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Sugarlands Visitor Center picture in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
jcarillet / Getty Images

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  • Tours Type
  • 1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
4.8
Overall
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  • Value
    5.0
  • Facilities
    4.0
  • Atmosphere
    4.5

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According to recent travelers, the Sugarlands Visitor Center should be your first stop in the park. The visitor center features extensive natural history exhibits and screens a free 20-minute film about the park. The center also houses a bookstore, a gift shop, restrooms and a variety of information including trail maps. There are also several ranger-led programs offered seasonally. 

Recent visitors recommended picking up both driving and trail maps here, and many commented on the excellent displays in the wildlife exhibit. Most travelers appreciated the helpful staff and the gift shop, as well as the clean restrooms. However, some lamented the limited parking during peak seasons. 

Sugarlands Visitor Center, located 2 miles south of Gatlinburg on U.S. Route 441, is open daily (except Christmas Day). Hours vary seasonally, but it generally welcomes travelers from 8 a.m. to as late as 7:30 p.m. Check the park's website for trail and road closures or call the hotline for road and weather information.

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#1 Roaring Fork Motor Trail The Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, a nearly 6-mile-long, one-way loop road, offers spectacular mountain scenery and access to two of the region's most popular waterfalls: Rainbow Falls and ... Read more » SuperT76 / Getty Images

#2 Newfound Gap Road Also known as notches or passes, gaps are the low points in a mountain ridge. The Newfound Gap, which sits at an elevation of 5,046 feet, is the lowest ... Read more » SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images

#3 Sugarlands Visitor Center According to recent travelers, the Sugarlands Visitor Center should be your first stop in the park. The visitor center features extensive natural history exhibits and screens a free 20-minute film ... Read more » jcarillet / Getty Images

#4 Cades Cove Surrounded by mountains, Cades Cove is an isolated, fertile valley that was once home to many of the early Southern Appalachian settlers. You'll see 18th- and 19th-century cabins, three ... Read more » Courtesy Gatlinburg Convention & Visitors Bureau

#5 Clingmans Dome Clingmans Dome is not only the highest point in Tennessee, but also in the park itself. On a clear day, you may be able to see more than 100 miles ... Read more » Wray Sinclair / Getty Images

#6 Cades Cove Visitor Center The Cades Cove Visitor Center is located about midway on the 11-mile, one-way Cades Cove Loop Road. One of the most popular areas in the park, the Cades Cove valley ... Read more » NPS

#7 Abrams Falls Trail Named for a Cherokee chief whose village once occupied a spot alongside the creek, Abrams Falls is small, but mighty. While the falls are only 20 feet high, they pump ... Read more » JimVallee / Getty Images

mhare2000 / Getty Images

#9 Laurel Falls Named for the mountain laurel (an evergreen shrub) that blooms throughout the park, Laurel Falls is one of the most popular trails in the park. The path has an upper ... Read more » Brian W. Downs / Getty Images

#10 Chimney Tops One of the most popular trails in the park, Chimney Tops is one of the few mountains that has a bare rock summit and the views from the summit are ... Read more » GreenStock / Getty Images

Roaring Fork Motor Trail picture in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Newfound Gap Road picture in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
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Cades Cove picture in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Clingmans Dome picture in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Cades Cove Visitor Center picture in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Abrams Falls Trail picture in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Grotto Falls Trail picture in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Laurel Falls picture in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Chimney Tops picture in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Roaring Fork Motor Trail picture in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Newfound Gap Road picture in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Sugarlands Visitor Center picture in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Cades Cove picture in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Clingmans Dome picture in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Cades Cove Visitor Center picture in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Abrams Falls Trail picture in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Grotto Falls Trail picture in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
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Stop along the Roaring Fork Motor Trail to walk behind a waterfall at Grotto Falls. SuperT76 / Getty Images

The Newfound Gap, which sits at an elevation of 5,046 feet, is the lowest drivable pass in the park. SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images

Most visitors recommend making Sugarlands Visitor Center the first stop to pick up trail and road maps, find out about closures and learn more about the park through the center's free film and extensive wildlife exhibit. jcarillet / Getty Images

Cades Cove is one of the most popular spots in the park, especially with hikers and cyclists. Courtesy Gatlinburg Convention & Visitors Bureau

Clingmans Dome is not only the highest point in Tennessee, but also in the park itself. On a clear day, you may be able to see more than 100 miles.  Wray Sinclair / Getty Images

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The Laurel Falls Trail, one of the most popular in the park, is named for the mountain laurel that line its path. Brian W. Downs / Getty Images

One of the most popular trails in the park, Chimney Tops is one of the few mountains that has a bare rock summit and the views from the summit are spectacular.  GreenStock / Getty Images

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