Hi there!

 

There are a number of scenic drives in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and a drive along Little River Road is one of them!

If you want to keep it simple, driving Little River Road can simply be about the journey!

You don’t need to make any stops, and you can simply sit back and enjoy the scenery around you as you drive!

Or, if you want an excuse to get out of the car and stretch your legs, there are a number of small stops you can make here and there.

 

Little River Road. scenic drive near gatlinburg tn, near townsend tn, in great smoky mountains national park. tn smoky mountains travel blog

Little River Road. scenic drive near gatlinburg tn, near townsend tn, in great smoky mountains national park. tn smoky mountains travel blog

Little River Road. scenic drive near gatlinburg tn, near townsend tn, in great smoky mountains national park. tn smoky mountains travel blog

Little River Road. scenic drive near gatlinburg tn, near townsend tn, in great smoky mountains national park. tn smoky mountains travel blog

 

You can also make a stop if you want to sit and enjoy the sounds of the river. There are people who bring along chairs to sit by the river. Maybe you want to bring a picnic lunch to eat by the river.

As you are driving, you can look along the side of the road for small parking spots and see if there’s some river access along the way. This might not always be obvious and you might need to look a little harder for it.

 

Little River Road parking. tn smoky mountains travel blog

Little River Road parking. tn smoky mountains travel blog

Little River Road parking. tn smoky mountains travel blog

 

And do take care if you decide to wade in the water! There could be some unexpected currents in the river.

 

Little River Road. tn smoky mountains travel blog

Little River Road. tn smoky mountains travel blog

Little River Road. tn smoky mountains travel blog

Little River Road. tn smoky mountains travel blog

 

Below is a list of stops you can make along the way as you drive Little River Road. On google maps, you may see this as Little River Gorge Road, and this is the same thing.

This includes some small roadside waterfalls on Little River Road. These aren’t the most dramatic waterfalls you can find in the Smoky Mountains, but rather they can be cute little waterfalls to see along the river.

These are easy-access waterfalls in the Smoky Mountains, as pretty much all you need to do is get of the car and you will be able to spot them! The waterfalls on the list below are on google maps so you can follow along there with GPS.

If you are interested in the small waterfalls, there’s no marking or sign (or wasn’t when I went in fall 2020) on Little River Road for them so it’s a good idea to download offline google maps before you go since you probably won’t have data driving through here. GPS will still generally work.

 

More below of what you can see along Little River in the Smoky Mountains!

 

 

⛰🐻

 

 

 

Now…

What can you see while driving along Little River Road?

This will generally go in the order you can make the stops if you are driving from Gatlinburg to Cades Cove by taking the scenic route aka Little River Road!

If you’re coming from Gatlinburg, before getting to Little River Road you can find the Sugarlands Visitor Center.

From the Sugarlands Visitor Center, you’ll get on the road that goes west, also called Fighting Creek Gap Road.

Along Fighting Creek Gap Road you’ll find most notably Maloney Point, the Laurel Falls trailhead, and the road to Elkmont Campground.

And then…

You’ll start driving on Little River Road!

 

1. Mannis Branch Falls

Little River Road waterfalls in the Smoky Mountains: mannis branch falls. smokies travel blog

 

These are small waterfalls you can see that are flowing into the river. You can pull over and see them from the road once you get out of the car.

 

Little River Road waterfalls in the Smoky Mountains: mannis branch falls. smokies travel blog

 

 

2. Metcalf Bottoms picnic area

Little River Road picnic area in the Smoky Mountains: metcalf bottoms picnic area along the river. smokies travel blog

 

The Metcalf Bottoms picnic area is a spot where you can eat right along the river.

 

 

3. The Sinks

Little River Road waterfalls in the Smoky Mountains: the sinks. smokies travel blog

 

These are popular waterfalls along Little River Road.

 

Little River Road waterfalls in the Smoky Mountains: the sinks. smokies travel blog

 

There is a small parking area at the Sinks that might be full.

 

 

4. Meigs Falls

Little River Road waterfalls in the Smoky Mountains: meigs falls. smokies travel blog

 

These are more waterfalls that you can see from the side of the road across the river. There’s a pullover area right in front of Meigs Falls.

 

Little River Road waterfalls in the Smoky Mountains: meigs falls. smokies travel blog

 

 

5. Cane Creek Twin Falls

Little River Road waterfalls in the Smoky Mountains: cane creek twin falls. smokies travel blog

 

More small waterfalls that you can see flowing into the river from the side of the road are the Cane Creek Twin Falls.

 

Little River Road waterfalls in the Smoky Mountains: cane creek twin falls. smokies travel blog

 

 

6. White Oak Flats Falls

Little River Road waterfalls in the Smoky Mountains: white oak flats falls. smokies travel blog

 

These are some more small waterfalls on the side of Little River Road.

 

 

And then you’ll make it to the Townsend Wye!

Little River Road in the Smoky Mountains: townsend wye, river access. smokies travel blog

 

This can be a nice little river access spot, and it can also make for a nice spot for a picnic by the river. If you want to wade in the water, it’s best to either have travel sandals or water shoes!

This is also the area where you can access Little River Road from Townsend TN. Or if you’re going in the opposite direction, you can leave the national park and drive into Townsend.

 

Little River Road in the Smoky Mountains: townsend wye, river access. smokies travel blog

Little River Road in the Smoky Mountains: townsend wye, river access. smokies travel blog

 

If you are starting in Gatlinburg to drive Little River Road, then driving further will take you to Cades Cove!

 

Little River Road to Townsend TN. Little River Road to Cades Cove. scenic drive in great smoky mountains national park. smoky mountains travel blog

Little River Road to Townsend TN. Little River Road to Cades Cove. scenic drive in great smoky mountains national park. smoky mountains travel blog

 

And that’s a bit of how you can spend your time along Little River Road!

 

Scenic drives around the Smoky Mountains:

Plus for more scenic views, be sure to see the best hikes with views in Smoky Mountains!

Plus the big list of things to do in the Smoky Mountains.

 

HAPPY DRIVING ALONG LITTLE RIVER ROAD!

 

Little River Road. scenic drive near gatlinburg tn, near townsend tn, in great smoky mountains national park. tn smoky mountains travel blog

 

 

There are affiliate links on this page. As an Amazon Associate, I may earn a commission from this.

Best shoes for hiking in the Smoky Mountains

You will want good shoes for hiking in the Smoky Mountains.

In general, the best shoes for hiking in the Smoky Mountains will be hiking boots (more ideal) or trail running shoes (more versatile for everyday activities compared to hiking boots but still will give you advantages compared to regular shoes).

I liked wearing my hiking boots for the thicker soles (good on rocky trails) and the waterproof (water resistant) nature of them.

They were especially helpful on rainy day hikes to keep my shoes (and socks!) dry! They are also better to be walking on mud compared to regular shoes.

On rougher terrain (like the trails that are a bit rougher with more rocks), hiking boots are more ideal so you won't feel it on the bottoms of your feet as much.

If you want shoes that can work out better as everyday "out and about" kind of shoes, then you might like trail running shoes better! Trail running shoes are a little more durable than regular shoes, so they can also work out as good hiking shoes. Trail running shoes are a bit lighter weight and less bulky compared to hiking boots.

Shoe fit is very important for your feet! Be sure to break in your new shoes by walking around the neighborhood and/or at the grocery store before you go on your "big hike" in the Smoky Mountains!

Shop for hiking boots: Merrell is popular and known as a good quality outdoor shoe brand for hiking

Shop for trail running shoes: Salomon is popular and known as a good quality outdoor shoe brand for trail running