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Every time of year is beautiful in the Great Smoky Mountains! If you’re anything like us, you probably love the spring wildflowers, green grass and beautiful waterfall hiking trails in the national park!
Springtime is one of the best times to see the bright scenery throughout the national park, but there’s one scenic drive through the Smoky Mountains that you don’t want to miss this spring … Newfound Gap Road!
What Makes Newfound Gap Road the Most Scenic Drive Through the Smoky Mountains?
We know you love Newfound Gap Road all year round, but we think it’s especially great with the spring scenery!
As you probably know, Newfound Gap Road connects Gatlinburg, Tennessee to Cherokee, North Carolina, right across the mountain.
If you’ve taken other driving tours in the national park, you’ll notice that the Newfound Gap Road auto tour is much different than a drive like the Cades Cove Loop Road. Some driving tours have a slow pace, but Newfound Gap Road has a quick, highway pace with lots of areas to pull off and enjoy the views.
We recommend stopping by Sugarlands Visitor Center before taking the driving tour. You can pick up a $1 booklet about the drive so you can keep up all of the landmarks along the road. There are many mile markers along Newfound Gap Road, and paired with the booklet, you will be sure to see it all!
4 Quick Facts About Newfound Gap Road
1. Newfound Gap Road is 31.63 miles long.
2. It is the only fully-paved road in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
3. The road is known for having cooler temperatures. Due to its elevation, the drive can feel up to 10 degrees cooler than other areas of the park. It’s a good idea to pack a light jacket if you plan to explore the pull-off areas along the road.
4. Newfound Gap is actually one reason the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is free. Since the road is one of the only routes from Gatlinburg to Cherokee, they decided that a fee would cause a transportation issue across the mountain.
The Rockefeller Memorial on Newfound Gap Road
Most people recognize Newfound Gap as the home of the Rockefeller Memorial. The memorial honors the $5 million donation from the Rockefeller Foundation to acquire land to create the national park. The Rockefeller Memorial is also the site where Franklin D. Roosevelt dedicated the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on September 2, 1940. Even though the national park was actually created in 1934, it wasn’t actually dedicated formally until 1940.
Which of the auto tours do you think is the most scenic drive through the Smoky Mountains? Tell us in the comments below!