Great Smoky Mountains Travel Guide: 2 Days Exploring the National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is

the most visited national park in the

United States Amy and I had never spent

any time there so on a recent trip to

Tennessee we decided to spend two days

exploring the park here's what we did we

were staying in the town of Knoxville so

our trip began with the one hour drive

towards Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge I

had never been to this area before and I

didn't know what was gonna greet me in

Pigeon Forge but it was definitely not

what I expected where are we driving

through the town of Pigeon Forge is an

experience in and of itself from passing

the large replica Titanic and the

National Inquirer building to visiting

the stores with live bears sharks and

alligators it's a really strange

experience to have on the way into the

National Park

eventually we escaped Pigeon Forge and

were greeted by green trees and small

rivers as we made our way to our first

stop in the Great Smokies Rainbow Falls

we have the last parking spot in the

Rainbow Falls Trail area going to have

some food and then heading out on a

five-mile hike Amy looks really excited


a day out on the trail to Rainbow Falls


Rainbow Falls is one of the most popular

trails in the park and it's a nice

introduction to the Great Smoky

Mountains with a beautiful shaded trail

and a stream you fall down most of the


we're about a half mile into the hike

two things to note one it's uphill most

the entire way and two it's really humid

we're from Southern California we're not

used to be in the sweaty after getting

used to the humidity Amy and I relaxed

and really did enjoy the two point six

miles to Rainbow Falls we even saw a

snake along the way that's a big snake

we stumbled right across the snake as we

were hiking and I asked a park ranger

later and he told me as a black king

snake that's not dangerous

from here the trail left the stream and

started gaining elevation as it made its

way up in the mountains is it gonna rain

on us not complaining about the humidity

as much anymore luckily for us the rain

never came even though it probably would

have felt nice with humidity made it

back to the stream again we're still

waiting for rainbow falls somewhere

around here

after 2.6 miles you'll eventually cross

a bend and you'll see Rainbow Falls in

the distance first view of the waterfall

right there we made it to Rainbow Falls

Rainbow Falls is a nice destination in

the Great Smoky Mountains is the largest

single fall waterfall in the park

standing at over 80 feet when you make

it to the Falls there's lots of nice

rocks you can sit and relax at plus you

can explore all around the area even

behind the waterfall but if you choose

to do that be very careful as the rocks

are really slippery that's a good end to

this height now let's head back

alright so we just made it back that was

a beautiful hike got to walk along the

creek most of the way lots of beautiful

trees and then of course the 80-foot

waterfall at the end good introduction

in the national park we're exhausted

though so we're going to an early dinner

and then we're going back to the hotel

we headed back down into the town of

Gatlinburg and while it's not as crazy

as Pigeon Forge it's still pretty quirky


super busy and I shrink for Amy this is

our hotel in Gatlinburg it's nice I

think it was like 80 dollars a night

eighty-five dollars a night

check this out it was hard to beat the

views from our hotel and we spent each

night that we were there having a drink

out on the patio

utter coffee were headed into the park

got the jams on ready to go we were

trying to figure out what we wanted to

do today but after talking to the park

ranger we decided to make the one hour

drive to Cades Cove which is one of the

most popular areas of the park even the

drive there is beautiful as you follow a

river most of the way and there's small

seasonal waterfalls as well


eventually we made it to Cades Cove paid

$1 for the tour booklet and started the

11 mile loop drive there are 17 places

you can stop at in Cades Cove according

to the map so Amy and I decided to stop

it as many as we could we just got to

Cades Cove and our first stop is John

Oliver's cabin

most of the stops around the area take

you to either churches or homesteads


on the next spot


note that this is a Monday in May and

there's still traffic in this area so

definitely plan on there being traffic

if you come we didn't know what to

expect when we started driving through

the Cades Cove area but it is an 11 mile

one-way loop road and most of the road

is only one lane because of that if

there's animals to be seen people often

stop in the road and it could take hours

to get through the loop one of the park

rangers we talked to said it took three

hours to get through the loop on a busy

summer day

so do note that going in that being said

it is a beautiful Drive especially if

you like history and there are two roads

that you can turn off at if you want to

cut the drive short while going through

the loop stop for Missionary Baptist

Church we're not getting out because of

all this make sure you get here early we

experienced the traffic firsthand as

there was a bear way off in the distance

that I used my zoom lens for and people

just parked in the middle of the road

and we sat there for about 45 minutes

it wasn't bad because we got to see a

bear but if you're in a rush note that

if someone parks in the road there's no

way around them

it was lunchtime for us so we stopped at

the cable mill historic area which is

about halfway through the park and it's

a great place to stop with lots to see

there's no food here in the park so make

sure you bring your own cheers after

lunch be sure you go over and see the

cable mill which is one of my favorite

things I saw in the entire Cades Cove

area and which was built in the late

1800s you can go inside when it's open

and learn about the mill process as well

as buy some cornmeal that was made in

the same processing style but off-site

from there we headed back onto the loop

and stopped it a few more cabins before

ending our time in Cades Cove

last up Carter shields cabin now we're

heading to Laurel Falls if we can find

parking deer traffic got some snacks

chips and ice cream just saw a bear

pretty good day


the things

on the way back we decided to pull out

at the sinks which is a small 15-foot

waterfall as part of a rushing river and

which is one of the only waterfalls you

can drive up to in the park it has a

nice overlook and it's a great quick

stop for pictures score we fell in

parking got lucky made it to Laurel

Falls we're able to grab a parking spot

bout to head out to the waterfall wanted

to give you a few quick notes on Cades

Cove first bring your patience it's a

one lane road people stop in the middle

of the road to see different sights so

make sure you're patient and you'll have

a good time there also bring any snacks

that you have is theirs not allowed to

eat we plan on it being only one to two

hours but I ended up being three to four

hours still a great place to explore in

the park though let's head out to the

water Laurel Falls is probably the most

recommended spot in the park as it's a

2.6 mile round trip hike that takes you

to a beautiful waterfall because of that

it can often be packed as there's not a

large parking area


it didn't he gave me an ad long to make

it to the falls and even though it was

packed it's still a beautiful two-tier

waterfall that we spent some time

exploring I would definitely recommend

hiking down to the bottom tier not as

many people go there and it's just as

beautiful we're heading back to

Gatlinburg for dinner and then we're

gonna head back up into the mountains

for sunset the town of Gatlinburg is

only about a 15 minute ride from Laurel

Falls we are back in Gatling Vegas for

dinner oh yeah this was our first time

really experiencing downtown Gatlinburg

and it's crazy how different it is than

the national park experience

last night we found ourselves at a fancy

establishment so tonight we're keeping

it low-key

bye guys Realty


we're ended up fans but let us know in

the comments five guys are in and out

what's your favorite in the town of

Gatlinburg there's a few really popular

attractions ripley's believe it or not

the Gatlinburg Space Needle and the sky

bridge the sky bridge was the newest

attraction we really wanted to see it

while we were in the city decided to

head up the list of the sky bridge


we are headed up to the sky bridge Amy's

really afraid of walking on it but I'm

not afraid that's the longest pedestrian

bridge in the United States and it's

supposed to have a glass-bottom we're

gonna check it out the bridge officially

opened in May of 2019 and it's over 700

feet long and a hundred and fifty feet

off the ground below here's the glass


awesome after facing her fears on the

skybridge it was time to head down and

go to our last stop only one more stop

for our time in Great Smoky Mountains

and it is Clingmans Dome which is right

out there to drive from Gatlinburg to

clean man's dome is about 45 minutes and

it takes you up over to the North

Carolina side of the Great Smoky


we're at the Newfound Gap which is the

tallest part of the road that goes right

through the park we're also currently on

the Appalachian Trail which is pretty


Maine is only 1,900 miles from here from

here it was only about a 15-minute drive

to our sunset spot clayman's dome we've

reached the last stop on our journey

Clingmans Dome which is supposedly the

best spot in the park for sunset while

the hike up to claim mins dome is

actually pretty short and only around a

half mile don't underestimate it as

there's a ton of uphill and you're at

the tallest part of the park so you'll

feel the elevation

eventually around the corner and reach

the iconic concrete observation tower

built in 1959 the concrete observation

tower sits about 45 feet above the

summit and it provides 360-degree views

of the entire park it was an amazing way

to end our two days as it gave you a

great appreciation for how gigantic this

park is well worth the uphill hike the

views are awesome that's it for us

thanks so much for exploring Great Smoky

Mountain National Park with us we'll see

you guys on the next video