Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Cades Cove Self-Driving Bundle Tours

6 Ratings
  • Audio Guide
  • Instant Confirmation
  • Day Trip
  • Private Tour
  • E-Ticket

Purchase only one tour per vehicle, not per person. Everyone listens together! Get the full Smoky Mountain experience with this ultimate bundle tour! Explore these picturesque mountains, uncover the rich history of the Cherokee and early settlers, and find out why this is the most-visited national park in the entire country. You’ll discover beautiful overlooks, hiking trails, and waterfalls on one tour, then dive into the pioneer and Civil War history of Cades Cove with the next! If you don’t want to miss a thing, this is the deal for you. Within 30 min, we'll send you two things: a unique password and the app. Download the app onto your phone and enter the password. Then download the tour inside. When you arrive, go to the designated starting location to start the tour. Stick to the tour route & speed limit for the best experience. No expiration — The tour comes with lifetime validity! This isn't an entrance ticket. Check pandemic rules and opening hours before your visit.

Itinerary Details

This is a typical itinerary for this product

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Our drive through the beautiful, majestic Smoky Mountains begins at the Oconaluftee Visitor Center. Get ready to explore the Smokies and discover why this is the most visited National Park in the country! Buckle up and prepare for a deep dive into the most famous stretch of the Appalachians, from the history and legends of the Cherokee in the area to the awe-inspiring Rainbow Falls.

Duration: 10 minutes

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Our first stop is at the Mingus Mill, an 1886 grist mill which, believe it or not, is still fully functional! If you're here on weekends, you can even see the mill operators grind corn just like they did back in the 1800s. As we continue, we'll be introduced to the Cherokee, who lived here long before anyone else. We'll hear their history and their legends, from the buzzard who shaped the Smoky Mountains to the witch whose blood blooms into stalks of corn! Then we'll get down and dirty and hear about the geology of this fascinating landscape.

Duration: 10 minutes

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As we drive, we'll come to the Beech Flats Quiet Walkway, a perfect spot for anyone who wants to soak up the natural beauty of the mountains without having to hike an arduous trail.

Duration: 10 minutes

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Next, we'll arrive at Clingman's Dome Tower, an astonishing observation tower offering unparalleled views. You really haven't seen the Great Smoky Mountains until you've seen them from up here! Then, we'll hear about how this massive park got its funding, and what all that has to do with the famous Rockefeller family.

Duration: 10 minutes

Stop At: Newfound Gap Road

Our drive continues to Newfound Gap, a stunning mountain pass with huge historical significance. Hear the story of how trappers, farmers, and merchants used to cross the Smokies, and how this gap changed all of that.

Duration: 10 minutes

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Up next is the Rockefeller Memorial, in case you were still wondering about Rockefeller's importance to the park! This memorial was dedicated by President Theodore Roosevelt himself.

Duration: 10 minutes

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Keep driving until you reach Morton Overlook, most popular for its unbelievable sunset views.

Duration: 10 minutes

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We'll arrive next at the Alum Cave Trail. Explore the remains of an old salt mine and learn the history behind the mine, its importance during the Civil War, and why it's empty today.

Duration: 10 minutes

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Continue driving to Chimney Tops Overlook, where we'll hear all about wildfires in the Smokies, and how they cause lasting damage to mountains like this one. Then, we'll dive into the history of Cades Cove, the 4,000 acre meadow between mountains that was once home to hundreds of people.

Duration: 10 minutes

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The next overlook on our route is right by the roadside, and offers panoramic views of towering mountains and lush forests. Here, we'll pick up some fast facts about the flora of the Smokies.

Duration: 10 minutes

Stop At: Sugarlands Visitors Center

The road leads us next to the Sugarlands Visitor Center, a perfect rest stop and the site of a few trailheads.

Duration: 10 minutes

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Our drive continues to Cataract Falls, a beautiful, secluded set of waterfalls tucked beneath a shaded canopy of beech trees.

Duration: 10 minutes

Stop At: Ripley's Believe It or Not! Gatlinburg

Our next stop is perfect for anyone amused by kitschy oddities. This funky museum displays everything from shrunken human heads to rare animal skeletons. We'll get the inside scoop on how it started as a simple one-panel comic strip and grew into a national phenomenon.

Duration: 10 minutes

Stop At: Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail

Continue following the road to the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. This driving trail invites you to slow down and enjoy the forest and historic buildings of the area. It also features three of the park's most famous waterfalls!

Duration: 10 minutes

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Our route takes us next to the Rainbow Falls Trail, which leads to the park's most popular waterfall. Standing at 80 feet, Rainbow Falls is the tallest waterfall in the Smokies, but that's not all! When the sun hits it right, it glimmers like a rainbow--hence the name.

Duration: 10 minutes

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Keep driving until you reach the Grotto Falls trail. While it's not quite as grand as Rainbow Falls, this secluded, less crowded waterfall is absolutely worth a visit. On your way, hear about a rare salamander you can only find right here!

Duration: 10 minutes

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Our drive takes us next to the Baskin Creek Falls, a sparkling waterfall where we'll hear about the amusing, and slightly misguided history behind the name of these falls.

Duration: 10 minutes

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Up next, we'll pass the Ephraim Bales Cabin, a portal back in time to the 19th century. We'll hear all about the family that lived here, and why there's a big hole in the middle of their cabin!

Duration: 10 minutes

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The road brings us next to the Reagen Cabin, which displays a perfect example of old-timey technology in the form of the so-called "tub mill." Hear all about what that is and why it was useful here.

Duration: 10 minutes

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Next, our drive takes us to Ely's Mill, a historic mill on the outskirts of Gatlinburg which gives us another window into the lives of the early Appalachian settlers. Here, we'll learn about Andrew Ely, the bigshot lawyer who upended his entire life after his wife died, abandoned his law practice, and moved to Gatlinburg to start over and live a simpler life.

Duration: 10 minutes

Stop At: Gatlinburg

Finally, we'll arrive in the mountian town of Gatlinburg, we'll hear how it all began with the unfortunate, ill-fated William Ogle, who built the town's very first cabin but never got to live there. Then we'll hear about how the town grew, the struggle that consumed it during the Civil War, and how it became what it is today. This is where our tour officially concludes.

Duration: 10 minutes

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The Cades Cove Methodist Church, which was initially established in the 1820s, initially met in a simple log structure with a small fire pit and dirt floor. In 1902, the current building was constructed in 115 days at a cost of $115 by the carpenter and pastor John D. Campbell. The cemetery behind the church has over 100 graves and is the second oldest in the Cove

Duration: 10 minutes

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Due to a conflict and resulting division at the Primitive Baptist Church, the Missionary Baptist Church was formed in 1841. Even though the congregants had no church building to meet at, the group of original members alternated meeting at each others’ homes.

Duration: 10 minutes

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Elijah, who was the son of John and Lucretia Oliver, was born in the original Cades Cove cabin in 1824. Prior to the beginning of the Civil War, Elijah Oliver and his family moved away from Cades Cove. However, in 1865 he returned to Cades Cove and built a homestead here. The Elijah Oliver Place, which is a pioneering complex complete with several buildings, is a brief one-mile (roundtrip) walk from Cades Cove Loop Road. The main cabin was constructed out of hewn logs stacked on top of a stone foundation. Part of the cabin was built over a trickling spring, which provided refrigeration for eggs, butter, milk, and other foods.

Duration: 10 minutes

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The Abrams Falls Trail is an American hiking trail, in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park of Blount County, Tennessee. The trail runs parallel to Abrams Creek and passes Abrams Falls, one of the most voluminous waterfalls in the national park, before terminating at a junction with the Hatcher and Hannah Mountain trails.

Duration: 10 minutes

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The Cable Mill which was built by John Cable in 1867, is one of the most popular landmarks in Cades Cove. In the late 1800s, this mill provided homesteads with a place to turn corn or wheat into flour for making bread. In addition to converting grains into flour, the mill was used to mill lumber. In fact, the farmhouse a brief walk away was made out of lumber cut on this very mill. During this time period, the barter system was oftentimes used to purchase goods and services. The individuals who owned the mill would typically charge customers a percentage of the ground items. For example, the miller would take one-sixth of any wheat ground and one-eight of your corn.

Duration: 10 minutes

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The Tipton Place homestead was initially settled by Revolutionary War Veteran William “Fighting Billy” Tipton in the 1820s. He was able to procure the land under the Tennessee Land Grant program. The two-story cabin that remains on the property was initially constructed by Fighting Billy’s relative and Civil War Veteran Colonel Hamp Tipton. He built the large cabin in the early 1870s.

Duration: 10 minutes

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The Carter Shields Cabin is the last historical structure you can visit on the eleven-mile, one-way scenic loop through Cades Cove. This tiny cabin was the home of George Washington “Carter” Shields from 1910 to 1921 but was likely built much earlier, around 1880 by William Sparks. Carter Shields, a veteran of the Civil War, was disabled in 1862 at the Battle of Shiloh and retired here. This simple, one-bedroom cabin is the only building remaining on the property. The rustic structure sits in a beautiful clearing and has a covered porch and a small loft.

Duration: 10 minutes
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