Are you more of an early bird gets the worm kind of person? Sometimes when traveling, being an early riser actually works to your advantage. Getting to beat the crowds in the Smokies and being able to see all the beautiful sites is a win/win for us. It definitely makes waking up early a special reward in the end, especially when you get to see the sun beginning to rise. Our majestic mountains are magical on their own, but add the sun beginning to rise or set and you have a whole new level of enchantment. Trust us when we say, when you see it for yourself, it will take your breath away. If you’ve never visited us before, I’m sure you’re wondering where you should go to see the sun come up. We know there are numerous destinations you can pick, so we’ll help you narrow it down to make sure you’re getting to see those views in all their glory. Here are a few of the Best Places to See a Smokies Sunrise!
This is one of the most popular overlooks in the Great Smoky Mountains and it’s for good reason. When visiting this special destination, you are located over 5,000 feet above sea level, and the views you get to see are absolutely stunning. You also get two views for one here because you can see both Gatlinburg and North Carolina. You can only imagine how magical getting to see a sunrise at this location can be. It’s different every time you visit, that’s what makes mother nature to special. Getting to see it on a cloudy morning is actually one of the best experiences! Morton Overlook is located right along 441/Newfound Gap Road towards Cherokee, NC. Make sure to arrive early to beat the crowds.
While getting to see the best views here does require a little hike, when you see the panoramic sites, you know it was worth it in the end. Located right along the beautiful Foothills Parkway, Look Rock is actually the highest point along said parkway. A simple half mile walk leads you to the big observation tower where you’ll be able to see stunning 360 degree views of our rolling hills. This is also a quieter area of the park so you might be able to escape some of the crowds that you’d run into at other places. Seeing the sunrise here might just be your top favorite moment of your trip.
Located just past Morton Overlook and about 30 minutes from Gatlinburg, Newfound Gap offers another excellent spot to view the sunrise. Something special about this location is that it’s actually the lowest drivable pass through the Smoky Mountains, so you’ll definitely want to check it out. There is also plenty of parking, so finding a spot usually isn’t too difficult. Not only do you get to see a beautiful sunrise, but the sunsets here are magnificent too. You’ll love being able to snap some excellent photos of the early morning colors to take home with you.
Oconaluftee Valley Overlook
When traveling from the Southern entrance, near Cherokee, of the Blue Ridge Parkway, this is the first overlook you will come across and one that is worth checking out. It is one of the absolute Best Places to See a Smokies Sunrise. While it is a relatively small overlook, it’s one that doesn’t get crowded very often, making it more desirable if you’re wanting to really get to see the views. It faces east and is only ½ mile from Newfound Gap, so you can imagine the beauty you’ll get to see here.
You’ve probably heard of this place before. It is the highest point found in Tennessee and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, making it one of the most popular places to visit in the area. The observation tower here offers spectacular 360 degree panoramic views of the mountains and the sunrise you’ll get to see will be uninterrupted and absolutely breathtaking. If it’s a clear day, you could look out for over 100 miles. Even with a more cloudy day, you can still see for over 20 miles. If you want to go to the actual top of the tower, it does require a climb to the quite steep half mile walk, but the scenery makes up for it when you get to see the beautiful colors dancing across the sky. There are also pullouts featuring scenic views all along the seven miles to the ending of Clingmans Dome that you can also enjoy while you’re here.
This 11 mile loop is one of the best places to visit no matter what time of day it is, but seeing the sunrise while driving through is extra special. You may even get to watch it with some different species of animals (bears, deer, and more!) You’ll love getting to see the sunrise over the valley and our rolling hills and this is just the place to see it. There are numerous places that you can pull over at. It’s also worth it to get here early to see the scenery because it is one way and once traffic builds up throughout the day, it could take a few hours to get out.
We hope that you enjoyed reading about some of the Best Places to See a Smokies Sunrise! It is truly one of the most beautiful settings to see and it’s one you’re sure to never forget once you get to witness it for the first time. While there are plenty of other excellent places to view it, these are some of our top favorites that we’ve seen and heard from guests over the years. When you stay at Bear Crossing, you’re located right in the middle of town, giving you easy access to check out all of these spots. Book your perfect vacation rental online or give us a call at 1.866.453.9696 and one of our friendly reservationists would love to assist you with finding the best condo for your stay. Come and join our family, we would love to have you. If you have any other suggestions on some of the Best Places to See a Smokies Sunrise, leave them in the comments below as we would love to hear your feedback!