December 11, 2015

The Smokies: The Road Less Traveled, Foothills Parkway

Townsend, TN

On one of “resting days” between our hikes, Steve and I came across this 17 mile long section of Parkway that follows the backbone of the Chilhowee Mountain. The road, called the Foothills Parkway, is between Chilhowee Lake and the town of Townsend. Little did we know how peaceful and beautiful this drive would be.

It doesn’t have the river views that Little River Road has or the mountainous peaks like Newfound Gap has, but there were some beautiful Autumn color spots that overlooked mountains and valleys. There are several pull-offs along the route that really allow you to take in the view. And best of all, we had some of these places to ourselves. The Foothills Parkway is stunning and lacks the heavy crowds of the Great Smoky Mountains, just a couple of miles away.

Look Rock

Look Rock

One of the stops along the Parkway is the Look Rock Observation Tower. At the end of a short, 1/2 mile paved (up hill) hike, this tower rewards you with an AMAZING 360-degree panoramic view of the surrounding mountains. The view from the eastern side of the tower includes Gregory Bald, Thunderhead, and Clingmans Dome in the Smoky Mountains. The western view shows the Tennessee Valley.

The tower also functions as an Air Quality monitoring site and hosts radio repeaters.

View from Look Rock

To see the Live View from the tower, visit National Park Service’s website.

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