beginning of fall colors in the smoky mountains
Sep 05, 2019

The Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the only national parks where you don’t have to pay an entrance fee, making it one of the most popular destinations in the country. There are so many activities you can’t miss out on while you’re this close to the mountains. Look at these top 4 things you have to do in the Smoky Mountains National Park:

1. Hike One of the Trails

laurel falls in the great smoky mountainsIt doesn’t matter if you’re an avid hiker or you’ve never been hiking before in your life; you have to hike one of the trails when you visit the Smoky Mountains National Park. The Elkmont Nature Trail is a little less than 1 mile, making it perfect for beginners, older adults, and small kids. You’ll see streams, birds, and a ton of native plants. For an incredible sight at the end of a trail, you should hike to Laurel Falls, which is an 80-foot-tall, 2-section waterfall. If you’re wanting a challenge, hike to Alum Cave where you’ll see incredible views of the mountains, a concave bluff, and probably a ton of wildlife.

2. Have a Picnic

Stop by the grocery store and get all the fixings for sandwiches or hot dogs and have a picnic in the Smoky Mountains National Park! This activity is one your kids will absolutely love, because you probably don’t have many picnics at home. Plus, after you eat, you can explore at any of the picnic areas in the park. Some family favorites are the Cades Cove picnic area where there are charcoal grills and picnic tables right next to a creek or Metcalf Bottoms picnic area that’s next to a river and hiking trails. Don’t want to fix food yourself? There are plenty of restaurants in Pigeon Forge where you can grab family meals and take them to the picnic areas!

3. Go Through Cades Cove

cades cove with horsesThe most popular thing to do in the Smoky Mountains National Park is drive along the Cades Cove Loop. This 11-mile paved road through a mountain valley has preserved historic buildings where you can see what homes, farms, and mills were like when people still lived in the mountains. Early in the morning or in the late evening, you’re likely to see all kinds of wildlife, such as turkey, deer, and bears in the meadows of Cades Cove. There are also a ton of hiking trails you can stop and walk on.

4. Take a Scenic Drive

There are so many roads in the Smoky Mountains National Park you can drive to see the beauty of the mountains. Taking a drive is popular in the summer when it’s hot and in the fall when people don’t want to walk to see the fall colors in the leaves. The Roaring Fork Nature Trail is one of the most popular roads to drive on in the park. You’ll see old buildings, streams, and possibly even wildlife. The Foothills Parkway is another popular road, as well as the Blue Ridge Parkway that runs through Tennessee and North Carolina.

The Smoky Mountains National Park is full of fun things for you to do. Wondering what other fun things you can do around town? Look at this area information to see what else you want to do.