Best Scenic Drives in the Smokies
About an hour’s drive from Pigeon Forge is one of the park’s most popular areas, Cades Cove. “The Loop” in Cades Cove is an 11-mile one-way scenic loop road, and offers beautiful views as well as opportunities to see wildlife. From deer to coyotes, and wild turkeys to bears, you can find them all in the Cove. You’ll also find several historic structures to explore along the way.
*Pro Tip: The Cades Cove Loop Road is closed to motor vehicles for the benefit of foot and bicycle traffic from sunrise until 10:00 a.m. every Saturday and Wednesday morning from mid-May to late September.
For wildflower viewing and historic buildings, you’ll want to check out Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. This 5.5-mile one-way loop is just a short drive from Pigeon Forge. If it’s waterfalls you’re chasing, trailheads for both Grotto Falls and Rainbow Falls can be accessed from the motor nature trail.
(Please note that Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail is closed during the winter.)
Drive or bike along the Foothills Parkway for some of the most breathtaking views the Great Smoky Mountains National Park has to offer. The final section of roadway was recently completed and opened to the public, and it was certainly worth the wait! The Foothills Parkway allows you to admire the Smokies from a whole new perspective, as it travels the western and northern perimeters of the park for a total of 72 miles.