Road trips can be one of two things:
- A great memory
- A promise that you’ll never do it again
Maybe even both.
As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, life is a journey, not a destination.
So, to help make your journey a great memory instead of you promising yourself that you’ll never do it again, let’s take a look at the best scenic drives through the Smoky Mountains TN.
After all, who doesn’t love embracing the natural beauties and wonders of the world?
1. Wears Valley Road
First up on the list of scenic routes through the Smoky Mountains TN is Wears Valley Road.
The Wears Valley Road stretches 15-miles and gives you a gorgeous view of the mountainside as you drive. What makes Wears Valley so special is that it’s a high mountain valley (AKA Wear Cove) and removed from urban city life.
This allows you to take a break from the bustle of life and slow down to appreciate the majesty nature has to offer.
2. Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail
Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail is another gem of the Smoky Mountains, TN. This trail is 5.5 miles long and a one-way looped, narrowing road.
You’ll notice you’re driving through a quieter time of days past when you see all the well-preserved structures like old cabins and grist mills.
They’re quiet snippets of history.
Cast your worries and stress aside for a little while and allow yourself to be enveloped by nature’s embrace.
3. Cades Cove Loop Road
The Cades Cove is grand, verdant valley surrounded by majestic mountains. Many would say is one of the most stunning areas of the Smoky Mountains, TN.
This is probably due to the fact that you’ll see a lot of wildlife.
There are reports of many:
- White-tailed deer
- Black bear
- Turkey (yes, turkey!)
- And more!
For motorists, there is an 11-mile loop road that circles the cove. The loop is a great feature that offers tourists the opportunity to sightsee at their own pace.
4. Rich Mountain Road
Rich Mountain Road offers another fantastic route to view the Cades Cove.
This route is an 8-mile one-way road that ditches pavement for gravel, really bringing you closer to nature. Take it easy on this path and really soak in the Cades Cove.
It may become one of your favorite places.
Just be careful when you come to the end of this route.
While mother nature certainly is beautiful, she pays no mind to her structure when it comes to people – the road is winding and steep. But, treat the road with respect and you’ll be greatly rewarded.
5. Upper Tremont Road
Upper Tremont is a hidden gem. It is the road away from it all, offering you a peaceful, solitude drive. You’ll know from the gravel path that it’s the road less taken by tourists.
Upper Tremont Road can be found near Wears Valley. It’s another scenic drive that allows you to really enjoy the wonders of mother nature. This is especially true during the fall season.
If you want to get out and experience the area, that option is available, too.
On the Upper Tremont, you will find several hiking trails to choose from, waterfalls, rivers, and the all important tree-shaded parking areas.
Remember: it’s a quiet place. Cast all your cares aside and enjoy this hidden gem.
6. The Tail of the Dragon
Take a walk on the wilder side with The Tail of the Dragon (AKA US Highway 129).
This Smoky Mountains, TN trail is popular with bikers and sports car drivers and for good reason.
If you’re seeking adventure, this route is for you – there are more than 300 curves on this 11-mile stretch where the dragon of nature tests your driving abilities.
Of course, the dragon is more than just a winding adventure. There’s plenty to behold with the scenery, too.
This road encompasses everything you’ve ever seen about scenic drives through America. It’s mother nature at her finest.
It should be no surprise that The Tail of the Dragon is America’s number one motorcycle and sports car road.
7. Little River Road
Little River Road is a beautiful drive connecting downtown Gatlinburg to Townsend. On this drive, you’ll find many blooming wildflowers, rustic wooded areas, a scenic river, and waterfalls galore.
You’ve seen the photos of those wilderness places you swear can only exist in books or on film. Take a drive on Little River Road and you’ll find that stunning places exist closer than you think.
Little River Road is certain to steal your heart.
8. Newfound Gap Road
Wrapping up the list we saved this sparkling gem for last: Newfound Gap Road.
Newfound Gap is a 32-mile long journey, really showcasing the beauties of Smoky Mountains TN.
The Gap boasts the lowest drivable pass through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park as well as a variety of forest ecosystems.
The Newfound Gap Road drive will feel a bit different from the previous routes in that it’s faster.
The whole path is paved and acts more as a highway, but that doesn’t mean you won’t get a stunning journey along the way.
Of course, you don’t need to be confined to your car to enjoy the splendor of the Newfound Gap. If you decide to soak in the national park outside of your car, be sure to bring a light jacket with you.
Because of the elevation, it’s entirely possible for the weather to be rather cool, even in the summer months.
A whole 10 degrees cooler.
Smoky Mountains TN Awaits
So, what do you think? Are you ready to hop in the car and go on a mesmerizing trip full of nature’s splendor? Are you ready to be enveloped by the quiet caress of the great outdoors?
Smoky Mountains, TN awaits! Create a memorable road trip by stopping and smelling all the roses nature has to offer.
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