Top 6 Observation Towers and Lookouts for the Best Views in the Smoky Mountains
It’s no secret that the Smoky Mountains are home to breathtaking views. When you visit, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to take in the gorgeous scenery. We want to help make sure you don’t miss out on some of the most incredible sights in the Smokies! Learn about the top 6 observation towers and lookouts to visit for the best views in the Smoky Mountains.
1. Clingmans Dome Observation Tower
Clingmans Dome is the highest point in Tennessee at 6,643 feet, so it’s no surprise that the Clingmans Dome Observation Tower offers some of the best views in the Smoky Mountains! The 45-foot-high observation tower offers 360˚ views of the Smoky Mountains. It’s also one of the best spots to watch a sunrise or sunset in the mountains. On clear days, visitors can see over 100 miles! To get to the tower, it’s a .5 mile hike from the parking area. The trail is paved, but keep in mind that it is steep!
2. Campbell Overlook
Campbell Overlook is just a 2 mile drive away from the Sugarlands Visitor Center. From this overlook, you can see Mount LeConte sloping down to Gatlinburg, along with Balsam Point and Bullhead. It gives visitors the opportunity to see a variety of forest types at different elevations. Everything from cove hardwood forests, to northern hardwood forests, to spruce fir forests can be seen. It’s one of the best spots to take in the Smoky Mountain fall foliage!
3. Morton Overlook
Morton Overlook is a great spot for the best sunset views in the Smoky Mountains. This roadside overlook is one of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s most visited overlooks. In addition to sunsets, it’s also known for its sunrise views and is a great place to watch as storms roll through. Morton Overlook is 5,048 feet above sea level and offers views of both North Carolina and Tennessee. You can find Morton Overlook about 13 miles from the Sugarlands Visitor Center.
4. Look Rock
Look Rock is actually located just outside of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It’s a 1-mile round-trip hike to the top and is both dog friendly and stroller friendly! The Look Rock Observation Tower offers panoramic mountain views. On clear days, you’ll have miles of incredible views. If you’re looking for a less crowded spot to take in the Smoky Mountain scenery, this is a great option!
5. Mt. Cammerer Fire Tower
The Mt. Cammerer Fire Tower can be considered a hidden gem in the Smoky Mountains. The Civilian Conservation Corps built the octagonal fire tower with hand-cut stone in the 1930s. Mount Cammerer stands almost 5,000 feet tall, and the fire tower provides 360˚ views of the mountains. You can see glimpses of Snowbird Mountain, Mt. Sterling, and of course, an endless view of the Smoky Mountains. The hike to Mt. Cammerer is long, but if you’re up for the 11 mile round-trip hike, the views make it more than worth it!
6. AnaVista Tower
One of the newest places to take in the sights in Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains is the AnaVista Tower at Anakeesta! This observation tower is officially the highest point in downtown Gatlinburg and the only one of its kind in the world. To get to the top, you’ll climb 78 steps. From the top of the tower, you’ll have panoramic views of the Smoky Mountains. On clear days, the attraction says you can see as far as Kentucky! The views aren’t just around you, though — they’re also below you! The AnaVista Tower has 2 glass floor panels that allow you to look down into the Vista Gardens.
More of the Best Views in the Smoky Mountains
These are just some of the many observation towers and lookouts that offer gorgeous views of the Smoky Mountains. The truth is, there isn’t a bad place to see the Smoky Mountain scenery while you’re in town! To see more about the best views in the Smoky Mountains, read our blog, “10 Photos of the Most Scenic Places to Visit in the Smoky Mountains.”