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The Appalachian Lodge
Rushing water along the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail.

When you stay at The Appy Lodge in Gatlinburg, TN, you will be just a short drive from some of the most spectacular scenery in the United States! Drawing over 11 million visitors each year, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited national park in America. Boasting free admission, stunning natural beauty, and over 800 miles of pristine trails to explore, it’s easy to see why the Smokies are so popular. To help you make the most of your next vacation, we have put together a handy guide to the top five places to visit in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

1. Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail

Situated minutes away from downtown Gatlinburg, the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail is the most convenient way to enjoy the Great Smoky Mountains National Park without straying too far from the heart of the city. This 5.5-mile, one-way loop road features historic buildings, a beautiful stream, lovely forested views, gorgeous mountain vistas, and a wet weather waterfall. Please note that the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail is typically closed from late November until early April.

2. Cades CoveStunning picture of a mountain in Cades Cove.

Cades Cove is another one of the very best places to visit in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. In fact, this breathtaking valley is the most frequented section of the national park, attracting 2 million people each year! Perfect for auto tourists, Cades Cove features an 11-mile, one-way loop road that stops by all of the valley’s major landmarks. Visitors will find the park’s largest collection of historic cabins, unparalleled scenery, and incredible wildlife. If you’re hoping to see a white-tailed deer or a black bear during your vacation, this is the place to be!

3. Clingmans Dome

Standing 6,645 feet tall, Clingmans Dome is the highest point in the Smoky Mountains and the highest point along the entire Appalachian Trail. When you visit this striking observation tower, you will enjoy amazing mountain views that extend for over 100 miles on a clear day. The half-mile paved trail leading to the top of the tower is quite steep, but the incredible vistas are definitely worth the effort. Clingmans Dome Road is typically closed from the end of November until the beginning of April.

4. Walker Sisters Place

The Walker Sisters Place is a log cabin in the Little Greenbrier section of the park with an unusual history. Originally built in the 1840s, the cabin was taken over by John Walker’s six unmarried daughters when he passed away in 1921. Despite the establishment of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park around 1940, the Walker Sisters refused to leave their ancestral home. Ultimately, a deal was worked out where the sisters received a lifetime lease for their cabin and became quasi-ambassadors for the park until the last remaining sister passed away in 1962. Today, visitors can hike the Little Brier Gap Trail to the Walker Sisters Place, which begins at Metcalf Bottoms.

Beautiful views of the Smoky Mountains from Newfound Gap Road.5. Newfound Gap Road

Connecting Gatlinburg, TN to Cherokee, NC, Newfound Gap Road cuts through the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This remarkably scenic drive is well-known for its mountain views and varied forest ecosystems, which are said to be as diverse as a journey from Georgia to Maine. When you drive along Newfound Gap Road, be sure to stop by the Rockefeller Memorial, the spot where President Franklin D. Roosevelt officially dedicated the national park in 1940.

Guests at The Appy Lodge will have the perfect home base for exploring all of these wonderful places to visit in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. With free parking, complimentary breakfast, indoor and outdoor pools, and walk-in showers, our hotel has everything you need for an unforgettable escape. To start planning your getaway, browse our selection of Gatlinburg hotel rooms!