The Best Places to See the Sun Set in Gatlinburg
Source: City of Gatlinburg
Gatlinburg is beautiful any time of the day or night, but you’ll be dazzled by the spectacular sunsets. As the sun descends behind our beautiful mountainscape, you won’t believe the colors—vibrant golds, oranges, peaches, pinks and purples that fade to dusky blue pricked with silver stars as the sky darkens. Pick the right vantage point, and you’ll be delighted with the vistas—smoky, mauve ridge upon ridge falling away from your view, framing the day’s end.
To enjoy the best sunset views, you need to get up high.
Here’s our list of the top spots to enjoy as Nature closes the day with one of her best shows.
1. Clingmans Dome. At 6,643 feet, Clingmans Dome is the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains and an unmatched place to watch the sky change as the sun goes down. At this altitude, the colors linger for a long time. Take the short but steep hike from the parking lot up to the Observation Tower for 360-degree views. Don’t forget to take a flashlight for the walk back to your car! To get there, take U.S. 441 south from Gatlinburg and look for the Clingmans Dome road just one-tenth of a mile south of Newfound Gap.
2. Morton Overlook on U.S. 441. You’ll want to arrive early to find a parking spot at this popular sunset viewing site. It’s well worth it, since a series of mountain ridges that fade to blue into the background make a fabulous frame for the sunset. As you’re traveling south on U.S. 441, start looking after you pass through the second tunnel outside Gatlinburg. The Morton Overlook is the second one on the right. If you’re going north on U.S. 441, the Morton Overlook is the third one on the left after Newfound Gap.
3. Newfound Gap parking area. Halfway between Gatlinburg and Cherokee, N.C., you’ll find this parking area, which has views to the east and west. It’s a great place to watch the sunset as well as sunrise.
4. Atop the Gatlinburg Space Needle. With 360-degrees of Gatlinburg and the surrounding mountains, you can’t find a better place to catch the sun set behind Crockett mountain. The Space Needle’s observation deck is 400 feet above town, so the views are unobstructed.
5. Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. Along many parts of the Motor Nature Trail, there’s too much vegetation for a good spot to view and photograph the sunset. But if you bear right toward the end of the trail rather than taking the loop, you’ll find lookout points that will reward you with amazing sunset views.