On the Road in America: Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Updated on September 13, 2017
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Sherri runs an online craft store and enjoys gardening and listening to classic rock. One day she hopes to be a writer.

Smokey Mountain View
Smokey Mountain View | Source

Mountain Getaway

Looking for a great place to add to your next road trip itinerary? Why not consider Gatlinburg, Tennessee? This small mountain town nestled at the front door of Smokey Mountain National Park is a favorite of road trippers everywhere. This town has something for everyone: great food, shopping, outdoor adventure, and scenic views. Read on to find out what you can do when you visit Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

Entrance to Crockett's 1875 Breakfast Camp
Entrance to Crockett's 1875 Breakfast Camp | Source
Healthy Mountain Waffles with Greek Yogurt and Fresh Strawberries at Crockett's.
Healthy Mountain Waffles with Greek Yogurt and Fresh Strawberries at Crockett's. | Source

A Good Day Begins With a Good Breakfast

A good breakfast is the beginning of a great day. Whether you are hiking, sightseeing, or shopping you need to have that morning boost to get the day started right. Crockett's 1875 Breakfast Camp serves the best breakfast in Gatlinburg. Crockett's—a tribute to Tennessee's past—features a nostalgic nod to the old camps created by the people who first settled the Smokies.

Soak in the history of these early campers and enjoy the sounds of traditional bluegrass music as you feast on classics like buckwheat pancakes or country ham. Crockett's also features modern favorites like veggie omelets or Crockett's Healthy Mountain Waffles made with granola batter and served with Greek yogurt and fresh strawberries.

Come hungry because Crockett's believes in healthy portions. When you leave you will be full and ready for the day.

Laurel Falls Side View
Laurel Falls Side View | Source
Grist Mill at Cade's Cove
Grist Mill at Cade's Cove | Source

Waterfalls, Nature, and Echos of the Past

Now that you are full and happy, it is time to take a hike! The nature trail at Sugarland Visitor's Center is a great place to take a morning walk. This gentle trail is not strenuous and will take you to Cataract Falls—a 40-foot waterfall. On your way to the falls, you may even catch a glimpse of a wild turkey.

Once you finish your first morning hike, it will be time to begin the scenic drive to Cade's Cove. Be prepared to spend at least two to four hours on the journey depending on how many times you stop to take in breathtaking scenery and peaceful running rivers.

On your way to Cade's Cove, you will have the opportunity to visit a second waterfall. Laurel Falls is an 85-foot waterfall accessed via a 1.3 mile trail. The hike to the falls is a strenuous journey. Be sure to take plenty of water. The trail is narrow, so pets and strollers are not allowed. The round trip to the falls and back is an estimated 2.5 miles. Wear comfortable walking shoes and pace yourself if you are not an experienced hiker. The end result is worth the effort.

After leaving the falls, it is time to drive to Cade's Cove. This scenic trip will take you through beautiful mountain scenery. The Cade's Cove loop will take you through time as you visit country churches, homesteads with working grist mills, and cabins. Enjoy this trip through the past as you visit with the ghosts of the past.

Once you leave Cade's Cove it will time to begin the trip back to Gatlinburg.

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The Peddler SteakhouseDowntown GatlinburgOle Smokey Moonshine
The Peddler Steakhouse
The Peddler Steakhouse
Downtown Gatlinburg
Downtown Gatlinburg
Ole Smokey Moonshine
Ole Smokey Moonshine

Steak and Shine

Nighttime in Gatlinburg ends just like it begins—with a good meal. The Peddler Steakhouse features hand-cut steaks and a super fresh salad bar. Be sure to call ahead on the day you plan to visit or you may have a long wait. This popular eatery is located on the river, so be sure to ask for a river view when you make your reservations.

After dinner, it is time to experience nightlife—Gatlinburg style. Downtown Gatlinburg features specialty shops to cater to any taste. Fudge, ice cream, home décor, and t-shirts abound in the quaint shops lining the streets of downtown Gatlinburg. You can even sample a southern staple—moonshine! Ole Smokey Whisky offers the visitors to taste different flavors of moonshine and even purchase a pint or two (legally, of course) to take with you.

All Good Things Must Come to an End

Whatever you are interested in, you can certainly find it in Gatlinburg!

Safe travels until we meet again!


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    • sherrituck profile image

      Sherri Tuck 5 months ago from Virginia

      Downtown Gatlinburg can be crowded especially around holidays.

    • jo miller profile image

      Jo Miller 5 months ago from Tennessee

      Gatlinburg is indeed a beautiful area of the country but I can't handle all the people and commercialism. I haven't been there for years.