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One of the best parts about visiting the Smoky Mountains is being surrounded by gorgeous views everywhere you turn. From waterfalls to mountain scenery, you’ll want to make sure you have your camera ready to capture all the breathtaking sights! If you want to know the best places to go to see these beautiful views, we can help. Take a look at these 10 photos of the most scenic places to visit in the Smoky Mountains:
1. Clingmans Dome
At 6,643 feet, Clingmans Dome is the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. That’s why it’s no secret that the Clingmans Dome Observation Tower offers the best views of the mountains! On clear days, views can expand over 100 miles. The observation tower at the summit offers visitors 360-degree views of the mountains. To get there, you’ll have a steep, half-mile walk from the parking lot to the tower at the top.
2. Mount LeConte
Mount LeConte is the third highest peak in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park! There are 4 sub peaks above 6,000 feet on the mountain: West Point, High Top, Cliff Tops and Myrtle Point. At Myrtle Point, you’ll have panoramic views, and it’s the best spot on Mount LeConte to watch a sunrise! Cliff Top also offers breathtaking views. To get to the summit of Mount LeConte, you have several trail options. You can take the Alum Cave Trail, the Boulevard Trail, the Bullhead Trail, the Rainbow Falls Trail, or the Trillium Gap Trail.
3. Morton Overlook
Morton Overlook is one of the most popular places to visit in the Smoky Mountains for gorgeous sunset views! It’s a scenic, road-side overlook in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. At Morton Overlook, you’ll be 5,048 feet above sea level and will have views of both North Carolina and Tennessee! On clear nights, you can even see the lights of Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg below. Morton Overlook is located on US 441. Travel south on US 441, and after you pass through the second tunnel outside of Gatlinburg, Morton Overlook will be the second one on the right. If you’re traveling north on US 441, the overlook is the third one on your left after Newfound Gap.
4. Laurel Falls
There’s a reason that Laurel Falls is one of the most popular waterfall hikes in the Smoky Mountains! This gorgeous, two-tiered, 80-foot waterfall is a sight you don’t want to miss. There’s a footbridge that crosses the stream at the base of the upper falls, so you’ll have beautiful, up-close views of the waterfall as you walk across! To get to Laurel Falls, hike the Laurel Falls Trail for 1.3 miles. The waterfall gets its name from the mountain laurel that blooms along the trail in May!
5. Cades Cove
Cades Cove is the most popular place to visit in the Smoky Mountains! This is partly due to the variety of sights you can see in this area. Whether you’re hiking to Abrams Falls or driving along the 11-mile loop, you’ll have some of the most beautiful sights in the park! If you love history, you’ll love visiting the historic structures in Cades Cove, like the 3 churches or the cable mill. This is also one of the best places to see wildlife, including black bears and white-tailed deer!
6. Gatlinburg SkyLift Park
If you want to visit an attraction that offers breathtaking views, head to the Gatlinburg SkyLift Park in downtown Gatlinburg. Your journey begins with a ride on the Gatlinburg SkyLift to the top of Crockett Mountain, where you’ll get off on the SkyDeck. From here, you’ll have incredible views of the mountains and downtown Gatlinburg. You can also walk across the Gatlinburg SkyBridge, the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in the country! From the SkyBridge, you’ll be able to take in the scenery around you, and even below you when you look through the glass panels at the bridge’s midpoint.
Anakeesta is another popular Gatlinburg attraction that offers breathtaking scenery. Recently added to the adventure park was the AnaVista Tower, an observation tower that is the highest point in downtown Gatlinburg. From it, you’ll have 360-degree views of Gatlinburg and the mountains. On clear days, you can see as far as Kentucky! The tower has interpretive signs that identify the mountain ranges and peaks, and 2 glass panel floors that allow you to look down into the garden below. You can also go ziplining to see the Smokies from a bird’s eye view, or take a stroll through the Vista Gardens, which is home to more than 3,000 flowers!
8. Newfound Gap
Newfound Gap is one of the most beautiful scenic drives in the Smoky Mountains! It’s the lowest drivable pass in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and travels from the Sugarlands Visitor Center near Gatlinburg, up and over the mountains and into Cherokee, NC. Along the drive, there are plenty of scenic overlooks where you can pull off and admire the views. One of the highlights of Newfound Gap is the Rockefeller Memorial, which honors a $5 million donation from the Rockefeller Foundation to help complete land acquisitions that led to the creation of the national park.
9. Alum Cave Bluffs
Alum Cave is another popular hike! The Alum Cave Bluffs are one of the best places to visit in the Smoky Mountains for great views. After hiking the Alum Cave Trail for about 2.3 miles, you’ll reach the Alum Cave Bluffs. This concave bluff is about 80 feet high and 50 feet long. From the bluffs, you’ll get to take in breathtaking scenery. The views once you reach Alum Cave Bluffs aren’t the only great views along the hike, however. On your way there, you’ll pass Inspiration Point, a heath bald that offers views of Little Duck Hawk Ridge and Myrtle Point!
10. Look Rock
Look Rock is one of the best scenic overlooks in the Smoky Mountains! You can find it at about the halfway point of the western section of the Foothills Parkway. It’s the highest elevation point along the parkway. Once you reach the overlook, you can park and take a short hike to an observation tower, which offers 360-degree views of the mountains, including Mount LeConte. One of the best times to visit Look Rock is during the fall, when the leaves change from green to yellow, red and orange.
Other Places to Visit in the Smoky Mountains
Are you interested in learning about other popular places to visit in the Smoky Mountains? We can help! Check out our blog, “Top Places to Visit When You Spend a Day in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.”