A picnic in the mountains is one of the most enjoyable and affordable entertainment options in the Smoky Mountains!
While many visitors throw an old blanket in the car and simply pull over at when they see a beautiful spot, there are distinct advantages to the picnic spots listed below. In addition to being co-located with popular hikes and scenic drives, the picnic areas below have picnic tables, grills, and other facilities. You will LOVE each of the spots below!
Chimney Tops Picnic Area
The Chimney Tops picnic area, which is open between 3/11 and 11/26, has 68 picnic sites and is our favorite picnic spot in the entire Great Smoky Mountains National Park. At this famous picnic spot, the several tables overlooking the river are beautiful and are difficult to procure. Once you finish your meal, consider hiking the challenging Chimney Tops Trail to enjoy a great workout and stunning mountain views.
The Chimney Tops area is located in the National Park about 20 minutes from downtown Gatlinburg.
Greenbrier Picnic Area
The Greenbrier picnic area, which is open year-round, has 12 picnic sites. After you have finished the picnic, go for an easy hike on the Porter’s Creek Trail. This easy hike, which is appropriate for young children, provides beautiful views of a crystal-clear river and some of the best wildflower viewing in the entire National Park (seasonal).
The Greenbrier area is located in the Greenbrier section of the National Park fifteen minutes east of downtown Gatlinburg.
Cades Cove Picnic Area
The Cades Cove picnic area, which is open year-round, has 81 picnic sites. The Cades Cove Scenic Loop is one of the most visited areas in the entire Great Smoky Mountains National Park and a must-do on your vacation itinerary. The Cades Cove picnic area is near the Cades Cove campground on Laurel Creek Road near the entrance to the Scenic Loop. Many of the tables are directly on a scenic creek and all of the tables have a charcoal grill next to them.
Metcalf Bottoms Picnic Area
The Metcalf Bottoms picnic area, which is open year-round, has 122 picnic sites. This picnic area, which is the second largest picnic area in the entire National Park, features level picnic sites and a grill at each site. When you finish your meal, consider a brief hike on the Metcalf Bottoms Trail. This easy 1.2 mile roundtrip hike features old homesites, footbridges, historical cemetery, and a schoolhouse from the 1930s.
Herbert Holt Park Picnic Area
Herbert Holt Park, which is open year-round, has plenty of picnic tables and grills next to the sites. For families with young children, this location is difficult to beat! While Mom and Dad get the BBQ grill going, the kids will love playing on the jungle gym and the playground. There is also a walking trail, public restrooms, trout fishing stream, and even a fishery on site.
The park is located immediately before Traffic Light #1 in Gatlinburg on the right-side (coming from Pigeon Forge) and has plenty of free parking.
Mynatt Park Picnic Area
Mynatt Park, which is open year-round, has 9 picnic tables and grills near the picnic sites. The combination of a playground, ballfields, basketball court, baseball field, tennis courts, riverside setting, fishing stream, and covered pavilion area is sure to make this spot a favorite for the entire family!
The park is located near downtown Gatlinburg in a picturesque, stream-side setting.
Deep Creek Picnic Area
The Deep Creek picnic area, which is open year-round, features a picnic pavilion and ten picnic sites. This beautiful picnic spot is surrounded by mountain streams, wildflowers, and trees. After your meal, why not hike the beautiful Deep Creek Trail? Just a brief 0.7 mile hike down this trail will provide you with a view Tom Branch Falls and the beautiful Indian Creek Falls is nearby as well.
The Deep Creek picnic and recreation area is located approximately three miles from Bryson City, North Carolina.
Twin Creeks Picnic Area
The Twin Creeks picnic area, which is open 4/1 to 10/29, has a picnic pavilion, but no individual picnic sites. This is the largest picnic area in the park and is surrounded by a wooded forest. The Twin Creeks picnic area features a covered picnic pavilion, several charcoal grills, an oversized fireplace, electricity, and restrooms. This picnic area is primarily reserved for large groups and can accommodate up to 150 people. However, if the area is not in use, feel free to use it.
Big Creek Picnic Area
The Big Creek picnic area, which is open 4/14 to 10/29, has ten picnic sites. This area is the smallest picnic area in the National Park, but offers visitors a beautiful and peaceful setting! The Big Creek area of the park is known for its excellent fishing (get your fishing license before fishing!!!), beautiful streams, and good hiking.
Mills Park Picnic Area
Mills Park, which is open year-round, features picnic tables beside a stream and a covered picnic pavilion next to the playground. With a 9-hole disc golf course, basketball court, horseshoe pits, skate park, playground, and more, you may want to spend the whole day here!
The park is located ten minutes east of downtown Gatlinburg near the Rocky Top Sports Complex and the Gatlinburg Community Center.