Clingman’s Dome

5 Spots to Visit on Your Trip to the Smokies

There’s no shortage of adventures in the Great Smoky Mountains. Great Smoky Mountain cabin rentals in Gatlinburg, TN, put all of these adventures within your reach. Keep reading to learn more about the top 5 destination spots in Appalachia.

Smoky Mountain National Park

The Great Smoky Mountain National Park covers more than 500,000 acres of picturesque, forest-covered hills in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The park spreads across northern North Carolina into Tennessee with hundreds of hiking trails, campgrounds, and natural wonders to explore. The park is home to a plethora of birds and other animals including several rare and endangered species, such as the northern flying squirrel and red-cockaded woodpecker. A road trip down Highway 441 will give you access to all of the main park entrances in both states as well as popular resort towns including Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and Maggie Valley.

Clingman’s Dome

One of the most popular sites to visit in the Smoky Mountains National Park is Clingman’s Dome. At 6,646 feet, Clingman’s Dome is the highest point of the park. From the observation tower at its peak, you can see nearly 100 miles in any direction across both Tennessee and North Carolina. The hike to the top is a paved half-mile trek but be prepared for a steep incline. The trail intersects several popular hiking trails along the Appalachian Trail including the Forney Creek Trail and the Forney Ridge Trail.

Appalachian Trail

The Appalachian Trail runs nearly the entire length of the Great Smoky Mountains for a total of 2,180 miles. The trail starts at Springer Mountain in Georgia, passing through 14 states before ending at Mount Katahdin in Maine. More than 2 million people visit and hike different parts of the trail recreationally, but those who trek the entire length are referred to as thru-hikers. In 2018, 1,128 brave adventurers completed the 2,000-mile, hike stopping at various points along the trail to take in the sights.

Appalachian Trail

Elkmont Historic District

When you think of ghost towns, you probably think of the Wild West, but Appalachia has its own version of this social phenomenon in Elkmont, Tennessee. A former resort town for the rich and famous, Elkmont was home to the Wonderland Hotel and the Appalachian Clubhouse, hotspots for social elites in the early 1900s. When the Park Service formed the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the town was vacated, but many of its buildings still stand today as eerie landmarks of a bygone era.

Laurel Falls Trail

Laurel Falls Trail is about 20 miles from Clingman’s Dome, which is perfect if you want to get in more than one adventure on your weekend road trip. The trail is a 2.6-mile hike up Cove Mountain. The path is paved and kid-friendly; however, parents should be mindful of several steep drop-offs along the route. Cove Mountain stands at 4,077 feet high with Laurel Falls located approximately halfway up the trail. The waterfall is one of the tallest waterfalls on the Appalachian Trail at 80 feet high. It’s named after the evergreen shrubs that bloom along the trail every spring.

This is only a sampling of the many scenic and historical sites to explore in the Great Smoky Mountains. For more information on planning your next adventure or booking Smoky Mountain cabins in Gatlinburg, TN, contact the travel experts at My Smoky Mountain Travel.