Blog for Zip line Attraction in the Smoky Mountains
Located in Pigeon Forge, TN and near Gatlinburg and Sevierville.
By Ross Bodhi Ogle
Posted on January 14, 2020
There's a reason that more than 10 million visitors travel to Great Smoky Mountains National Park each year. The range is one of the most beautiful sights in the country, and the park offers myriad ways for guests to enjoy outdoor recreation in the midst of all that scenery. However, those who don't have the time or otherwise aren't inclined to get out and get lost (metaphorically speaking) in nature have another means at their disposal of appreciating all that eye candy. Next time you're in the Smokies – or any other section of the Appalachians, for that matter – consider taking one of the many scenic drives and tours that provide motorists with stunning views as they travel from Point A to Point B.
This week, let Smoky Mountain Ziplines offer you several suggestions for area routes that are known for their views, whether you're taking them in from inside your vehicle or pulling over onto a scenic overlook and stopping for a breath of fresh air and gawking at the sights. We'll start with a couple within Great Smoky Mountains National Park that you might already be familiar with and then branch out to areas that are still in fairly close proximity to the Smokies.
This 11-mile, one-way auto loop is one of the most popular points in the park. It's rolling route gets drivers close to expansive meadows, sheltering mountain peaks, white-tail deer and even the occasional black bear. There's a cool visitor center with cantilever barns and a working gristmill, and the route also passes historic churches and homes as well as trailheads that lead to scenic nature walks and waterfalls.
This 5.5-mile, one way auto loop gets the traveler close to a lot of beautiful scenery, including rushing streams, mature hardwood forests and a number of well-preserved cabins, mills and other historic buildings. You'll also find trailheads to great hiking destinations like Rainbow Falls and Grotto Falls. The entrance to the loop is accessible from Historic Nature Trail, one of the main streets flowing away from downtown Gatlinburg.
Running 43 miles from Tellico Plains, TN to Robbinsville, NC, this National Scenic Byway and National Forest Scenic Byway is named for the Cherokee and Nantahala national forests through which it passes. It's a twisty, curvy road in many spots, but it has a number of overlooks with stunning panoramic views of the Smokies. In addition to mountains, you might see the abundance of wildlife on this route, which climbs as high as 5,390 feet in elevation.
This scenic byway has been decades in the making, and it's still not finished. In fact, it's the oldest unfinished highway project in the state. But a major new section of the route - the longtime Missing Link - just opened within the past couple of years, connecting Walland, TN to Wears Valley, TN. This 16.1-mile stretch has several pullover spots that offer awesome views from a mountain ridgeline down toward Townsend, TN, in the valley below. There's another major section in the Cosby, TN, area as well.
Beloved by motorcyclists even more than motorists, this twisty, curvy stretch of U.S. Highway 129 runs from just outside Maryville, TN, to Deals Gap, NC. The 11-mile route offers great views, yes, but also some 318 turns along the way, which is why bikers love it so much. But no matter what kind of vehicle you're operating, take it nice and slow…
It's a bit more of an undertaking, but this 469-mile scenic route is operated by the National Park System and runs from Afton, VA, near Shenandoah National Park, along the spine of the Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains, to Cherokee, NC. It would take days to do the whole thing, but if you're visiting the Smokies already, you can easily bite off a small chunk to enjoy on a daytrip.
Remember that our Gatlinburg ziplines will reopen for the season in March, so you still have time to plan a cool trip to the mountains. So next time you're here, you can enjoy the mountains both by car and by zipline.