Lakeside Of The Smokies is an off-the-beaten-path adventure! Experience scenic Tennessee on a guided drive through the historic downtowns of Sevierville and Dandridge, Tennessee! Dandridge, the second oldest town in Tennessee, was founded in 1783 and named after Martha Dandridge Washington, the First U.S. First Lady.
Smoky Mountains Views and Valleys
See the amazing views along the 441!
Wildlife Disclaimer: It’s always exciting to see wild animals in their natural settings, but they are wild and always on the move in search of food, shelter and are not always visible! So being in the right place at the right time can yield some great moments, while other times yield nothing at all, please keep in mind that this is a wild and natural place that we visitors truly have no control over!
- Child Ages 6-17
- Adult Ages 18+
- Military Must provide valid military ID at time of tour. Receives 10% discount.
- Photography 101 Add-on Per person
Enjoy the Smoky Mountains Views and Valleys with a Guided Scenic Drive Along the 441 TN!
Guided interpretive scenic drive along the 441 – Newfound Gap Road photos at Chimney Tops, Newfound Gap! Then a stop at the Oconaluftee Visitor Center, a short fully equipped interpretative nature walk along the Oconaluftee River Trail, wildlife viewing from a safe viewing distance of 50 yards or greater, free time at the visitors center for browsing and bathrooms, a short Cherokee shopping, tour duration 5 hours. Round trip service from Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, Sevierville to Cherokee and back to your hotel, accommodation or point of pickup!
- Round trip transportation, from hotel/accommodation or point of pickup.
- Scenic drive through Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee and North Carolina sides of the park.
- Photo opportunities at, Chimney Tops pullout, Newfound Gap Road pullout, Oconaluftee River Trail and Farm Museum, town of Cherokee, North Carolina and the Gatlinburg Bypass overlook.
- Guided interpretive nature walk, fully equipped.
- Opportunities for wildlife viewing.
- Mountain vistas, see and hear rivers and streams, encounter historical structures.
- Learn about history, culture, flora and fauna of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park via interpretive guides.
Our first scenic pullout will offer spectacular views of the eastern slope of Chimney Tops, a double-capstone knob at an elevation of 4,724 feet! Here we will exit the van and learn about this truly ancient mountain range and how over the last 540 million years it has taken shape. Enjoy great photo opportunities as we take in the sights and sound of this natural wonder! After a short 15 minutes, and it’s all aboard as we continue our climb toward the lowest traversable pass Newfound Gap at 5,048 feet above sea level, we will pass over and start our descent into North Carolina as we head toward our second stop at Oconaluftee Visitor Center.
Our second stop is a true adventure into the historical past of the people who carved out a life in the Smokies. We will enjoy a nature walk through the Oconaluftee River Trail and the Mountain Farm Museum! Once parked at Oconaluftee Visitor Center, we will exit the van and “Gear Up”! Your guide will gather you at the back of the van and offer you the use of lightweight backpack, botanical insect repellant, binoculars, cold water and a light snack! After a short safety briefing it’s time to start our nature walk into the past! We will enjoy the rushing waters of the Oconaluftee River, see, hear and learn about its aquatic life. Then enter into an open air museum of historical structures that have been relocated from their original locations throughout the park to create a walk into the 1900’s as we stroll along a homestead, barn, blacksmith shop, farmhouse, apple house, hen house and a springhouse! During our nature walk, your guide will share knowledge of the areas historical and natural wonders, while keeping our eyes open for the opportunity to view the parks largest mammal the Elk! Being well equipped, we will be able to scan the large fields looking to view the Elk in their natural movements, always feeling like we are right in the action, but keeping that safe viewing distance of 50 yards or greater, making sure to “observe and not disturb”! The relaxed nature walk will cover about a mile round trip and is fully guided! During our stop we will have the opportunity to browse the Oconalufftee Visitor Center and utilize bathrooms. All Aboard, and underway as we head into Cherokee for a short shopping window or a scenic drive through this beautiful mountain town seated along the Oconaluftee River, flexible routing and stops are available!
With Cherokee in the rear view mirror, we will scan the forests and fields for wildlife, as we start our return over the mountain! If a viewing opportunity arises we will stop using the proper pullouts and put our binoculars to work, while viewing, your guide will offer knowledge of the events unfolding! The return ride is full of natural wonders and is very scenic!
Our third stop will be as we crest the mountain at Newfound Gap, here we will park and exit the van! This stop offers spectacular views and photo opportunities, see and learn about the Rockefeller Memorial, the site from where former U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt formally dedicated the park on September 2, 1940. After 15 to 20 minutes, its time to load up and start our return as we enjoy natures show along the winding mountain road!
Our fourth and final stop is just before exiting the park at a pullout that offers vistas of Mount LeConte, standing at 6,593 feet, and the beautiful mountain town of Gatlinburg! This scenic stop allows for great photo opportunities, as we exit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park via the Gatlinburg Bypass in route back to your hotel or point of
Best time to view the rut is late September through October.
Elk were hunted to extinction in the area by the mid-1800s, but a successful 2001 reintroduction project brought them back to the park. Now, the population numbers as many as 200 elk.
What happened to the endemic Elk of the Smokies? Eastern elk inhabited the vast forests of the Eastern Woodlands region as far as the Mississippi River. As early settlers continued to move into the region over the next few centuries, elk populations were depleted due to over-hunting and the loss of their dense woodland habitat.
Native American tribes hold the elk, wapiti (Shawnee and Cree) or Heȟáka (Lakota), in high esteem and consider him a relative, a relative who brings strength, endurance, and patience.
Did you know that a 12 point Elk is called a Royal? A 12 point bull elk, referred to as a Royal, put on dazzling shows during the fall rut. Bull elk of this size and points are typically 9.5 to 12.5 years in age and are commonly seen in Evergreen during the Fall.
Reintroduction of Elk to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
A small number of elk were reintroduced to the park in 2001 as part of a trial to see if the animals could thrive again in the mountains, 22 years later, that reintroduction has been successful and the Manitoban Elk can been seen in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park once again!
You’ll have the option to select this add-on once you choose your date, time, and number of guests.
Always wanted to capture that perfect sunrise, sunset or wildlife portrait? Local photographer Robin Greenlee of Wonderful Blessing Photography offers a full equipped, photography adventure while in Cades Cove. Let her vast knowledge and passion for capturing the perfect image be your guide as we travel through the 11 mile Cades Cove Loop Road, enjoy learning not only about how to capture that perfect photo, but what is taking place through the lens, no matter the image, wildlife, historical structures, mountain vista, sunrise, sunset you will surely take home more than that perfect photo as our team shares intimate knowledge of what is unfolding through the lens. Local guide and expert photographer rides along as we enjoy our scenic drive through Cades Cove, searching out that perfect setting to capture your wishlist photo, photos, don’t miss the chance to become inspired as you learn the technics, ethics and steps to becoming an outdoor photographer!
Ask about seasonal routes and other locations within the Great Smokey Mountains National Park that are of interest to you and your photography wishlist!