5 Places You MUST SEE in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

While everyone knows Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg as great places to have fun with shows, fine dining, shopping, and amusement parks, the beautiful Smoky Mountains are a big part of the region’s appeal. The National Park covers more than 800 square miles of stunning forested foothills and mountain peaks cover the region, where you can explore nature, get a peek at protected wildlife, and visit historical sights of the original area settlers.

The next time you book a relaxing stay with Diamond Mountain Rentals, be sure to visit the Smoky Mountains during your stay. Break away from the hustle and bustle of the downtown crowd, and visit these five must-see places in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Our Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg cabins are conveniently located to each of the listed wonders of the Smoky Mountains, with easy access to the National Park and many paved trails for hiking, biking, horseback riding, or even driving tours. Book your next adventure with Diamond Mountain Rentals and experience the magic of the Great Smoky Mountains!

Cades Cove at SunriseGreat Smoky Mountains National Park

Cades Cove is the diamond in the rough. It is a preserved time capsule of enchantment that gifts all who view it with a remarkable and raw form of natural beauty. The fields are wide open and rolling in Cades Cove, with peaked mountains. There are miles of swift fencing and the occasional deer jumps from the grass at just the right moment. When the sun graces the sky, the yellow begins to emerge and drip along the mountain ridge. The glow of awakening cascades down the mountainside and down through the fields, burning the sky with purity. The light will glisten on the morning dew, and the animals will stir in the trees as they begin their day. Witnessing a sunrise at Cades Cove is a mile marker moment that is worth every sip of coffee it will take to get you there.

Cades Cove has both places to take a long, leisurely drive for those who prefer to roll down the windows and take in the sights from the comfort of their car; and hiking trails for those who want to get up close and personal with nature. The area includes several pull-offs and parking zones where you can stop for a picnic or take some photographs. Keep alert for deer, fox, and even bear during the right time of year. Also be on the lookout for some historical homesteads along the way.

Chimney Tops at Sunset

The Chimney Tops is next on the list with an outstanding 360-degree view atop a balding rock. The hike to the highest point is challenging yet rewarding when the melt of the sun graces the brink of the rock. You will cross wooden bridges and carry through rhododendrons to get to the glorified peak to witness tangerine, indigo, and hot pink sunsets. If your idea of a great vacation pushes you to the limits of what you can accomplish, and rewards you with sights that very few humans ever get to see, this is the ideal place to visit when you come to this region. The always-changing sights along the way make this hike worth doing again and again, and you’ll never forget the moment you reach the top.

Clingmans Dome: See 100 Miles of Splendor on a Clear Day

Clingmans Dome is a world all its own nestled above the mountains perfectly perched amongst the highest treetops. Standing at a brilliant 6,643 feet high, the Clingmans Dome Observatory allows you to walk out into the pale blue skies. You will see over 100 miles of mountain splendor with an eagle eye view on the clearest of days. This is the highest point in the entire Smoky Mountain region, and not many people venture up this trail to the top. You’ll experience something that so few ever do, and the trail along the way is beautiful as well. You’ll climb through lush forest and winding paths, following wildlife and historical adventurers.

Trillium Gap Trail to Grotto Falls

If you visit Trillium Gap Trail to Grotto Falls on a pleasant day around midweek and midday, you will get to see the llamas in full packs trekking to the LeConte Lodge with supplies. You will experience a steady uphill hike with beautiful wild grasses filled with blooming trilliums and rare, unique botanicals. This is a great hike for those who are fit but not necessarily experienced hikers. As long as you can walk long distances and don’t mind a gradual climb, you’ll find that this trail is perfect for experiencing the Smokies in a whole new way. It’s also ideal for bird watchers and those who like to catalog some of the more beautiful plants of the region. Come during the spring and early summer, and you’ll also get a stunning view of butterflies all along the trail as the flowers open up.

Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail after a Generous Rain: Place of a Thousand Drips

If you are lucky enough to be in the Smokies during a generous rain, pack in and trail off into the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. Drive cautiously and slowly as to not miss a droplet, the entire drive through the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail is encompassed with an elongated waterfall called "Place of a Thousand Drips. The rock formation offers several pores and spouts allowing the watershed to trickle in beautiful cascades. You can pull off and park for great photo opportunities and picnicking along the way, but be sure to have the windows down for the full effect. This is a stunning drive that is ideal for those who can’t hike, or for bringing along small children to experience the beauty of the Smokies.

These five locations are just a few of the most beautiful spots in the Smokies. There are dozens of other waterfalls, hiking trails, and picnic spots that draw visitors each year. Part of the fun is finding your favorite secluded area in the Smokies and making it part of your vacation memories. Be sure to book yourself some time in nature for your next trip.

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