Top Places To Explore in the Great Smoky Mountains

Can you imagine a place that houses beautiful mountains, lush forests, flowing streams, magical waterfalls, colorful wildflowers, and abundant wildlife?

The Great Smoky Mountains, a forested mountain range spilling over the Tennessee and North Carolina borders, has all this and more.

Since the park is vast and has various ecosystems, how should you spend your time? Let's dig into the best places for you to visit in the Great Smoky Mountains.

The park has two historic gristmills. Cable Mill is a water-powered gristmill located in Cades Cove. Mingus Mill, near Oconaluftee, is turbine powered. Here you can learn about grinding grain products.

Historic Gristmills

Cades Cove is among the most popular spots in the Great Smoky Mountains. It is a vast, lush valley surrounded by mountains. Visitors regularly see white-tailed deer. You may spot black bears, coyotes, and other wildlife.

Cades Cove

Nestled between high mountain peaks, Cataloochee houses historic late 19th-century and early 20th-century frame buildings. Preserved buildings include two churches, a school, and several homes.


The Deep Creek area is known for hiking and mountain biking. Several loop trails lead to beautiful waterfalls. Deep Creek has a picnic area that is open year-round.

Deep Creek

Archaeological evidence shows humans inhabited Elkmont 5,000 to 8,000 years ago. Elkmont is an exciting study of how a place can change over time. In the 19th century, Elkmont was a farming town. It became a logging site in the early 20th century and later a resort community.


Swipe up to learn more!