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 Travel Tips for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
- January 31, 2019
There are 384 miles of road in the Smokies, and they’re full of scenic views that will blow your mind! Driving through the mountains is an incredible experience, but there are a few things you need to know before you go. Here are 5 helpful travel tips that will make for a safe and smooth ride through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park!
1. Know Vehicle Restrictions
If you’re planning on doing an auto tour through the national park, it’s important that you’re aware of the various vehicle restrictions that are in place. Trailers, RVs, and buses are all prohibited on certain secondary roads in the park. These roads include: Balsam Mountain Road, Greenbrier Road past the ranger station, Heintooga Ridge Road, Rich Mountain Road, Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, and the road exiting the park at Metcalf Bottoms Picnic Area.
2. Keep Up with Road Closures
There’s nothing more disappointing than looking forward to a scenic drive all day, and traveling out to the road only to find that it was closed due to snow or ice. During periods of inclement weather, road conditions can change very rapidly, resulting in sudden closures. Some of the smaller, secondary roads are even closed all winter long to protect drivers. It’s always a good idea to double check road closures on the day of your trip as well. So, if there were any last minute changes, you’ll know.
3. Fill up Your Gas Tank Beforehand
If you want to go on a long drive through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, it’s extremely important that your vehicle is in good working condition and that your gas tank is full. There are no gas stations or other vehicle related services there, so just take the necessary steps to be prepared, beforehand. This way, you and your family can enjoy a stress-free and scenic ride through the Smokies!
4. Take Advantage of Pullouts
You’ll want to take in all the scenic views as you’re driving through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. However, if you notice that you’re going slower than the other drivers behind you, you can use the pullouts to let them pass. You’ll also want to use them to stop and take a few pictures or to simply admire the beauty of the mountains. Pullouts are located every mile or so on most roads in the park, so finding them is easy!
5. Be Watchful and Go the Speed Limit
If you’re driving through the national park as the sun is setting or after dark, be sure to watch out for animals crossing the road. You should also follow the posted speed limits because your chances of hitting wildlife decrease drastically if you aren’t zipping down the roads and have time to stop.
Now that you know some basic travel tips for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, it’s time to start planning your visit. Be sure to check out these top scenic drives for a truly amazing experience!