Great Smoky Mountains National Park/ nps.gov

Great Smoky Mountains National Park/ nps.gov

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Itinerary



Welcome to Shaka Guide’s Great Smoky Mountains National Park tour! Come journey with us as we travel through stunning mountain scenery and explore the historical homes of days gone by. Great Smoky Mountains is the most visited national park in the country, often receiving over 14 million visitors every year! 

There’s so much to see and do at the Great Smoky Mountains, that we’ve broken it down 

Starting From Cherokee, NC

To maximize your time, this is our suggested route:

1. Oconaluftee Visitor Center and Farm Museum

brown big housenps.gov

Up to 1 hour

Start your adventure with a visit to the Oconaluftee Visitor Center and Farm Museum. Here, you can discover fascinating facts about the park's animals and history. Don't forget to say hello to the friendly farm animals too!

Tip: Chat with the helpful park rangers for insider knowledge about the animals and the park.

2. Clingman’s Dome

mountain overviewImage from Flickr by 

Up to 2 hours

Clingman's Dome is the park's highest point, and you can reach an observation tower for absolutely breathtaking views of the mountains. Don't underestimate the chill, even in summer; so, pack a jacket!

Tip: To enjoy solitude and catch stunning sunrises or sunsets, start your day early.

3. Newfound Gap Overlook

mountain overlooknps.gov

1-2 hours

Newfound Gap lets you stand right on the border of North Carolina and Tennessee! The views are simply jaw-dropping. Pack a picnic and savor the fresh mountain air.

Tip: Visit during the fall season for a mesmerizing display of colorful leaves.

4. Alum Cave Trail

people below the caveImage from Flickr by David Fulmer

1-4 hours

Alum Cave Trail is an exciting hike leading to a captivating cave. Inside, the cave dazzles with sparkling minerals – a true hidden gem! Make sure to wear sturdy hiking boots.

Tip: Begin your hike early and take your time to soak in the stunning scenery.

5. Chimney Tops Overlook

mountain in TennesseeImage from Flickr by 

Up to 1 hour

Chimney Tops is another fantastic spot for breathtaking vistas. Though you can't hike to the summit anymore, you can still admire the unique rock formations. Don't forget your camera!

Tip: Arrive early or choose a weekday to ensure you find convenient parking.

6. Sugarlands Valley Nature Trail

Up to 1 hour

This short, easy walk is a nature lover's dream with an abundance of plants and animals to discover. Keep an eye out for colorful birds and playful squirrels!

Tip: Bring binoculars for bird-watching.

7. Sugarlands Visitor Center

brown cabin houseImage from Flickr by 

Up to 1 hours

The Sugarlands Visitor Center is a treasure trove of information. Here, you can grab maps, ask questions, and delve into the park's history. Don't be shy; the park rangers are eager to assist you!

Tip: Check out the gift shop for unique souvenirs.

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8. Elkmont Little River Trail

shallow riverImage from Flickr by 

Up to 3 hours

This trail follows a pristine river, and you might even spot some adorable salamanders in the water! Wear water shoes if you'd like to wade in the river.

Tip: You can stroll through the remains of an old logging town, which is really cool.

9. Laurel Falls Trail

waterfallsImage from Flickr by 

Up to 3 hours

Laurel Falls is a stunning waterfall, and reaching it is a short and rewarding hike. Exercise caution on the trail, as it can be slippery.

Tip: To avoid crowds, plan an early morning visit.

10. Metcalf Bottoms Rest Area

mother and child playing in the riverImage from Flickr by 

Up to 1 hour

Metcalf Bottoms is an ideal spot for a picnic or a game of catch. It's a peaceful place to unwind and relish the great outdoors.

Tip: Pack a blanket and some snacks for a delightful picnic.

11. The Sinks

river beside a roadImage from Flickr by 

Up to 1 hour

The Sinks is a fascinating spot to watch the water rushes through the rocky terrain – nature's own waterslide! Be cautious and refrain from attempting to slide down the rocks yourself.

Tip: Take a quick break here and soak in the sounds of the rushing water.

12. Cades Cove Scenic Loop

open field with orang tree and mountainnps.gov

Up to 4 hours

Cades Cove is a sprawling, picturesque valley teeming with wildlife. Keep your eyes peeled for deer, bears, and wild turkeys. Drive slowly and stay patient for wildlife sightings!

Tip: Bring binoculars and your best wildlife-watching patience.

13. Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail

trail with tall trees besideImage from Flickr by 

Up to 3 hours

Roaring Fork is a one-way loop road surrounded by lush forests and cascading waterfalls. Roll down your car windows and relish the symphony of forest sounds. Don't forget to snap some stunning photos!

Tip: Drive slowly to fully immerse yourself in the captivating scenery.

14. Gatlinburg

town with mountains besideImage from Flickr by 

Up to 3 hours

Gatlinburg is a charming mountain town boasting quaint shops and delightful restaurants. It's a fun place to explore and treat yourself to some local delights like fudge and apple cider donuts.

Tip: Indulge in local treats and enjoy the unique charm of Gatlinburg.

Before You Go...

For the ultimate Great Smoky Mountains National Park experience, check out Shaka Guide's GPS audio tour! It's like having a knowledgeable friend in your pocket, guiding you with fun stories and clear directions.

Plus, you can explore at your own pace, stop at scenic spots, and never worry about getting lost. It's your personal tour guide, nature expert, and map all in one. Happy exploring! 

Ready to take the tour? Check out Shaka Guide's Great Smoky Mountains National Park Tour!

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We hope that we’ve given you all the information you need to make the most of your day. Your vacation is extremely important to us so if you have any questions feel free to reach out at aloha@shakaguide.com.

For more detailed information to help you plan, check out our Great Smoky Mountains National Park Know Before You Go article.

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