Fall is right around the corner, and one of the best ways to experience the stunning fall foliage is by taking a driving tour through the Smokies! From beautiful overlooks to historic sites, you’ll be able to admire the natural scenery without leaving your vehicle. Take a look at these 5 Smoky Mountain scenic drives to enjoy after a hearty breakfast at our downtown Gatlinburg restaurant

1. Gatlinburg Bypass

scenic overlook on the galtinburg bypassThe Gatlinburg Bypass road allows you to take a different route into Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and you can find several hiking trailheads along the way. The best thing about this road is the Gatlinburg Overlook– it’s a must-stop! You’ll be able to see all of downtown Gatlinburg nestled among the colorful autumn foliage. 

2. Upper Tremont Road

An underrated, less crowded scenic drive in the Smokies is the 8-mile loop on Upper Tremont Road. It’s absolutely majestic during the fall season! There are also several waterfalls and hiking trails in this area, but staying in your car is still a great way to experience fall in the Great Smoky Mountains. While this road is unpaved, it’s not too steep, so it’s considered a nice drive for all types of vehicles.

3. Newfound Gap Road

newfound gap road in the smokiesNewfound Gap Road is around 30 miles long, stretching from Gatlinburg to Cherokee, NC, and is one of the nicest Smoky Mountain scenic drives. You’ll go up to 3,000 feet in elevation and have plenty of opportunities to pull off and soak in the gorgeous scenery. Newfound Gap itself provides an overlook of the gorge below and also has a picnic area. If you feel like stretching your legs for a bit, the Appalachian Trail is accessible from Newfound Gap as well!

4. Roaring Fork Motor Trail

One of the most popular Smoky Mountain scenic drives is the Roaring Fork Motor Trail. This loop road is 5.5 miles long, so it’s a pretty short auto tour if you’re short on time, but if you want to take your time and explore, this is a great option, too. You can see the Place of a Thousand Drips from your vehicle, and the Noah “Bud” Ogle cabin is right off the road, making it a quick detour and a beautiful walk among the bright fall colors!

5. Foothills Parkway 

foothills parkway in the smoky mountainsFoothills Parkway is a scenic highway maintained by the National Park Service and is a popular area for motorcyclists! While it’s still a work in progress, there are several completed sections of the parkway to explore. Along the Foothills Parkway West, we recommend stopping at Look Rock, a picnic area where you can also take a short hike to a scenic overlook. 

Now you know a few of the best Smoky Mountain scenic drives to try this fall. Learn more about ways to spend an autumn day in the mountains, like driving the Cades Cove Scenic Loop. And don’t forget to stop by Crockett’s for a delicious breakfast before heading out to explore the national park!