Whether you want to go off-roading in your Jeep or cruise with style in your hybrid, road trips through the Smokey Mountains is an experience of a lifetime. In truth, the Smokey Mountains offer a wide range of scenic drives that fits everyone’s desires. While you experience the highlight of western North Carolina and view the many scenic drives such as national park roads, skyways, loops, byways, parkways and more. Along your road trip you can also enjoy the many spectacular sites and adventures like the picturesque views, camping sites, rustic cabins, hiking trails and river access. In fact, one of the best experiences is to take a leisure 2 or 3 day road trip and stay in a cabin so you can experience the serene Smokies at their best. And while staying at your cabin you are sure to see many of the areas wildlife like elk, deer, turkey, black bear, raccoon, woodchucks and other animals.
Blue Ridge Parkway
The Blue Ridge Parkway is a very popular scenic drive. In fact, it easily lives up to its title “America’s favorite drive”. Indeed, many say that the drive is an absolute “must see”.
The Blue Ridge Parkway rest between the Shenandoah National Park and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park you will find 469 miles of mountain terrain and stunning forest. Along with the outstanding scenery there are also several recreational activities like amazing hiking trails, campgrounds with camping facilities and cabins, romantic picnic getaways and visiting centers. You will also find many fabulous restaurants along the way.
This scenic route is perfect for those who want to go at a slow pace and enjoy the ride. And for many, the best time to visit the spectacular area is in the summer when many of the flowers are in bloom such as Queen Anne’s lace; black eyed Susan’s and butterfly weed.
If you like wildlife and history then the Cataloochee Valley is a place you have to visit. In addition, the valley is rich with history and many legends. Before adventuring on your own, make sure to pick up a tour guide booklet at a GSMR visitors’ center or at a roadside box near the valley’s entrance.
Discover the centuries-old churches, an old school and many other historical structures. As well, the valley is one of the best places to see the majestic elk. Just keep an eye out in the open fields. An at times you may even see a black bear or two.
Cades Cove Loop
This scenic drive is a favorite for many. The drive is a spectacular view of the Smoky Mountains with its serene woodland settings to historic homes. The loop is only 11 miles but well worth the time. In truth, this lush valley has been a enchanting destination since the first settlers back in the early 1800s. Cades Cove Loop is renowned for its peacefulness and abundant wildlife.
Tail of the Dragon
This scenic drive is geared for the more adventurous types and experienced off-roadsters. In truth, it is called Tail of the Dragon for good reason. The drive features 318 bends and turns in the 11 mile excursion. The curvilinear stretch is perfect for motorcycle enthusiasts and sports car fans.