National Park Highlights

By Darryl Payne
Posted on April 9, 2012

You should consider it a crime if you visit the Great Smoky Mountains this spring or summer and don’t actually go into the Great Smoky Mountains. You’d be surprised how many folks see the sights in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge or Sevierville but don’t go anywhere near Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Don’t let yourself and your family become one of “those people.”

Really, no matter where you go in the park, you can’t go wrong, but here are a few suggestions for places to go and things to do.

Cades Cove – This 11-mile auto loop takes you through breathtaking scenery with views of mountains and wildlife, historic homesteads and churches and a visitors center that gives you an up-close glimpse into life there in the 19th century.

Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail – Starting near downtown Gatlinburg, this auto loop also features historic sites and trailheads that lead to Mt. LeConte, waterfalls and other scenic destinations.

Chimney Tops Picnic Area – This is a popular place to stop for a picnic, and if you’re feeling adventurous, you might take on a hike to the twin-peaked Chimney Tops. It’s a strenuous haul, but the views are spectacular.

Sugarlands Visitor Center – Located just inside the Gatlinburg entrance to the park, this visitor center has tons of information and exhibits showcasing other things you can do in the Smokies. Plenty of rangers and volunteers are on hand to answer your questions.



Darryl Payne the blogger

About Darryl Payne

Darryl Payne is a native of East Tennessee in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. He is a web developer with a passion for building great websites. As a local, he can offer a unique perspective on where to stay and things to do while on vacation in the Smokies. To read his latest recommendations, please click the Google+ follow button.


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