3 Motor Nature Trails in the Smoky Mountains to Visit

September 01, 2022

Not everyone likes to hike, but they still want to enjoy the beauty that nature has to offer. That’s why we are sharing 3 motor nature trails in the Smoky Mountains that are perfect to explore! Each offer beautiful and unique views of the Smoky Mountains all that you can experience from the comfort of your car!

1. Cades Cove

Cades Cove may be the most popular destination inside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. After one visit, you’ll quickly find out why! The 11-mile loop you travel around showcases some of the best views the Smokies have to offer! Not only will you see the beautiful mountains, but you will often see wildlife like deer and bears! It gets better though! While going around the loop you’ll be immersed in rich Appalachian history. There are rustic cabins, churches, barns, and more to explore! Cades Cove is one of the best motor nature trails in the Smoky Mountains to see!

2. Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail

The Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail is one of the easiest places to get to if you are in Gatlinburg! At traffic light #8 in Gatlinburg follow Historic Nature Trail all the way up the road and you will find yourself in the national park and heading straight for Roaring Fork. The Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail got its name from the river it follows, Roaring Fork. If you visit the trail after a few days of rain you will quickly learn why the river got its name! This motor nature trail in the Smoky Mountains is 5.5 miles long. Along the way, you will pass several vista points that offer great views of the mountains. You will also pass the trailheads for both Rainbow Falls and Grotto Falls! Two excellent hikes to try if you have the time! As you travel down the rest of the road you get to see old forest growth, the Place of a Thousand Drips, and rustic homesteads. If you keep an eye out you may even spot some local wildlife!

3. Greenbrier


Greenbrier is like a special, hidden secret in the Smokies. You have to travel 6 miles out of Gatlinburg, so it’s a closer drive than Cades Cove. In spring, the Greenbrier area is renowned for the beautiful wildflowers that grow here. In summer, the river that flows in Greenbrier is perfect for swimming! This is also a wonderful area to fish, and the Greenbrier Picnic Pavilion is open year round. You can also find the trailheads for Porters Creek and Ramsey Cascades here.

Plug one of the best motor nature trails in the Smoky Mountains into your GPS, and be prepared to see some of the best views of the Smokies and enjoy the history you’ll come across! If you’ve given these motor trails a try, and want to give some walking trails a go we’ve got the perfect list! Take a look some of the easiest hiking trails in the Smoky Mountains that are perfect for light exercise and novice hikers.