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Tennessee Scenic Drives

From the comfort of your vehicle, experience a scenic drive through highways and byways. Choose from mountain roads or country roads. See beautiful waterfalls, rivers, lakes, wildlife, and much more.

tennessee scenic drives
Tourists enjoying Tennessee's scenic roads; image by Jeaneane Payne

Cades Cove Loop Road

cades cove loop road
Cades Cove Loop Road; image by Jeaneane Payne

Cades Cove is a grand, verdant valley surrounded by the majestic Great Smoky Mountains. The 11-mile, one-way, Cades Cove Loop Road will take you through some of the most beautiful scenery on earth. You will drive through sprawling meadows, through creek beds, over bridges, and beside historic homes. At the mid-way point of the drive, you will come across a visitor center and a historic grist mill. Along your journey, you will see white-tailed deer and wild turkey. Often you will spot bears -- maybe in a tree, hiding in a bush, or walking through a meadow. There are more than 25 hiking trails in the Cove, and a river runs throughout.

Clingmans Dome Road

clingmans dome road
A view from Clingmans Dome Road; image by Jeaneane Payne

Clingmans Dome Road is located in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. You will travel 9 miles from Newfound Gap Road to the top of the mountain.

Cherohala Skyway

cherohala skyway
Cherohala Skyway in the fall; image courtesy of photos.com

Cherohala Skyway is a 43-mile National Scenic Byway from Tellico Plains, Tennessee, to Robbinsville, North Carolina. You will see mile after mile of forested mountainside with sweeping mountain views as far as the eyes can see; abundant and unobstructed scenic overlooks around every corner; world class hiking trails, refreshing waterfalls and scenic overlooks.

The Skyway winds up and over 5,400 foot mountains for 18 miles in North Carolina and descends another 23 miles into the deeply forested back country of Tennessee. The road crosses through the Cherokee and Nantahala National Forests thus the name “Chero…hala”. The Skyway is becoming well known in motorcycling and sportscar circles for its long, sweeping corners, scenic views and cool summer breezes.

Cumberland Plateau Nature Trail

cumberland plateau driving trail

On the Northern Tour of Tennessee’s Cumberland Plateau Nature Trail you will visit everything from the breathtaking mountain views inside the Cumberland Gap National Historic Park to the serene waters of Dale Hollow Lake with opportunities for bird watching, hiking, horseback riding, biking, camping and elk viewing in between. The Northern Tour of the Cumberland Plateau Trail is destined to become a family favorite.

Foothills Parkway West

foothills parkway west
Foothills Parkway West; image by Jeaneane Payne

Foothills Parkway West stretches 71 miles from the Wears Valley area of Sevierville, Tennessee to the Tale of the Dragon in Maryville, Tennessee. The Parkway runs through the western ridge of Chilhowee Mountain. You will enjoy marvelous views of Wears Valley, the National Park, and Maryville. Most visitors to the Foothills Parkway enter at US-321 / E. Lamar Alexander Parkway in Walland, TN. Walland is a small community located between Maryville and Townsend.

Gatlinburg Scenic Overlook

gatlinburg overlook
Gatlinburg Scenic Overlook; image by Jeaneane Payne

Gatlinburg Scenic Overlook is located in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. From Hwy 441 in Gatlinburg, Tennessee or from The Spur (the road between Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg) take the Gatlinburg Bypass. There are 4 pullovers where you can park your vehicle and get out to view the magnificent scenery of downtown Gatlinburg. The Bypass will take you straight into the National Park or you may turn off to go into Gatlinburg.

Little River Road

little river road
View from Little River Road; image by Jeaneane Payne

Little River Road runs between Sugarlands Visitor Center and Townsend, Tennessee. This is one of Tennessee's most beautiful scenic drives. It runs 16 miles and offers roadside views of several waterfalls. You will mostly likely see fishermen fishing on the riverbanks or in the river itself. It is common to see kayakers rowing downstream and people tubing. During a heavy rainfall you will hear the roar of the mountain river as it fills to capacity and sometimes overflows its banks.

Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail

roaring fork motor nature trail
Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail; image by Jeaneane Payne

Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail is a gem of the Great Smoky Mountains. Discover beautiful mountain rivers, scenic landscapes, mountain peaks, and waterfalls. Along the way, you might want to stop and enjoy one of the many hiking trails along the way. There are wonderful places of solitude along the mountain river. Historic homes and other structures provide information on bygone days in the Smokies.

The Snake

the snake scenic drive

The Snake is a 33 mile stretch of road that runs from Mountain City, Tennessee to Bristol, Tennessee. Motorcycle riders from across the country love this exciting trail. The road has 489 curves through three high mountains with lots of steep drop-offs. Along the way, you will pass over Holstein Lake. The scenery in the Cherokee National Forest is top-notch. Be sure to stop at Shady Valley Country Store about halfway to browse the homespun wares and stretch your legs.

Tennessee River Trail - Cross a river by ferry, see major Civil War battle sites, bird watch, canoe, fish, visit the ranch of renowned country singer Loretta Lynn, and see the impact of the Tennessee Valley Authority. The Tennessee River Trail Scenic Byway offers the above, and more, as it meanders for over 600 miles through picturesque countryside and small, hometown America. Whether you’re a history buff, an environmentalist, or an outdoor recreation enthusiast, the Byway has something for you.

Top Secret Trail - Find your next adventure on the Top Secret Trail, a journey through some of East Tennessee’s BEAUTIFUL SCENERY and best-kept secrets. You’ll start your trip in Knoxville, then set off into the Upper Cumberland Plateau and the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, where you’ll explore the area’s culture, marvel at the landscape, and sample some home cooking.

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