Smoky Mountains Sunsets: Best Views in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge
One of the most popular reasons for visiting the Smoky Mountains are epic sunsets. There are plenty of places to see them. Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Sevierville and Wears Valley offer scenic view points from popular attractions and remote spots. Want some eye-catching photos? Find the best places to see Smoky Mountains sunsets.
Smoky Mountains Sunsets: Places for Insta-Worthy Views
This 11-mile loop features scenic views anytime of day, but its sunsets can’t be missed. The route is located in Smoky Mountains National Park and represents mountain living dating to the 1800s. While waiting for sunset, visitors drive the one-way road and admire historic buildings. Keep in mind the speed limit is 20 mph, so plan for a leisurely trip. For the best experience, here’s a guide to Cades Cove.
Chimney Tops sits on Newfound Gap Road and suits those looking for a moderate hike. This trail provides access to a summit known for Smoky Mountains sunsets and beautiful foliage – especially in early fall. While watching the sunset, visitors enjoy looking down on the lights of Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg.
If planning to hike Chimney Tops, expect a 1.9-mile hike one way. Bring a flashlight and take caution, as the hike back to the car occurs when it’s dark.
Gatlinburg Space Needle
Gatlinburg Space Needle offers a scenic viewpoint at a whopping 407 feet over the city. This attraction stays busy, so expect a crowd because everyone loves 360-degree unobstructed views. Those visiting the space needle should prepare to pay an admission fee, which costs $8 to under $15, depending on the ticket.
Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail
Known for waterfalls, Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail also ranks among the best places for Smoky Mountains sunsets. The route offers a scenic one-way 6-mile loop that twists and turns through the mountains. Those who prefer to stay awhile should hike the nature trail, and bring a picnic lunch and plenty of water.
As the highest point in the park and Tennessee, Clingmans Dome ranks among the best Smoky Mountains sunset spots. Visitors have access to an observation tower on the summit, which provides 360-degree views for 20 to 100 miles. Guest should note Clingmans Dome sits at over 6,600 feet and requires a short, moderate to difficult hike.
Due to steepness and regulations, Clingmans Dome does not cater to wheelchairs or allow bikes or pets on the paved trail. Don’t forget to bring a flashlight.
Located off Highway 441, Morton Overlook features sunset views set against the mountains. Just head east on East Parkway to 441, and watch for signs after about 15 miles. Morton Overlook isn’t a secret, so leave early and plan for peak tourism seasons. Parking and view spots fill up quick, and experts recommend arriving at least an hour before sunset time.
Vacation Rental Homes
While all of these spots provide photo-worthy views, sometimes there’s no place like home. Hundreds of vacation homes in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg offer stunning sunset views from private and remote locations.
Visitors select from condos, cabins and mountain homes in all sizes. Couples may prefer to watch the sunset from a private patio. Large groups and families enjoy sitting in rocking chairs on outdoor porches. Or reserve a rental that has a hot tub and let stress melt way. There’s no wrong way to watch a sunset in the Smokies.