Planning Your Trip to The Smoky Mountains
The Great Smoky Mountains should be at the top of every travel bucket list. Boasting some of the nation’s most spectacular natural scenery and a host of interesting things to see and do, the Great Smoky Mountains is the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Encompassing regions of both Tennessee and North Carolina, this idyllic paradise is an ideal vacation spot for outdoor enthusiasts, dog lovers, and anyone who wants to connect with Mother Nature. Here are six top things to consider adding to your Great Smoky Mountains travel itinerary:
THE GATLINBURG TRAIL: Get out and get moving at this winding hiking trail located in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. As one of only two authorized dog-friendly trails in the park, this is a great place to hike with your pooch in tow. Begin your 1.9-mile journey at the Sugarlands Visitor Center as you meander over a wooden footbridge and pass by the ruins of historic cabins. If you decide to take your dog, be sure to keep it on a leash and pick up after it.
THE OLD MILL: This Pigeon Forge favorite features a restaurant, cafe, and ice cream shop all in one convenient and charming location. Nosh on favorites such as the signature corn chowder, fried chicken, catfish, and other Southern classics. After your meal, you can visit one of the five onsite shops offering a bevy of items such as clothing, pottery, and food items to take home. The Old Forge Distillery is a fun place to end your visit to the Old Mill as you sample some traditional moonshine.
CLINGMAN’S DOME: Enjoy the park in all of its glory with a trek up to the Clingman’s Dome. As the highest point of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, this 6,643-foot peak treats visitors to sweeping views stretching 100 miles into seven states under ideal conditions. A 54-foot observation tower is located on the border of the North Carolina and Tennessee state lines.
CROCKETT’S BREAKFAST CAMP: Start your day of adventure off right with a meal from Crockett’s Breakfast Camp. Located in Gatlinburg, this charming restaurant serves up heaping helpings of specialty pancakes, steak and eggs, pan-fried pork chops, and much more. The rustic setting sets the stage for a day of adventure in the Great Smoky Mountains.
RAMSEY CASCADES: Take in the splendor of the Great Smoky Mountains with a hike to the Ramsey Cascades waterfalls. Visitors begin their journey at the Ramsey Cascades Trailhead in Greenbrier. The 8-mile roundtrip hike gains a little over 2,000 feet in elevation as you make your trek up to see the spectacular falls. As the tallest waterfall in the park, the Ramsey Cascades fall 100 feet over several tiers to collect in a refreshing pond.
CADES COVE: One of the most popular destinations in the Great Smoky Mountains is Cades Cove. This valley is located in the Tennesse part of the park. Cades Cove boasts a number of historical buildings, hiking and biking opportunities, and the chance to view a host of wildlife in their natural habitat. The 6,850-acre valley is framed by the grandeur of the mountains and is the perfect place to get out and burn off some energy in a pristine setting.