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Rising along the divide between Tennessee and North Carolina, the Great Smoky Mountains have been designated an International Biosphere Reserve and a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Site. The lower elevations are covered with the largest old growth forest east of the Mississippi River while the upper elevations are covered with Southern Appalachian spruce-fir trees. This park has many wonderful places to have a picnic.

Cades Cove Trail and Picnic Area

An 11-mile hiking loop encircles the Cades Cove valley. Instead of doing a picnic lunch later in the day, consider starting with a picnic breakfast at this location. From May to September, the one-way loop road is closed to motorized traffic on Wednesday and Saturday mornings until 10 AM. A picnic area is located at the start of the road. Supplies can be purchased at the nearby camp store. Early morning visitors to this area often see black bears, deer, foxes, beavers, raccoons and squirrels scavenging for food. After your picnic breakfast, enjoy hiking the loop where you can see numerous 19th century buildings.

Best Places to Picnic in the SmokiesAbram Falls

One of the most beautiful areas in the Great Smoky Mountains is Abram Falls. Despite this waterfall being only 20 feet high, the large volume of water gushing over this waterfall makes it very beautiful. Plan on it taking three hours to complete this five-mile hike because of the elevation gain. Enjoy your picnic beside this beautiful waterfall. While the current can be quite strong, many swimmers love playing in the water at the base of the waterfall during the summer months. This hike is particularly gorgeous in the spring when the rhododendron and laurel are blooming.

Alum Cave Trail

There are several points along the 5.5 mile long Alum Cave Trail that are perfect for a picnic. Located just 1.3 miles from the trailhead, the narrow tunnel of Arch Rock makes a beautiful place to picnic but be careful of the stairs if the weather is damp. Inspiration Point is located about .7 miles further down the trail head. This gorgeous spot with an elevation of 6,000 feet is one of the prettiest spots in the Great Smoky Mountains allowing picnickers to see panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and waterfalls. Hiking along another .6 miles brings you to Gracie’s Point. This beautiful place is named after a woman who hiked to this spot each day to meditate even when she was 92 years old. Picnickers can enjoy the beautiful views from this rock thrusting itself out from the surrounding mountain.

Renting one of our cabins is a great way to enjoy the Great Smoky Mountains. Each offers amazing views of the surrounding mountains, so many people choose to prepare their picnics inside while simply stepping out the door to enjoy them in our peaceful surroundings. We are also glad to recommend many great places that will prepare a picnic lunch for you to take on these trails.

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