Picking the prettiest spots in a place as beautiful as the Smoky Mountains is tough. We’ve selected six of our favorites. How did we choose? We picked areas we think are the prettiest of their kinds–the loveliest hiking destination, the most spectacular long-distance view, the lushest forest walk, and more.
Springtime here yields the best wildflower viewing in the Smokies. The moderate four-mile round trip trail explodes with sky-blue phlox, sunny yellow and deep pink trillium, and dozens more species of colorful blossoms.
“Pretty” doesn’t begin to describe the majestic views from Clingmans Dome, the highest point in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Ascend the observation tower for 360-degree views reaching from 20 to 100 miles. Don’t miss these vistas of graceful mountain ridges and imposing peaks.
The Quiet Walkways are less-visited, easy, short trails. Thunderhead Prong Quiet Walkway follows a deeply shaded creek lined with moss-covered rocks, with foamy water chutes splashing into the stream. Serene and uncrowded, this 1.3-mile stroll may be the prettiest seldom-used trail in the Smokies.
The 11-mile round trip hike to Gregory Bald is rated “strenuous.” But this alpine meadow is worth the effort if you’re up for the steep route. Gregory Bald, an open space atop a mountain, gives you a view of peaks and ridges. Dazzling orange-red “flame azaleas” burst in June and wildflowers spangle the Bald much of the year. Wild blueberries make this area a magnet for wildlife.
Want a hike for kids? Head for the Sugarlands Visitor Center. From the parking lot, take the marked trail for a round trip of less than a mile to Cataract Falls. The 25-foot-high falls are a popular photo spot, so arrive early.
If your idea of beauty is woodland threaded with sparkling streams and dotted with historic cabins, this is the drive for you. The 5.5-mile one-way road winds through thick forest and takes you to trails leading to two waterfalls. Visitors frequently spot bear cubs clinging to trees along this route.
Explore the Smoky Mountains daily, and come home to your private vacation cabin each night. Browse our cozy cabins online now!