Explore the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Popular Places To Visit In The Smokies

Smoky Mountain wildflowers with mountains in background

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited national park in the United States. It is home to gorgeous mountain scenery, hiking trails, wildlife, plants, historic buildings and so much more. Every place in the park has something incredible to offer visitors. It’s impossible to see everything the park has to offer in just one visit, but there are some can’t-miss destinations you have to see while you’re in town. Whether you’re hoping to spot wildlife like black bears and elk or see historic buildings and mountain views, these special places in the Smoky Mountains have a lot to offer. Here are the most popular places in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park:

Cades Cove: This is the most visited area in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Visitors love driving along the 11-mile Cades Cove Loop Road and seeing historic structures, wildlife and more.

Clingmans Dome: This is the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and offers incredible panoramic views. It’s one of the best places in the park to watch a sunrise or sunset.

Elkmont: Elkmont was once a logging community, then a popular vacation town, and now it’s considered a “ghost town” in the Smokies. The Elkmont area is home to Elkmont Campground, the most popular campground in the park, hiking trail, and abandoned buildings that have been restored.

Newfound Gap: Newfound Gap is the lowest drivable pass that runs through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and travels 33 miles from Gatlinburg, TN, to Cherokee, NC. It offers both mountain and forest views.

Cataloochee: Cataloochee Valley is on the North Carolina side of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and is home to a number of historic structures such as the Palmer Chapel. It’s the best place to spot elk in the Smoky Mountains.