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Scenic Driving: Tennessee > Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Quick Facts

Foothills Parkway

Length, One-way: 36 Miles (60.0 Kilometers) Minimum total completed sections.




Satellite and Topo Map




General Description

The Foothills Parkway skirts the Great Smoky Mountain National Park's northern side. Only three sections are currently open to vehicle traffic. Due to funding and legislative difficulties, the ultimate status of the parkway remains uncertain. Despite political disappointments, the Foothills Parkway's open sections provide beautiful views of the Park and surrounding country. Completed sections of the Foothills Parkway are open year-round, weather permitting. Uncompleted sections are open to pedestrians, bicyclists, and equestrians.

West: running southwest from Walland to Chilhowee, this 20-mile section is the Foothills Parkway's longest segment. It provides beautiful vistas of the
northwestern Smokeys, including Thunderhead Mountain, highest peak in the Park's western half. Many of its south facing overlooks peer over Happy
Valley, into the Smokeys, and beyond. Its north facing views oversee Maryville, Knoxville, and the Great Valley.

Halfway along the segment, a trail leads to the Look Rock Tower. It is a third of a mile from the road. The trail makes a moderate climb. The
tower provides a 360-degree panorama, and a platform for scientific research such as air quality. Sunsets from the tower are often spectacular.

East: Foothills Parkway East is a six mile road leading from Cosby, TN to Interstate 40. Its eastern terminus is TN exit 443. Built on Green Mountain, the road provides wonderful views of Cosby Valley to the south and the Newport area to the north.

The Spur: technically part of the Foothills Parkway, The Spur is the only direct route from Gatlinburg to Pigeon Forge. A scenic four-lane highway, it follows the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River.

Directions from Walland: The Parkway travels to Chilhowee.

Directions from Cosby: The Parkway travels to I-40

Directions from Gatlinburg: The Spur is the only direct route from Gatlinburg to Pigeon Forge. A scenic four-lane highway, it follows the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River.



Current Conditions & Trip Reports

Add your own trip Report! Newly re-released feature. One of the most popular features on Wildernet, trip reports allow you to share your experiences with others. This is an invaluable resource for determining what to expect on your outdoor adventure, so please participate! To prevent spamming, you must be a registered user of Wildernet in order to submit a trip report

Filed By: jim hust (knoxville, TN)
Difficulty: Easy
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
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Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Hiking & Walking Halfway along the segment, a trail leads to the Look Rock Tower. It is a third of a mile from the road. The trail makes a moderate climb. The tower provides a 360-degree panorama, and a platform for scientific research such as air quality. Sunsets from the tower are often spectacular.
Yes
ICON Horseback Riding
Yes
ICON Mountain Biking
Yes
ICON Road Biking Biking is available on the sections of the Highway that are not open to motor vehicles.
Yes
ICON Scenic Driving Foothills Parkway
Yes
ICON Viewing Scenery
Yes



More Information

Visitor Information:

The Great Smoky Mountains, 107 Park Headquarters Road , Gatlinburg, TN, 37738, Phone: 423-436-1200

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, 107 Park Headquarters Road , Gatlinburg, TN, 37738, Phone: 423-436-1200

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