The Great Smoky Mountains National Park…just its name alone inspires all kinds of visions and thoughts. There are, of course, the mountains, but there are also the 100+ waterfalls, the miles of trails, the scenic drives, the historic buildings and settlement areas, the wildlife…there is so much to see and do!

Naturally, that is why more than nine million visitors pass through the park each year, and as you might guess, there are times when there are many more travelers than there are at other times. However, if you book a visit in the spring you may beat a lot of the crowds and enjoy experiences that you cannot at other times of the year.

Here are our top five things we think you should do in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park this spring:


  • Just Go!


It seems silly to make that one of the things to do in the park, but to put it plainly, you won’t enjoy the area if you don’t book the trip. That means finding accommodations, choosing the things you’ll do and making all of the other arrangements. Then, you can head out and get to the park!


  • The Trails


There are many hiking trails throughout the park, and they can be found in any level of skill or experience. Whether you want a trail safe for your toddler or a senior family member or you are eager to enjoy an advanced hike with stunning views from high up in the mountains, you’ll find plenty of options. Among the most popular in the spring are the Alum Cave Trail and the Chimney Tops Trail. You will also want to hike to Rainbow Falls and Mouse Creek.

And speaking of waterfalls, remember that the spring thaws mean lots of water and stunning waterfall action!


  • Cades Cove


It is fair to say that you haven’t experienced the park until you’ve paid a visit to famous Cades Cove, and because it is so popular, the spring is a great time to enjoy it without the traffic or high number of fellow visitors who will arrive in the summer. It is an 11 mile drive with lots of spots to stop, explore, walk, picnic and learn. The mountain scenery is staggering and you’ll probably see lots of park wildlife.

Don’t forget that spring is wildflower season, and while Cades Cove is great for them, they are bound to be almost everywhere you go!


  • Clingman’s Dome


Re-opening in the spring, it is the highest point in the mountains and along the entire Appalachian Trail! Obviously that means you get show-stopping views, and if you are eager to hike, you can carry on to Andrews Bald for even more stunning scenery.

  1. Drive

Here’s a wonderful thing about the park – you don’t even have to exit the vehicle to enjoy it. If you are short on time or have limited mobility, the park is still a stunning spot to visit in the spring with all kinds of scenic parking spots, drives and roads to take in the views.

So, if you haven’t booked a spring getaway just yet, make sure you aim yourself towards the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and savor a truly beautiful experience.