Gatlinburg is one of the most scenic tourist destinations in Tennessee. The surrounding peaks from the Great Smoky Mountains provide incredible scenery in every direction that you look. When you visit Gatlinburg, be sure to take advantage of the picturesque scenery by checking out the best place to admire the views.
Gatlinburg is a photographer and nature lover’s haven where you’ll get to experience it at any time of year. We’ll explore some of the best places to get the best views in town.
Things to Do:
- Walk across the Gatlinburg Skybridge
The Gatlinburg Skybridge is the most famous attraction in Gatlinburg. It’s North America’s longest pedestrian suspension bridge – it extends 680-ft with a height of 150-ft above the valley below. If you’re brave enough, make the walk across the bridge and be rewarded with breathtaking views.
The Gatlinburg Skybridge is an exhilarating experience as you walk between two summits of the Smokies. You’ll feel the gentle sway of the bridge and encounter the midsection with a glass bottom to see to the valley floor.
If you can manage, look out at the panoramic views where you’ll see Downtown Gatlinburg and the Smokies. Visitors can walk the bridge from one side to the other or end the experience after a one-way trip across it.
- Ride the Gatlinburg Skylift
The Gatlinburg Skylift is the first experience in the Skypark experience. It’s an open-air chairlift ride providing scenic views en route to the top. Passengers start the trip from Downtown Gatlinburg and ascend to the summit of Crockett Mountain for one of the best viewpoints.
Ever since opening in 1954, the skylift has been a popular tourist attraction. Grab a partner and take the tranquil ride, which lasts approximately 10-minutes before reaching the top. You’ll arrive at the Skydeck to take in the excellent sweeping views of Gatlinburg and also find the famous Skybridge.
After walking across the sky bridge, you can ride the skylift back down on the other side. The lift runs during the day and the night to give you different perspectives on the scenery.
- Views from the Gatlinburg Space Needle
The Gatlinburg Space Needle is an iconic feature of the skyline that offers one of the best viewing experiences. Visitors can ascend to the top of the structure for 360-degree views of Gatlinburg and the surrounding mountain landscape.
The Gatlinburg Space Needle has an observation deck over 400-feet above ground – it has an indoor and outdoor viewing area. Take the glass elevator ride to the top to enter the deck where you can walk around to see the notable sights. Be sure to visit during different seasons to see the forever changing landscape.
At the base, you’ll find a massive amusement center for adults and kids. It features the largest arcade in Gatlinburg, laser tag, escape rooms, and a theater.
- Best Views at the Gatlinburg Scenic Overlook
The Gatlinburg Scenic Overlook is considered one of Gatlinburg’s best viewpoints since you’ll get to take in the sights of the entire city. It’s located along the Gatlin Bypass, just outside of town. Stop along the roadside outlook for excellent views.
There are multiple outlook locations along the bypass and plenty of parking to accommodate its popularity. Perched high in the mountains, you’ll get to see all of Gatlinburg and the Smokies in the background. It also has information plaques to highlight details about the view.
The scenic overlook is a favorite photography spot with high visibility on clear days. It’s always open so that you can experience the views in every season.
- Explore the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited national park in the US, with millions of visitors every year. Gatlinburg is one of the main entrances to the park, covering an area including sections in Tennessee and North Carolina. The mountainous scenery surrounds Gatlinburg, so visiting the park allows you to see it up close.
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park has a diverse landscape of mountains, forests, waterfalls, and more. It’s designated as a biosphere reserve to preserve the ecosystem.
Hiking is one of the top activities to do in the park with hundreds of miles of trails. It also has observation decks at Clingmans Dome, biking, fishing, horseback riding, and historical sites. Check out the visitor centers to see park exhibitions.
Where to Stay in Gatlinburg?
Finding accommodations is easy in Gatlinburg thanks to having so many options, so the biggest dilemma is the kind of experience you want to have. There are a few top locations to stay in Gatlinburg that most tourists prefer.
If you’re thinking about staying a few days in Gatlinburg, consider these areas:
- Cabins in the mountains
- Camping in the national park
Downtown Gatlinburg is a bustling center where you’ll have access to many tourist attractions, dining, and entertainment. There are many hotels to put you within walking distance of the favorite things to do.
With Gatlinburg tucked in the valley surrounded by mountains, you can find several cabins overlooking the city. There’s nothing like a warm cabin setting in the lush forests as you walk out onto your balcony to see the city illuminated below.
The Great Smoky Mountains has several campgrounds – Elkmont Campground is a favorite nearby Gatlinburg. If you want to explore more of the outdoors, staying on a campground will be the ideal choice. You’ll still have quick access to the attractions in Gatlinburg.
Best Time to Visit Gatlinburg?
The best time to visit Gatlinburg is at any time. Gatlinburg is a year-round destination where you’ll have plenty of things to do, no matter what season you visit. The peak travel time is during the summer tourist rush, where many of the attractions get crowded.
Many of the favorite things to do in Gatlinburg focus on viewing the incredible scenery. If you visit during the fall, you’ll see the colorful fall foliage. In the spring, you’ll see nature starting to bloom, giving fantastic, lush natural scenery.
Gatlinburg is also a great wintertime destination. The mountains are perfect for skiing and other winter sports.