10 Smoky Mountain Views That Will Take Your Breath Away
Now that spring is here you might want to take advantage of the great weather and take on Smoky Mountain’s many popular hiking trails. Or, you could go on scenic drives that wind through lush forests on your way to a jaw-dropping summit.
Either way, you will be in awe of gorgeous Smoky Mountain views that keep visitors coming back for more. Here are ten of the best views in the Smoky Mountains…
Panoramic View from Mt. Cammerer
Mt. Cammerer is one of the highest peaks in the Great Smoky Mountains and thus offers incredible views not found elsewhere.
It’s also one of the toughest peaks to summit in terms of elevation gain and length. Running along the Appalachian Trail for much of its course, the Smoky Mountains hiking trail takes you to the most dramatic sight of the Pigeon River Gorge.
Hikers will climb the Low Gap Trail for three miles from the trailhead before reaching the Appalachian Trail. As hikers ascend the Cosby Creek valley, they will encounter a steep and rigorous ascent that will take them through a gorgeous, mature hardwood forest and over multiple switchbacks.
Although this climb to Mt. Cammerer is more than 11 miles roundtrip, it is still the shortest and most popular path to the summit of the 4928-ft mountain.
Peaceful Landscapes of Cades Cove
Arguably the most visited area of the GSMNP, the mist-shrouded Cades Cove is a wildlife watcher’s paradise, and its well-preserved buildings allow visitors a glimpse into the Smokies’ pioneer past.
Cades Cove is undoubtedly one of the most popular places to visit in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This beautiful 6,800-acre valley flanked by towering mountains has it all: ample wildlife viewing opportunities, a fascinating historical destination, a rest stop before or after a strenuous hike, and a scenic route for driving and biking.
Arrive here as early as possible to avoid the crowds enjoying a scenic drive along the 11-mile Cades Cove Loop Road, or consider taking a bike or hike instead.
Sunset Views from Andrews Bald
Andrews Bald is the tallest grassy bald in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, standing at 5,920 feet above sea level.
As an offshoot trail on Clingmans Dome, this hike just might be the perfect combination of accessible hiking and great views. You’ll end up on a flat-top meadow that still might be filled with grassy fields and blazing colorful flowers, with several options for exploring other trails.
The grassy Andrews Bald was named for the cattle herder Andres Thompson who transported livestock up here in the 1840s.
In addition to scenic views, hikers can find areas of blackberries and raspberries, Fraser firs, and bluets – a little blue wildflower sometimes known as innocence or Quaker ladies – depending on the time of year.
One-of-a-Kind Mountain Views from Mt. LeConte
If you are ready for a challenging hike with beautiful views, the Alum Cave Trail on Mt. LeConte (the 3rd tallest peak in the Smokies!) should be on your Smoky Mountains hiking bucket list.
An out-and-back of 11 miles and an elevation gain of 2,763 mean it’s realistically out of reach for most of the Park’s casual day hikers. But if you have the time (about 7-10 hours) and stamina to do the whole thing, you definitely can brag about it to friends and family, who will likely be quite impressed.
And once you arrive at its showcase view, Alum Cave, you’ll know your hard effort has paid off in a one-of-a-kind vista you’ll never forget. Along the way, you’ll also see cascading water and interesting geology.
Breathtaking Views from Clingmans Dome
On the tallest peak in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the beautiful mountain views from the parking area at Clingman’s Dome will take your breath away. But if you want to experience the best views in Smoky Mountains NP, you’ll want to take a short (but steep trail) walk to the observation tower – one of our favorite spots to overlook GSMNP!
But even with less exercise than many of the other popular trails to scenic mountain views, you’ll find that this spot is worth the adventure. There are plenty of photo-worthy scenic overlooks along the way as you traverse Newfound Gap Road and Clingmans Dome Road as well as the unbeatable views from the summit.
Chimney Tops Stunning Vistas
Because of its length and amazing vistas, the Chimney Tops Trail is one of the most popular trails in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Hikers should wear strong shoes and pack lots of water because the path reaches 1,400 feet in two miles, making it a steep ascent up Sugarland Mountain’s slope.
A ridge provides a view of Mt. LeConte, and the trail descends for the first time as it reaches the rocky outcrop at the summit of the mountain, the top of which is the first “chimney.”
Amazing Waterfall Views at Laurel Falls
This 80-foot waterfall is named for the mountain laurel which grows throughout the area. One of the shortest hikes on our list, the 2 hours or so that it takes to hike to this Smoky Mountain waterfall is so very rewarding as you’ll experience fantastic views along the way.
With a moderate 2.6-mile round-trip hike, you can view this 80-foot waterfall from the rustic wooden walkway that bisects it into the upper falls and lower falls sections.
The trail is easily accessible from the Sugarlands Visitor Center near Cades Cove, and visitors have reported seeing black bears nearby.
Pack a picnic lunch and enjoy a day of amazing views and stunning waterfalls.
Scenic Grotto Falls Beautiful Waterfalls
Photo by Eric Norris
Part of the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, the easy 2.6-mile hike to Grotto Falls is ideal for just about everyone.
You’ll hike through an old-growth forest on the Trillium Gap Trail, which makes most of the trek comfortably shady. Once you arrive at the 25-foot popular waterfalls, be sure to walk behind them to cool off and see a more watery view of the world.
Sunset Views from Rocky Top and Thunderhead Mountain
Photo by Matthew Otwell
Yes, this place inspired the country song of the same name. But once you arrive at Spence Field five miles up the trail, you’ll see why this mountain is immortalized in music.
The best time to head to Rocky Top is late springtime when wildflowers bloom at their peak. You’ll find vast swaths of pink and white mountain laurel. The next best would be during the fall with the burst of autumn foliage in the Smokies that seems to become more vivid as you ascend higher. But really, any time of the year is ideal for visiting this famous mountaintop.
The flat meadow offers endless views of the Smoky Mountains on the North Carolina side. If you have the energy, continue on part of the Appalachian Trail for even more amazing vistas.
Stunning Views From the Top of Gregory Bald
Photo by Bob
Located at a height of 4,949 feet above sea level, Gregory Bald is a popular mountain in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Townsend, Tennessee. The magnificent peak of the mountain makes it a favorite hiking destination.
This peak gets its moment of fame during early summer when flame azaleas cover the summit and those of different colors are scattered everywhere.
It’s a fantastic place to gaze upon many of the Smoky Mountains’ most beloved places, including Cades Cove, Fontana Lake, and the far eastern mountain ranges into North Carolina, any time of the year.