The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited national park in the United States! It has some of the best hiking, fishing and wildlife viewing you'll find in the U.S. We're sharing the inside scoop with you so you can plan your next trip to the Smokies.
Top 5 Things to Do in the Smoky Mountains in Winter
- November 21, 2019
Most people might say they love visiting the Smokies in the fall, but winter is an amazing time to see this part of the south. Snow usually covers the mountains, creating a beautiful winter wonderland. While it is cold, you can still enjoy yourself in the national park! Check out these top 5 things to do in the Smoky Mountains in winter:
1. Drive Through Cades Cove
Cades Cove is a great activity any time of the year. You get to see the fields, mountains, wildlife, and history of the area without ever leaving the cozy comfort of your warm car! This 11-mile drive takes you through the forest to see all kinds of cool features. It’s even more beautiful this time of year with a layer of snow covering everything. Don’t count out that you won’t see wildlife; you can see white tailed deer, birds, and many other animals this time of year! Driving around Cades Cove is the perfect activity in the smoky Mountains in winter!
2. Go for a Hike
If you want to brave the cold mountain air, you should go for a hike in the winter! There are plenty of trails you can safely travel this time of year. For great views of the mountains, hike to Alum Cave, where you’ll also see huge icicles. Take a short hike along the Gatlinburg Trail that runs past the west prong of the Little Pigeon River. No matter what trail you decide to hike, you’ll have a great time!
3. See a Frozen Waterfall
Sometimes the temperatures get cold enough to freeze the water gushing over rocks. Seeing a frozen waterfall is a really cool thing, and one of the best things to do in the Smoky Mountains in winter. One of the easiest waterfalls to get to is Laurel Falls, a paved hiking trail right outside of Gatlinburg. Grotto Falls is another waterfall with a moderate hiking trail. Don’t want to hike to see a waterfall? Drive on Little River Road to the Sinks or look out your window along this road to see Miegs Falls.
4. Visit Sugarlands Visitor Center
If you want to get out in the national park but don’t want to be out in the cold, stop by the Sugarlands Visitor Center. You can walk around inside the building, which includes a museum all about the national park. Watch a 20-minute video about the wildlife and start of the park. There are plenty of exhibits where you can learn more about plants, history, and more. There’s even a gift shop!
5. Get a Picture of Snowy Mountains
Who wouldn’t want to see the Great Smoky Mountains covered in snow? You can hike along trails to see great views of the snow-covered mountains. Taking pictures along these trails usually provide unique photos. The Gatlinburg scenic overlook is another great place to stop and take pictures of the mountains when they are snowy. This is an activity you don’t want to skip!
There are so many fun things you can do in the Smoky Mountains in winter. Look at our guide to visiting the Smokies in winter for even more information!