People from all over the world travel to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to see the beauty of the area. Some of the most popular ways to spend time in the park are to go hiking, take a scenic drive, and have a picnic! There are several picnic areas in the park you can visit, or you can pack a meal and take it anywhere. If you want to enjoy one of the designated spots, check out these top 6 Smoky Mountain picnic areas you should visit:
1. Cades Cove
One of the most popular picnic areas in the Smokies is in Cades Cove. The picnic area is on the left before you enter the 11-mile Loop. This area is open throughout the year, but from April 30 to Aug 31, the picnic area closes at 8 pm. The rest of the year it closes at sunset. There are 81 sites with picnic tables and charcoal grills you are allowed to use, as long as you bring your own supplies. A creek runs alongside the picnic area, so kids can play in the water and explore. Plus, there are public restrooms you can use!
2. Metcalf Bottoms
Another Smoky Mountain picnic area you should visit is Metcalf Bottoms. This area is one of the largest with 122 sites that include picnic tables and charcoal grills. The Little Pigeon River runs alongside the picnic area, and it’s fun to play in the water and look for wildlife. There are a few hiking trails that are right beside the picnic area, and you will find public restrooms here too. Metcalf Bottoms is open year round for picnics.
3. Look Rock
If you want to enjoy scenic views, you should picnic at Look Rock. This picnic area is off of Foothills Parkway, a popular road where people drive to see views of the mountains. This area is open from the end of April to the end of October, and you are allowed to use the area from dawn until dusk. Look Rock has 51 picnic sites, and they are surrounded by woods, with a view boasting mountain views. Look Rock also has public restrooms and a short hike to a beautiful lookout.
Want to have a picnic on the quieter side of the Smokies? Cosby has a great picnic area with 35 sites. This area is open from mid April to the end of October. It is secluded and surrounded by poplar trees, making it a great place to enjoy being outside. The Cosby picnic area is located just before the entrance to the Cosby campground. There are public restrooms at this Smoky Mountain picnic area.
The Chimneys picnic area has 68 sites and is right next to the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River. The sites at Chimneys come with a picnic table and charcoal grills. There are public restrooms at this site, and they are located along the lower and upper loops. You can visit this picnic area from April to the end of November. It closes at 8 pm from April to August and at sunset during the rest of the season.
Although Greenbrier picnic area is the smallest on our list with 12 sites, it’s worth exploring! This picnic area is open year round, and there are bathrooms at this site. The picnic tables are surrounded by woods, and you’ll find hiking trails and a creek nearby to explore!
These Smoky Mountain picnic areas are great places to bring a meal and enjoy being with the people you love. You won’t want to miss out on exploring the Great Smoky Mountains, but there are plenty of other fun things to do when you stay with us too! Check out these other Smoky Mountain attractions to try on your next trip!