Throughout history, when a person has been able to find a vantage point where they can see for dozens of miles ahead of them at the glorious creation that nature, yet untouched by the bipedal, has had and largely preserved for untold centuries and longer, that primeval spirit that evolution has been kind enough to let us keep of connection with nature is at its peak, and it’s a feeling that uplifts our spirits in any context of feeling you can get. Physically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally, consciously, subconsciously, metaconsciously and within divinity itself – seeing the grand expanse of the Smoky Mountains is absolutely good for you!
In this article, we want you to get “high” in the most natural and literal sense of the word that you can get in our area and we will provide you the best 5 places to seek that out. Let’s look!
Downtown Gatlinburg (You’ll see it, trust us.)
Views: 360 degrees of the city of Gatlinburg and the surrounding mountains from 400 feet up with hyper binoculars available on sight.
“The Gatlinburg Space Needle is a 407′ observation tower that overlooks beautiful Gatlinburg and the surrounding Smoky Mountains. Our tower is served by two elevators with a capacity of 20 persons each. Ride our safe and comfortable glass elevators over 400’ to our observation deck for a 360° view of the Great Smoky Mountains and Gatlinburg. The view from the Gatlinburg Space Needle is an unequaled panorama of beauty year round which is only enriched with our free view finders. But, it’s more than a view; it’s also an information-packed experience thanks to our Higher Learning exhibits, an educational feature rich in facts and history about Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains.” – website
Chalet Village (Also accessible from downtown Gatlinburg)
Views: Mountaintop amusement park overlooking the city of Gatlinburg and providing several attractions that can provide awesome views.
“Ober Gatlinburg Amusement Park and Ski Area offers mountaintop fun for visitors of all ages. For the best view of the magnificent Smoky Mountains, make sure to ride the Aerial Tramway. Departing regularly from downtown Gatlinburg, this cable car will take you on a breathtaking 2.1-mile ride up to the Amusement Park & Ski Area. The two 120 -passenger counter-balanced cars provide an experience for all ages, from the young to the young at heart. Skate year-round on Ober’s huge indoor ice arena. The 140′ X 75′ indoor ice arena is the centerpiece of Ober Gatlinburg’s enclosed mall.” – website
Anakeesta Mountain (Accessible from downtown Gatlinburg)
Views: Mountainside attraction with views of the city and mountains, bridge canopy walk, zipline adventure and more.
“Our Gatlinburg based theme park is a great family value! Admission to Anakeesta includes a scenic ride via the Chondola to the summit of Anakeesta Mountain where you enter our magical Firefly Village. Enjoy spectacular views of downtown Gatlinburg on your way. At the top, you’ll enjoy majestic scenic views of Mt. LeConte, quaint gift shops and casual dining at our Smokehouse BBQ food truck or savory pastries, pies, cookies, hot drinks, and of course ice cream at Pearl’s Pie in the Sky. Look for our new full-service restaurant to open in summer of 2018 featuring a delicious menu, full-service bar, and sunset pavilion seating. Stroll along the 16 bridge Tree Canopy Walk 40’–60’ feet above the forest floor, and explore our whimsical Tree House Village Playground with the kids. Follow the Memorial Forest Walk to learn about the November 2016 fire and how it impacted our ‘mountain strong’ community. For even more excitement purchase tickets on our Dueling Zipline Adventure and race side-by-side with friends on our 1,000+ foot zip lines soaring 125′ above the ground. At each challenge tower, you will experience the thrill of rappelling to your next zip challenge.” – website
Located on Veteran’s Boulevard just 5 minutes from downtown Pigeon Forge.
Views: Primarily from rides that reach high elevations like the roller-coasters. There is also a zip-line ride onsite.
“Dollywood offers you the chance to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the Smoky Mountains and the incredible spirit of its people, all at a place fun for all ages. We invite you to taste award-winning recipes, experience heart-pounding thrills and witness incredible performances sure to become memories you’ll treasure always. Dollywood is more than just a world class theme park. It’s the complete getaway for families looking to disconnect from the world’s distractions and reconnect with each other while nestled in the beautiful Great Smoky Mountains. Dollywood’s properties provide ample opportunity to overwrite life’s daily stresses with new family memories. Ask anyone who has visited Dollywood before, and they’ll tell you this place is different. It’s not a difference that you can touch or see. It’s a difference you can feel.” – website
Accessible from Newfound Gap road, between Gatlinburg and North Carolina.
Views: The Clingman’s Dome Observatory. Clingman’s Dome reaches 6,643 feet in elevation which is both the highest point of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the entire state of Tennessee.
“At 6,643 feet, Clingmans Dome is the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It is the highest point in Tennessee, and the third highest mountain east of the Mississippi. Only Mt. Mitchell (6,684 feet) and Mt. Craig (6,647), both located in Mt. Mitchell State Park in western North Carolina, rise higher. The observation tower on the summit of Clingmans Dome offers spectacular 360° views of the Smokies and beyond for visitors willing to climb the steep half-mile walk to the tower at the top. It’s seven miles to the end of Clingmans Dome Road and there are scenic pullouts with endless views of ridges and valleys along the way. The road ends in a large parking area from which a 0.5 mile trail leads to the summit. The trail is paved but steep, and leads to an observation tower on top.” – nps.gov website
Located at The Island in Pigeon Forge
Views: The wheel cars reach heights of 200 feet and allow excellent views of the city of Pigeon Forge and the surrounding mountains.
“See Pigeon Forge for miles in the air. Towering 200 feet-tall, the Great Smoky Mountain Wheel sits at the foot of the most visited National Park in the United States–Great Smoky Mountain National Park. As the centerpiece to the Island in Pigeon Forge, it stands as one of the tallest attractions in the Southeast! Making its maiden turn on June 21, 2013, the Great Smoky Mountain Wheel at the Island in Pigeon Forge provides riders an unparalleled view of the world famous Smoky Mountains in comfortable, all-glass gondolas that seat up to 8 guests.” – Website
Located Southwest of Townsend, TN
Views: More than can be detailed here. 11 mile loop of scenic, vehicular views just begins to describe it.
“Cades Cove is a broad, verdant valley surrounded by mountains and is one of the most popular destinations in the Great Smokies. It offers some of the best opportunities for wildlife viewing in the park. Large numbers of white-tailed deer are frequently seen, and sightings of black bear, coyote, ground hog, turkey, raccoon, skunk, and other animals are also possible.
An 11-mile, one-way loop road circles the cove, offering motorists the opportunity to sightsee at a leisurely pace. Allow at least two to four hours to tour Cades Cove, longer if you walk some of the area’s trails. Traffic is heavy during the tourist season in summer and fall and on weekends year-round. While driving the loop road, please be courteous to other visitors and use pullouts when stopping to enjoy the scenery or view wildlife. An inexpensive self-guiding tour booklet available at the entrance to the road provides a map and information about the cove.” – https://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/cadescove.htm
Well, as you can see, we kinda got a little bit carried away with just how many awesome places we could think of that would be perfect for fulfilling any desire on seeing the wonder of the Smoky Mountains at its best, but that’s just how awesome the Smokies are!
We hope you get a chance to visit these attractions and the many more we have in Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg and the National Park.