Vacationing to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee next year? With so many beautiful sights to see, it may be hard for you to select the places you’d like to visit. From the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains to rushing waterfalls, check out out 8 Great Sights to See in the Smoky Mountains below for information on our most recommended attractions!
The highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Clingmans Dome sits at 6,643 feet in elevation. A steep half-mile walk will lead you to the observation tower, which offers 360 degree views of the mountains. On clear days view can stretch for more than 100 miles and into three states!
Less crowded and with a longer hike than Clingmans Dome, Andrews Bald also offers beautiful panoramic views. The highest grassy meadow in the Smoky Mountains, this hike rewards adventurers with a beautiful spot for a picnic lunch! Known for its azalea and rhododendron flowers, which bloom in late spring, this hike is ideal for a relaxing day trip.
Sugarlands Visitor Center
The first stop of many tourists on their way into the National Park, this visitor’s center offers extensive history exhibits and a 20 minute film about the park. Stop here to pick up trail maps, a souvenir, or a permit for your expeditions. Close to hiking trails and offering ranger-led tours, the Sugarlands Visitor Center should be one of your first stops in the Smokies.
Water-Powered Grist Mills
These historic structures are a look back into simpler days. Head to The Old Mill in Pigeon Forge to tour the water-powered grist mill that was constructed in the early 1800’s. The grist-mill tour, which is available for purchase at The Old Mill General Store, offers a look into the different types of machinery used to make the pancake mix, grits and corn meal that The Old Mill Restaurant uses in their store to this day!
The lowest pass through the Great Smoky Mountains, Newfound Gap is a beautiful place for an automobile tour. Similar to a cross-country trek in terms of diversity and ecosystem changes, this drive will take you 3,000 feet up to travel through hardwood forests. Up to ten degrees cooler than surrounding areas in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, download the self-guided auto tour podcast for your full Newfound Gap experience.
Mingus Mill & Oconaluftee Visitor Center
Located in the National Park, this grist-mill uses a water powered turbine as opposed to a typical water wheel. Sitting in its original location, tours and demonstrations of the milling process are available for you and your family to enjoy. The mill is just a half mile north of the Oconaluftee Visitor Center, which is a 6,300 square foot visitor’s center and shop. Themed exhibits and knowledgeable staff make these spots a “must-see” on your Smoky Mountain vacation.
Deep Creek Waterfalls
An area cherished for it’s streams and rushing waterfalls, hikers and bikers both delight at the opportunities and views here. With three waterfalls accessible all within a half day trip, this area is less crowded than popular Laurel Falls. Butterflies are abound in this area in the summer, and the easy, less than one mile hike makes this place perfect for families with children.
Blue Ridge Parkway
One of the most beautiful drives in the United States, the Blue Ridge Parkway has been dubbed “America’s Favorite Drive.” While the trip takes 469 miles to complete (from the Great Smoky Mountains to the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia), a day-trip is ideal for seeing the sights. Hiking trails and scenic overlooks are frequent throughout the drive, and the flower and wildlife displays are simply breathtaking.