Cabins USA Logo
Loading Page
(800) 583-6168
Cabins USA Availability Search Icon Availability Search Small Icon

Where To Find Unpaved Gravel Roads in the Smoky Mountains

Blog Home : Category Posts : Scenic Gravel Roads in the Smokies

Looking for unpaved gravel or dirt roads to explore in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park?

Check out this handy guide with the best scenic unpaved roads in the Smokies!

Whether you're just interested in exploring more remote areas of the national park or you want to take your Jeep for an adventure in the mountains, these routes are the perfect way to explore the wilderness of the Smokies from the comfort of your vehicle!

1. Greenbrier Road

The Greenbrier area of the national park is entirely unpaved and the scenic roads inside are around 4 miles in length.

Greenbrier road follows along a beautiful stretch of the Little Pigeon River where there are several spots for fishing and swimming. Once you arrive in Greenbrier, you'll find trailheads for several popular hikes including Ramsey Cascades Trail and Porters Creek Trail, an excellent route for exploring old homesteads in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

2. Forge Creek/Parson Branch Road

Please Note: This gravel road is currently closed to vehicle traffic due to tree hazards. It is open to hikers, horseback riders, and bicyclists. This route is also closed during the winter months.

This 8 mile, the one-way road begins just after the halfway point of the Cades Cove Loop. On the way, you'll cross 18 creeks and see lots of beautiful creek scenery. A vehicle with 4-wheel drive is recommended for safely traveling this route.

Parson branch road ends at US 129, known as the "Tail of the Dragon." This curvy paved route is popular with motorcyclists and it's an excellent way to explore the Fontana Dam area just outside of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

3. Rich Mountain Road

This curvy mountain road also begins from the Cades Cove Loop road.

This 12-mile route features some beautiful scenery and it's rarely traveled. At Cades Cove Missionary Baptist Church, you'll find Rich Mountain Road branching off to the right. This curvy unpaved gravel route makes its way up over a mountain ridge, before descending into the neighboring valley of Townsend.

4. Tremont Road

The upper section of Tremont Road, past the Great Smoky Mountains Institute, turns into a gravel road. This route follows a lovely mountain stream with several waterfalls. This unpaved route is only about 3 miles in length, but the surrounding scenery is exceptionally beautiful.

The road ends at the Middle Prong Trail Trailhead, where you can enjoy an easy waterfall hike. Additionally, you can find the trailhead for Spruce Flats Falls at the Tremont Institue during your visit.

5. Cataloochee Road

Explore historic buildings and get a chance to see wild Elk when you visit the Cataloochee area of the national park. A gravel road winds through this valley that was once the largest settlement in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. On your way, you can enjoy views of 6000' mountains and imagine what life was once like in this isolated community in the mountains.

6. Balsam Mountain/ Heintooga Ridge

This secluded route begins just off of the Blue Ridge Parkway near Cherokee, NC. The Heinatooga-Round Bottom road is around 14 miles in length. It begins at an elevation of 5,535 feet and descends about 2,000 Ft, so it’s a great way to explore the biological diversity of the Smokies. This route is closed during the winter months.

On National Park maps, this gravel road is known as Balsam Mountain Road, but the signage for this route calls it, Heintooga Ridge.

Map of Gravel Roads in the National Park

A Note on Back-road Safety

Please drive safely while exploring these routes. Most gravel roads in the national park are in good condition, but we recommend using caution on these roads. Keep an eye out for other vehicles and wildlife and even the occasional downed tree. Cell signal is often poor in these areas, so it may be a while before you are able to call for assistance.

Final Thoughts

Scenic gravel roads in the national park are the perfect way to explore the beauty of the Smokies, plus they give you a sense of adventure or even take you back to a simpler time.

You can even rent a Jeep for your trip, so you can explore these beautiful mountain roads with the top down on your next Pigeon Forge cabin getaway!

Written by

Recent Articles

Pigeon Forge Dining: Top 5 Italian Restaurants

Top 5 Italian Restaurants in Pigeon Forge, TN

Add more flavor and zest to your next Pigeon Forge vacation by checking out our picks for the top 5 Italian restaurants in Pigeon Forge, TN.
Vacation Tips: Best Places To Get Drinks In Pigeon Forge

Top 9 Places to Get Drinks in Pigeon Forge and Sevierville

Up your Pigeon Forge vacation experience with your favorite people by checking out our picks for the top 9 places to get drinks in Pigeon Forge.
Vacation Tips: Best Family Restaurants In Pigeon Forge

Best Family Restaurants in Pigeon Forge, TN

Enjoy quality time with the family on your next vacation in Pigeon Forge by adding our picks of the best family restaurants in Pigeon Forge to your travel plans.


Fall In The Great Smoky Mountains | Pigeon Forge | Gatlinburg - Blog Post

Fall Activities

Check out the many activities to do in the fall in Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, Townsend, Wears Valley, and Sevierville.
Pigeon Forge Happening Now - Blog Post

Pigeon Forge Happening Now

We've got news, events, and tips to make your vacation in Pigeon Forge and the Smoky Mountains better than ever! Check
Smoky Mountain Vacation Tips - Blog Post

Smoky Mountain Vacation Tips

Tennessee Smoky Mountain vacation tips great for planning your family vacation, honeymoon or group getaway in the Smok
Smoky Mountains Blog | Whats Happening Now - Blog Post

Smoky Mountains - Happening Now

Smoky Mountains blog posts covering events before and as they happen throughout the Tennessee Smoky Mountains area. S

Please Note: Cabins USA LLC's, hereinafter referred to as Cabins USA, area information, area events, and blog pages are provided as a public service. Cabins USA does not endorse any of the products, vendors, consultants, or businesses referenced in these web pages. Any mention of vendors, products, businesses, or services on the Cabins USA web site is for informational purposes only. Users of this web site are responsible for checking the accuracy, completeness, currency and/or suitability of all information. The inclusion of this information does not imply endorsement by Cabins USA. Furthermore, specific questions regarding any content should be directed to the appropriate organization and not necessarily to Cabins USA.

Cabins USA Official Logo
star star star star star
2140 Parkway
Pigeon Forge, TN  37863
(865) 429-4121

VLS #157
Pigeon Forge Cabins
Guest Reservations
(800) 583-6168
2 Night Minimum

Cabins USA Help Icon
Copyright 2013-2024, Cabins USA LLC, Pigeon Forge, TN

Welcome to Cabins USA! We hope you enjoy your stay with us and look forward to helping you make incredible vacation memories. To help you navigate your Guest User account, we've provided a helpful guide to walk you through the process.

Creating an Account

Creating a guest account is as simple as submitting your email and creating a password. Keep in mind the email used to create your guest account must match the email provided on your reservation.

If a different email is on your reservation, you'll need to create a guest account with that email to manage the reservation.

When finished, an email will be sent to confirm your email address. Follow the steps in the email to complete the creation of your account.

Note: If you need to change the email address on your reservation, please contact the reservations office for further assistance.

Managing Your Account

Once your account is created, you can start managing your reservations. Your guest reservations will show as follows:

Click on the view button to get more details about each reservation. Within the reservation, you'll be able to do three things, which are:

Submit a Trouble Ticket

Click the report issue button for maintenance needs or other concerns during your stay. Briefly describe your issue, provide contact information, and submit up to 3 photos detailing your situation if applicable.

Submit Cancellation Request

This must be done before check-in and per our policies. Within the request, provide a reason for cancellation and click submit. After submitting your request, one of our reservationists must complete the cancellation process before your reservation is canceled.

Make a Payment

For future stays with a balance open, you can make credit card payments from $50 up to the total cost of the reservation.

Additional Information

If you have a future reservation and haven't completed the Express Check-In, please send your confirmation number and email used for the reservation to to request an invitation to complete the process.

After you've signed all reservation documents and paid the balance in full, you'll receive an email with your active stay information 8 hours prior to arrival, which includes the following:

Note: If the reservation documents have not been signed electronically and/or the balance has not been paid three days prior to arrival via the credit card on file, you must check in at our 2140 Parkway office. Our office hours are currently 8:00am - 10:00pm, Monday thru Sunday.

Contact Us

Didn't find the information you needed? Contact Us for further assistance with your reservation or guest account.

Thank you for choosing us for your Smoky Mountain vacation! We look forward to helping you make your dream vacation a reality!

Warm regards,

Cabins USA

Interested in receiving our newsletter? Simply provide your full name and email address in these fields to begin receiving information. By doing so, you can learn about special promotions and events in the Smoky Mountains!

We respect our customer's privacy and feel it is disrespectful to bombard anyone with emails. We treat all information that customers share with us as private and confidential. Cabins USA never shares this information with third party sites.

Arrival Date: Mandatory, select or enter date you will arrive (MM/DD/YYYY)

Nights: Mandatory, select or enter the number of Nights you will be staying with us

Promotional Code: Must enter a valid code

Optional Search Items: (Amenties, Cities, etc)
Below are several boxes in which you can either select from a drop down list or click on a check box to the left of an item to select.

Changing the contents of any drop down list or selecting/deselecting a check box will broaden or narrow the number of properties displayed by your search. You don't have to wait until the search completes to select/deselect items for your perfect search.

You must hit the SEARCH button to start your first search. It is unnecessary to hit the SEARCH button after doing your first search, unless you changed to another web page, changed the Arrival Date or number of Nights.

Add to Favorites: As you visit individual property pages or pages with listings of several properties on them, you have the option to click on the "+ Favorites" for each particular property, which automatically adds the property to your list of Favorites for consideration. The number next to the Favorites tab, left sidebar, will increase up to 99 possible Favorites. When ready, click on the Favorites tab to view a list of your selected Favorites.

Remove from Favorites: You may de-select (remove) properties from your Favorites you no longer wish to consider by either clicking on the minus icon to the right or by clicking on the "- Favorites" displayed on property list pages and each property details page for properties listed in your Favorites.

Compare Favorites: Click in the check boxes to the left of the property name, in your Favorites, you wish to compare. No more than 3 boxes may be selected at one time. When ready, hit the Compare button for a comparison of the 3 selected properties.

Follow the above "Remove from Favorites" instructions to remove a property from the comparison and your Favorites.

To add another property from your Favorites list for comparison, click the check box to the left of the property name in your Favorites and hit the Compare button.

Repeat the above steps to find your ultimate vacation accommodations. Need assistance or have questions, please give us a call so we may better serve you!

View List: Displays a full list of all your Favorites with some details.

Remove All: Clears all properties from your Favorites so you may start over.