Thursday, October 25, 2012

Scenic Drives in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park encompasses over 800 square miles and there are 384 miles of road to choose from in the Smokies. Most are paved, and even the gravel roads are maintained in suitable condition for standard passenger cars.

To help you find your way around, inexpensive booklets are available at park visitor centers and online. Self-guiding tour booklets are also available from dispensers at the start of the roads they cover.
These booklets are keyed to numbered posts or landmarks and include information on park history, wildlife, and plants. Booklets are available for the following roads:
  • Cades Cove Loop Road
  • Cataloochee Valley
  • Newfound Gap Road
  • Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail
  • Upper Tremont Road
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is America’s most visited national park, so it is important to note the best times to beat the crowds. Times when visitation is highest are July 1-August 15 and the month of October (especially October weekends). During these times, traffic may become congested, especially on the Newfound Gap and Cades Cove Loop roads. Anytime you want to escape the crowds, try one of these alternatives:
  • Foothills Parkway East or West
  • Blue Ridge Parkway
  • Balsam Mountain
  • Rich Mountain Road
In summer, you can also avoid the crowds by traveling before 10:00 a.m. in the morning or after 5:00 p.m. in the evening. During October, traffic is heaviest during the afternoons and evenings.


  1. Thank You for the information.I will put it to use the next time we're in the area.


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