Gatlinburg Driving Routes & WayPoints
Check out the different driving routes below to find the best adventure for you.
#1) Roaring Fork Motor Trail
Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail GPS Link
AKA the Historic Nature Trail. You’ll drive on a one-way, one-lane road up through the Smoky Mountain National Park and then down the backside. You’ll come out on the other side of Unseen Pass’ location. You’ll be able to stop at several views, hiking trails, old houses, and creeks. Feel free to spend as much time back there as you’d like exploring.
From Unseen Pass Gatlinburg Location, GreenBrier is six (6) miles north on 321. It’s across from Hungry Bear BBQ. In Greenbrier, you’ll experience dirt roads by the river and the Smoky Mountain National Forrest. Even when Gatlinburg is packed with tourists Greenbrier is typically significantly less busy and remains an escape.
#3) Cades cove
To begin your journey to Cades Cove, you’ll need to go back through the City of Gatlinburg. Once outside the city, you’ll drive beside the creek along the way, which makes for a beautiful ride to the cove. Cades Cove is a popular tourist destination, as it has an 11-mile one-way loop that works its way through the base of the mountains. Enjoy the wildlife and more.
#4) Cherokee, NC
To begin your journey to Cherokee, you’ll need to go back through the City of Gatlinburg. Once outside the city, instead of taking a right to go to Cade’s Cove at the Welcome Center, you’ll stay straight and take 441 up past Clingmans Dome and Newfound Gap (places you can also stop at). Cherokee is a popular tourist destination known for the Indian reservation and its casinos. In Cherokee, you can enjoy many restaurants and activities along the river. There are many places to park. You’ll most likely see Elk, bears, and other wildlife as well. Cherokee is roughly a 50-minute drive, but the best drive around Gatlinburg, TN.
#5) DOUGLAS LAKE
*Please DO NOT drive out on the lake.
Take the back way to Douglas Lake.
“Douglas Lake TN, also known as the Douglas Reservoir, is located at the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains and it’s only a few short miles from the Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg areas as well as the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Douglas Lake TN, which is about 28,000 acres, is formed by the French Broad River as well as the tributaries of the Pigeon Rivers. The lake welcomes more than 1.7 million visitors each year and is surrounded by mountains and rolling hills. It’s a great place for boating, fishing, picnicking, and swimming during your vacation, too!” Source – Area Information.