valley Road

Wears Valley Road connects Pigeon Forge to Townsend (where you can find Cades Cove). Along this road you’ll see idyllic farmlands down in the valley surrounded by the gorgeous Smoky Mountains. You’ll pass by small mom-and-pop restaurants and old-fashioned stores as well as old barns. This 15-mile scenic drive will take your breath away and give you a moment of serenity as you leave the crowds of Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg.

See Photos from Scenic Drives in the Smoky Mountains

Still not convinced that you need to go on one or more of these scenic drives in the Smoky Mountains? Take a look at these photos of the Smoky Mountains – many of them were taken from points along these scenic drives. Go see these views for yourself!