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The Appalachian Lodge
clingmans dome

The Smokies are the most popular national park in the country, and with good reason! There are so many fun things to do when you visit, from hiking in the backwoods to enjoying a fresh picnic lunch. But how do you decide what to do when you’re visiting? Maybe you should start with visiting the most popular destinations in the park! Check out these 4 popular places to visit in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park:

1. Cades Cove

cades cove roadThe most popular place in the national park is Cades Cove. Millions of people flock from all over the world to experience this little oasis in the middle of the Smoky Mountains. Visitors drive along an 11-mile paved loop in a valley surrounded by gorgeous mountains, and there are several areas where you can pull off the road to get out and explore. You’ll find historic buildings you can walk through, and it’s a possibility you could see black bears and other wildlife along your trek. Once you drive along the loop, you will see why Cades Cove is the number 1 destination in the Great Smoky Mountains.

2. Clingmans Dome

If you’re in search of breathtaking mountain views without having to hike miles and miles, you should visit Clingmans Dome in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The path to get to the top of the observation tower is paved, but be aware it is steep and not ideal for strollers or wheelchairs. There are benches along the path where visitors can stop and rest if they need to, but once you’re at the top, you’ll see what all the fuss is about. On a clear day, you can see over 100 miles away, and the views from Clingmans Dome are well worth the trek up the mountain!

3. Sugarlands Visitor Center

sugarlands visitor centerSome people love learning a little more about the Great Smoky Mountains National Park before they head out to explore. If you’re one of these people, your first stop should be the Sugarlands Visitor Center. Located off of US-441 just 2 miles south of Gatlinburg, this visitor center houses a small museum that’s dedicated to the national park and its history, and you can even watch a short 20-minute film. In addition to the museum, you will find helpful information about hiking trails, as well as a gift shop with all kinds of cool souvenirs.

4. Laurel Falls

Many people come to the Smoky Mountains to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, disconnect from the world, and reconnect with nature. A great way to get outdoors and enjoy spending time outside is to see a natural wonder, like a waterfall. One of the most popular waterfalls in the park is Laurel Falls. The hiking trail to reach this incredible sight is 2.3 miles roundtrip, and the path is paved, making it easier to navigate than natural trails. At the end of the hike, you’ll come up on the two tiers of the waterfall that stand at 80 feet tall. Visitors love taking pictures in front of the falls and enjoying themselves for a few minutes before heading back down the mountain.

You don’t want to miss out on any of these popular places in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Even if you decide to just visit one of these destinations, you’ll have a great time exploring on your next trip! Want to stay as close to the park as possible? Book one of our Gatlinburg hotel rooms since we’re right down the road from the national park entrance!