Great Smoky Mountains National Park - A Day In The Park
If you only have one day to visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the following itinerary will give you an excellent overview of the park and all its wonders.
Begin at the Sugarlands Visitor's Center, two miles south of Gatlinburg. There you can enjoy an interesting park film, visit the excellent natural history exhibit and participate in short ranger talks and slide shows.
From Sugarlands, proceed to Cades Cove and enjoy the 11 mile Cades Cove Loop Road where the National Park Service maintains historical and cultural buildings and artifacts from this area's pioneer days.
Next, head back the way you came and head south toward Oconaluftee on New Found Gap Road. Enroute, stop at the Chimney Tops where there is a 3/4 mile, self-guided nature trail through a cove hardwood forest. You can stop at the Chimney Tops picnic area and have lunch.
After this, continue south on New Found Gap Road to Oconaluftee Visitor's Center. Shortly beyond the visitor's center is the Mountain Farm Museum, a collection of old farm buildings from around the smokies area. Re-enactments of pioneer farm life are performed here from spring until late fall.
Then head back north toward Gatlingurg, but take a quick stop at the Mingus Mill where daily demonstrations are held.
To complete your day, spend the evening in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Sevierville or Townsend.