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  /  Blog  /  Smoky Mountains   /  Rich Mountain Road: The Most Underrated Scenic Drive in the Smokies
directly in front of little white church called Primitive Baptist Church in Cades Cove

Rich Mountain Road: The Most Underrated Scenic Drive in the Smokies

How would you like to experience a lesser known road in the Smoky Mountains? There are so many scenic drives to try on your Smoky Mountain vacation! Most of the scenic drives get very crowded, especially during peak seasons. Rich Mountain Road is an underrated scenic drive from Cades Cove that is well worth it! Here are all the details about Rich Mountain Road, the most underrated scenic drive in the Smokies:

Where is Rich Mountain Road?

scenic overlook at Rich Mountain Road looking at Cades Cove churchRich Mountain Road is a gravel road that you can find just off the Cades Cove Scenic Loop and across from the Cades Cove Missionary Baptist Church in the Smoky Mountains. Just like the Cades Cove Scenic Loop, the Rich Mountain Road is a one way road. This gorgeous scenic drive is around 7 miles and will take you from Cades Cove to Tuckaleechee Cove and Townsend. It will take you around 1 hour to complete the drive in the mountains. 

What Will I See Along the Scenic Road?

This unique road was built in the 1920s and is great for photo opportunities and nature enthusiasts! Do you love wildlife? You might be able to see all types of wildlife including black bears, turkeys, deer, and more along the drive! The scenic road winds up Rich Mountain and passes by gorgeous waterfalls, cliffs, and streams. One fun place to stop along the drive is the scenic overlook. Once you get to the scenic overlook, you’ll be able to see into the Cades Cove valley and spot the Primitive Baptist Church below. The road ends in the charming town of Townsend. Stretch your legs and explore this town before getting back on the road. 

When Does Rich Mountain Road Open?

cades cove loop roadRich Mountain Road is a seasonal scenic road in the Smokies. This means there are set times during the year the road becomes accessible to the public. Due to the steepness and winding path, Rich Mountain Road is closed during the winter months for safety reasons. During early April the road reopens and stays open till mid November. Because this road is only open for a set amount of time during the year, it makes it even more special. Keep in mind the road could be closed during normal operating hours if there is heavy rain. Reach out to a Great Smoky Mountains National Park ranger to inquire about road conditions. 

What Are The Restrictions?

You might be wondering if there are any vehicle restrictions on Rich Mountain Road. The road tends to be steep, narrow, and windy which would make it difficult to drive a large vehicle on the path. RVs, busses, and trailers are not allowed on this Smoky Mountain scenic road. Also, keep in mind that the gates close at dark. You will need to be out of the park beforehand.

Now that you know all about Rich Mountain Road, take a look at the top 5 scenic drives in the Smoky Mountains. Have a great time experiencing all the beautiful scenery in the Smoky Mountains!