Stunning mountain views from Newfound Gap Road.

Top 3 Scenic Drives in the Smoky Mountains

Auto touring is one of the very best ways to enjoy Tennessee’s Smoky Mountains! The national park is home to a number of roads that offer breathtaking views of the area’s natural beauty. Exploring the Smokies in the comfort of your vehicle is ideal for families with children who are too young for a hike in the park. To help you make the most of your vacation, Aunt Bug’s Cabin Rentals has put together a guide to the top three scenic drives in the Smoky Mountains.

1. Newfound Gap Road

Newfound Gap Road is the most iconic drive in the Smokies. Connecting the city of Gatlinburg, TN with Cherokee, NC, this road cuts right through the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. During your auto tour along Newfound Gap Road, you will see cove hardwood forest, pine-oak forest, northern hardwood forest, and evergreen spruce-fir forest. This incredible diversity of ecosystems has been compared to driving from Georgia to Maine!

Popular landmarks along Newfound Gap Road include:

  • Campbell Overlook, which offers stunning views of Mount LeConte
  • Newfound Gap, the lowest pass through the Great Smoky Mountains
  • The Rockefeller Memorial, which is where FDR dedicated the national park
  • Clingmans Dome Road, which leads to the tallest observation tower in the Smokies

2. Roaring Fork Motor Nature TrailRushing water at Roaring Fork.

The Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail is another one of the best scenic drives in the Smoky Mountains. Located minutes away from downtown Gatlinburg, this 5.5 mile one-way loop offers gorgeous views, incredible fall foliage, historic buildings, and the trailheads for a number of popular hikes. The Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail takes its name from the beautiful mountain stream that runs along the side of the road. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for wildlife during your drive through the Motor Nature Trail, because black bears and wild turkey are known to frequent the area.

Landmarks along the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail include:

  • The Noah “Bud” Ogle Place, a historic homestead constructed in the 1800s
  • The trailhead for the Rainbow Falls hike
  • The trailhead for the Grotto Falls hike
  • The “Place of a Thousand Drips”, a wet weather waterfall

3. Cades Cove Loop Road

Cades Cove is the most majestic area of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This breathtaking valley offers wonderful mountain views, historic buildings that are frozen in time, and superb wildlife viewing. Because the valley isn’t densely forested like the rest of the park, visitors have a better chance of spotting white-tailed deer, wild turkey, coyotes, raccoons, otters, pileated woodpeckers, and black bears. Cades Cove features an 11 mile, one-way loop road that stops by all of the valley’s landmarks.

Some of the most popular sights in Cades Cove include:

  • The John Oliver Cabin, which belonged to the first Euro-American settlers in Cades Cove
  • The Primitive Baptist Church, which was built in 1887
  • The trailhead for the hike to Abrams Falls
  • The John P. Cable Mill, the only working gristmill in the national park


The winding road in Cades Cove.When you stay with Aunt Bug’s Cabin Rentals, you will be near all of these excellent scenic drives in the Smoky Mountains. Our cabins come with your choice of luxury amenities, including mountain views, outdoor fire pits, game rooms, theater rooms, swimming pool access, and even more great features. With everything from 1 bedroom cabins to 8 bedroom cabins, we are sure to have the perfect accommodations for your next escape. To start planning your getaway, browse our selection of cabin rentals in the Smoky Mountains!