Gatlinburg / Great Smoky Mountains National Park Welcome Center
Start your Rocky Top journey here, where youll find helpful info on the area, and even pick up a trolley map, a brochure for the upcoming Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community Trail (point 15), or a brochure for Sunny Side: Early Country Trail, another one of the Discover Tennessee Trails & Byways. Take time to browse the handcrafted products in the popular Made in Gatlinburg Store.
1011 Banner Rd. Gatlinburg, TN
See pts. 2-7 & 10-12 on foot or by trolley; Park & Ride Trolley services available here.
More About: Gatlinburg, TN
This popular vacation destination was once a stop along a Native American hunting trail, used later by white trappers and hunters who established settlements in what was then known as White Oak Flats. It was later named Gatlinburg for the post office established in 1856 in Radford Gatlins general store. The turn of the century brought jobs and growth attached to the logging industry, and Arrowmont School of Arts & Crafts (point 3) was established to address educational needs and promote the teaching of Appalachian crafts and traditions. The establishment of Great Smoky Mountains National Park in 1934 brought tourists to the area, turning this sleepy 600-resident village into a resort town. Today, this mountain destination is known for its crafts, entertainment and attractions, while its gorgeous scenery still steals the show.
Sweet Fanny Adams Theatre
Ready for a laugh? This hysterical vaudevillian live comedy show is the longest running theatrical attraction in Gatlinburg. Shows nightly, April-Dec.
461 Parkway Gatlinburg, TN
Turn R on S US-441, go 1.8 miles to pt. 2.
Arrowmont School of Arts & Crafts
The five galleries of this nationally recognized center for contemporary arts and crafts are popular stops for tourists and collectors alike. Check out the center's class schedule and return to hone your skills with the staff and artists in residence.
556 Parkway Gatlinburg, TN
Continue on Parkway to light #5 and int. of River Rd. Turn R on Greystone Heights Rd., park in garage on L to visit pt. 4. Need a ride? The Gatlinburg Mass Transit Center at pt. 4 is the trolley hub for rides through town, the National Park, Crafts Comm
Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies
Get up close and personal with a shark and a giant sea turtle, or watch the penguins play at Americas No. 1 aquarium, featuring a 1.4 million-gallon, world-class saltwater aquarium filled with more than 10,000 exotic sea creatures.
88 River Rd Gatlinburg, TN
Martha Jane Huskey Ogle Cabin
Stop at this historic 1807 structure on the Arrowmont campus for a glimpse into the past. This home belonged to the towns first permanent settler, a widow with seven children who farmed the land claimed by her husband before his death. It is the oldest remaining structure in the city. Open June-Oct.
576 Parkway Gatlinburg, TN
Said to be Tennessees oldest pancake house, this Gatlinburg institution has been serving up favorites for over 50 years. Stop in from breakfast to late lunch.
628 Parkway/The Village Gatlinburg, TN
More About: Hoecakes
You'll see a lot of pancake houses in this area they date back to the frontier culture. Using only basic ingredients, they were affordable and easy for pioneers to prepare. Some settlers even fried them on their hoe blades over an open flame, earning them the name hoecake.
"Rocky Top," the trail's namesake song, was written in 1967 by Felice and Boudleaux Bryant in this 1930s-era inn. The inn also appears in the movie, "A Walk in the Spring Rain," (1970) starring Ingrid Bergman, Anthony Quinn and Fritz Weaver. Visitors are welcome in the lobby; stop in and view memorabilia. Open April-Oct.
755 Parkway Gatlinburg, TN
More About: Felice & Boudleaux Bryant
This songwriting power-duo met in Milwaukee in 1945, when Felice was an elevator operator in the hotel where Boudleaux, a traveling musician, was performing. They were married just a few days later. The duo found songwriting success in Nashville, composing songs for the Everly Brothers, with hits like “Wake Up, Little Susie,” “All I Have To Do Is Dream,” and “Bye Bye Love,” which had been rejected 30 times by various artists. Before settling in Gatlinburg, the couple vacationed at the Gatlinburg Inn (point 7), where they fell in love with the fresh mountain air and the Smokies’ peaks steeped in fog. This view inspired “Rocky Top,” the unofficial anthem of the Smoky Mountains, and rallying cry of the University of Tennessee Volunteers. The song was completed in 15 minutes and was recorded by the Osborne Brothers in 1968; it is now one of the official songs of the State of Tennessee. The Bryants’ songs have been recorded by many famous American artists including Buddy Holly, Little Jimmy Dickens, Elvis Presley, Chet Atkins, The Carter Family, Buck Owens, Tony Bennett and Lawrence Welk.
Noah “Bud” Ogle Self- Guiding Nature Trail
Take a walking tour of an authentic mountain farmstead and surrounding hardwood forest.
Cherokee Orchard Rd. Gatlinburg, TN
Drive 0.3 mile to light #8, turn L on Historic Nature Trail. Go 0.6 mile, go through int. onto Cherokee Orchard Rd. Continue approx. 2 miles to pt. 8.
Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail
Slow down and cruise this 6-mile, one-way driving journey through the forest to enjoy the historic buildings and scenic beauty of the area. This drive offers rushing mountain streams, glimpses of old-growth forest, and a number of well preserved log cabins, grist mills and other historic buildings. Along the way is the trailhead for the popular Grotto Falls and a "wet weather" waterfall called Place of a Thousand Drips. Closed in winter. Buses, trailers & motor homes not permitted on trail.
Roaring Fork Rd. Gatlinburg, TN
To go off trail from pt. 8, turn R, continue on Cherokee Orchard Rd. Veer R on Loop Rd. (one-way), go 0.9 mile. Turn R on Roaring Fork Rd., begin pt. 9 (oneway drive). Drive ends 0.6 mile from downtown at light #1A on US-321 just to R of pt. 14. Turn L
Ole Smoky Distillery
Visit Tennessee's first legal moonshine distillery to sample and buy authentic spirits, created from recipes over 200 years old. Learn about the area's moonshine history and try the original mountain moonshine mixture, made with local corn. See why this fascinating stop was featured on The Today Show.
903 Parkway Gatlinburg, TN
To stay on main trail from pt. 8, turn L on Cherokee Orchard Rd., return to light #8 in downtown. Turn L on Parkway to pt. 10. (Park in back.)
Enjoy the great view of the Great Smoky Mountains, and look out over the city of Gatlinburg from this sky-high aerial tramway. At the top of the ride, you'll find fun for everyone: year-round ice skating, an alpine slide, snow sports, dining and shopping. Don't miss the Smoky Mountain Wildlife Encounter, where you'll meet some of the areas native species, including black bears.
1001 Parkway Gatlinburg, TN
Continue on Parkway for 0.2 mile to pt. 11. Park in back.
Nantahala Outdoor Center’s Great Outpost
If you're planning for outdoor adventure on the Rocky Top Trail, this is the place for gear. Designed by the team responsible for Bass Pro Shops, this LEED certified outfitter features a large selection of camping, hiking, fishing and canoeing supplies. There's so much to see here that the shop offers guided tours.
1138 Parkway Gatlinburg, TN
Continue on Parkway for 2 blocks to pt. 12.
Sugarlands Visitor Center
Even if you don't hike or camp in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, drive two miles into the park to this stop. Watch the free 20-minute film for an overview of this 800-square-mile national park and American treasure; pick up a park map; have your questions answered by a ranger; purchase books and guides to the park. Behind the center is a short and easy nature walk to the smallest waterfall in the Smokies, Cataract Falls. This entrance to the park is one of the most popular, leading to favorite attractions like Cades Cove, Newfound Gap and the road to Clingmans Dome, the highest point in the park.
107 Park Headquarters Rd. Gatlinburg, TN
Continue on Parkway through light #10 and into Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Go 1.7 miles on US-441, turn R on Little River Rd. Turn R into parking lot for pt. 13.
More About: Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Over nine million people visit Great Smoky Mountains National Park each year, making it the most visited national park in the country.
Salt & Pepper Museum
What's a road trip without an unusual collection or two? Check out this museum in Winery Square to see more than 20,000 sets of salt and pepper shakers from all over the world; you'll also view the world's largest pepper mill collection. Admission charged.
461 Brookside Village Way Gatlinburg, TN
Exit pt. 13 parking lot, turn L on Little River Rd. Turn L on US-441, go back to Gatlinburg and light #10. Turn L on Ski Mtn. Rd., turn R on River Rd. Go 1 mile back to light at Aquarium (pt. 4). Turn L at light back onto Parkway, move immediately to R la
Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community Trail
This 8-mile loop is more than an arts district; it's a window into an Appalachian artist's way of life. See craftsmen and artisans at work in the 120 shops and studio spaces that dot this drive. From copper, gold and Lucite to leather, painting and pottery, this area features compelling work in a true artistic community. This is a great place to pick up souvenirs, gifts and mementos. A brochure of all the artists is available at points 1 and 4.
461 Brookside Village Way Gatlinburg, TN
Return to E. Parkway, turn R. Go 2.2 miles, turn L on Glades Rd. to begin pt. 15. Pts. 16-19 are highlights along Arts & Crafts Trail.
More About: Appalachian Arts
The people of Appalachia trace their heritage back to close-knit communities isolated from other towns by mountainous terrain. Isolation meant resourcefulness the earliest of the now-famous Appalachian arts and crafts were functional everyday items made by hand and made to last. Quilts, furniture, cookware, textiles, tools, toys and more were created using just the natural materials available nearby. Transportation improved in the early 20th century, giving the communities better access to consumer products and materials. The need for artful self-sufficiency began to fade. Several arts and crafts institutions were founded in the area by philanthropic organizations in order to preserve Appalachian traditions and create a unique kind of industry for the largely poor area Arrowmont School of Arts & Crafts (point 3) is one such place. Once created out of necessity, these objects took on the role of folk art in the mid-century, and in the 1960s became an important part of the Folk Art Movement. Artists from all over the U.S. took an interest in the region's arts culture, creating today's tradition inspired arts.
Potter Robert Alewine trekked to Gatlinburg in the 1970s to try his hand at pottery; his distinctive work has become a local staple. Find a piece for your collection.
623 Glades Rd. Gatlinburg, TN
Continue 1.3 miles on Glades Rd. to pt. 16.
Jim Gray Gallery
Visit this century-old former church for fine art and handmade crafts by this iconic landscape and portrait artist. Behind the gallery is Ogle's Broom Shop, home of a third-generation broom maker offering functional and decorative brooms and hiking sticks. Next door is The Cliff Dwellers, a 1930s cliff-side home to six gallery artists showing and selling works in watercolor, glass, decorative paper, weaving and pottery. Next to Jim Gray, find beautiful wood items at Ownby's Woodcraft.
670 Glades Rd. Gatlinburg
Ogle's Broom Shop
670 Glades Rd. Gatlinburg
The Cliff Dwellers
668 Glades Rd. Gatlinburg
704 Glades Rd. Gatlinburg
670 Glades Rd. Gatlinburg, TN
Drive 0.2 mile on Glades Rd. to pt. 17.
More About: The Cliff Dwellers
The Cliff Dwellers building was built in downtown Gatlinburg by artist Louis E. Jones; the chalet-style structure served as Jones home, gallery and studio until his retirement. Local artist Jim Gray and his son moved the building here in the 1990s and lovingly restored it for use as a gallery.
Paul Murray Studio & Gallery
This artist captures the everyday lives of the Southern Appalachian mountain culture in gorgeous pencil and painted works.
1003 Glades Rd. Gatlinburg, TN
Drive 0.8 mile on Glades Rd. to pt. 18.
The Wild Plum Tea Room
This Austrian-style tea room is the perfect place to stop for lunch in between galleries. The menu features wine, beer and childrens options. Open Mon.-Sat., March-mid Dec.
555 Buckhorn Rd. Gatlinburg, TN
turn R on Buckhorn Rd. to enjoy more artistic paradise. Pt. 19 is just 0.2 mile ahead. Buckhorn Rd. is the dividing line between Gatlinburg and Pittman Center.
Elegance and period charm mix with grand views of the Smokies at this classic 1938 inn. Stop here to experience one of the largest meditation labyrinths in the U.S., open to people of all faiths and creeds from sunrise to sunset. Evening dining open to public.
2140 Tudor Mountain Rd. Pittman Center, TN
Continue 1 mile on Buckhorn Rd. to pt. 20.
More About: The Wedding Capital of the South
The Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville region is the "Destination Wedding Capital of the South." Vows are exchanged near mountain peaks, under canopies of trees, as well as in scores of wedding chapels.