Scenic Drives, Beautiful Hikes, and Historic Sites

While you’re on your Smoky Mountain vacation, we hope you take a moment to take in the sights of the area. Our picturesque landscapes are worth exploring whether it’s by foot, bike, or vehicle, and the history surrounding the area will leave you wanting to learn more.

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Driving Trails

Take in the views on the scenic byways of Appalachia.


Dive into nature and explore the Smokies.

Historical Sites

Learn more about the history of the area.

Great Smoky Mountain Eco Tours in Jefferson County looking over a mountain vista with lakes in the background

Experience the Smokies & East Tennessee Like Never Before

Great Smoky Mountain Eco Tours

While a drive through the Smokies is always nice, being a passenger on that ride has it’s benefits when it comes to taking in the scenery.

Let Great Smoky Mountain Eco Tours be your driver as they take you on a tour of the area. They provide an in-depth look at the history, culture, flora, & fauna of the Great Smoky Mountains.

East Tennessee Driving Trails

There are many scenic driving trails to enjoy in and around Jefferson County, which are all part of the state’s Discover Tennessee Trails & Byways program. Car and motorcycle enthusiasts appreciate the off-the-beaten paths and natural beauty. With much less traffic, small towns and red lights provide for a more relaxing road trip experience. The Tennessee Trails and Byways program offers a few different driving trails that all traverse Jefferson County, while providing an authentic historical and cultural experience.  

graphical version of the Discover Tennessee scenic trails and byways sign for Rocky Top Trail in the great smoky mountains

Rocky Top Trail

Smoky peaks to crafts and creeks

This trail will lead you through the Smoky Mountains to the foothills of East Tennessee. Enjoy scenic views and stops at unique places such as the Bush Beans Visitor Center and historic Dandridge, TN, where you can explore boutiques, restaurants, the Jefferson County Courthouse Museum and Archives, and more!

sunny side early country trail a driving trail in east tennessee

Sunny Side Trail

Unique sites, roadside attractions, and local gems

Keep on the Sunny Side Trail and make your way through the heart of East Tennessee! This trail will take you on the backroads of Appalachia where you’ll discover the rich history of our small towns and country lanes. Starting off in Gatlinburg, TN you will make your way to Jefferson County and discover the roads that lead to Douglas and Cherokee Lakes, Historic Dandridge, White Pine, and Jefferson City, TN.

graphical version of the Discover Tennessee scenic trails and byways sign for White Lightning Trail in the great smoky mountains

White Lightning Trail

Discover Thunder Road travelled by the moonshiners during prohibition

East Tennessee is rich in history and there is nothing more infamous as the history of the prohibition-era. This trail weaves its way along the Moonshine-Running Corridor through the East Tennessee Valley, from the Cumberland Gap to the foothills of the Smoky Mountains. Discover the roads less traveled where moonshiners carried their wears. You’ll discover the Town of White Pine where barns hid gas pumps for “runners” to make pit stops, and in Dandridge, TN, where the worlds largest moonshine still ever was discovered by authorities in 1973! Stop in and visit the Historic Jefferson County Courthouse Museum and Archives to see another old moonshine still that was used during in the prohibition era.

Logo for East Tennessee Crossing National Scenic Byway

East Tennessee Crossing National Scenic Byway

Travel the road taken by Native Americans and pioneers

Also known as Highway 25E, the East Tennessee Crossing byway stretches 83 miles in East Tennessee from the Cumberland Gap to Cherokee National Forest. Since prehistoric times, the span has been used by pioneer travelers, hunters, and tourists, alike. The route is also known has the Cherokee Warriors’ Path and was used by Native Americans for a variety of activities.

Logo for East Tennessee Crossing National Scenic Byway

Tennessee Civil War Trails

More than 350 Civil War sites throughout Tennessee

Each site is interpreted and accessible and encourages you to explore diverse settings where America’s destiny was forged. Tennessee Civil War Trails sites can be explored at your own pace, and many offer other historical and recreational opportunities. Enjoy one of the numerous walking tours available in many communities. Shop at one of hundreds of antique and specialty shops, dine at a historically-themed tavern, or simply walk amid the serenity of a preserved battlefield. Let the stories you’ve discovered ignite your imagination as you envi- sion how now-peaceful landscapes were once the scenes of the deadliest battles known to man.

Hiking in the Smokies

Jefferson County is a short drive to many East Tennessee hiking trails and destinations. Some of the most popular hikes near our area include Alum CaveAndrew’s Bald, Rainbow Falls, and Chimney Tops; however, the Great Smoky Mountains are home to 150 official hiking trails.

Historical Sites & Markers in Jefferson County

Jefferson County was established over 230 years ago, but people have lived in here dating back to before the Revolutionary War. Our area is rich in history; and we hope during your stay with us, you take a moment to learn more about Jefferson County.

Glenmore Mansion in Jefferson City TN

Glenmore Mansion

“A true Victorian treasure” offering seasonal tours, a Spring Garden Market, and Christmas Candlelight Tours.
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the dike that saved dandridge

The Dike that Saved Dandridge

Located right off of Historic Downtown Dandridge see the landform that saved the town!
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Aj and Sally Bush homestead in Chestnut Hill TN

Bush Family Homestead

Explore where a secret family recipe was the beginning of a worldwide name.
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cherokee dam by TVA

TVA Dams

Two lakes each with a Tennessee Valley Authority dam that are quite the sites to see.
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photo of a historic church located in east tennessee in jefferson county

Historic Churches

Our county is full of beautiful historic churches along scenic byways.
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the dike that saved dandridge

Tennessee's Second Oldest Town

Located right off of Historic Downtown Dandridge see the landform that saved the town!
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Aj and Sally Bush homestead in Chestnut Hill TN

Historic Mossy Creek Station

A go-to spot for family-friendly fun with a history of growth and community.
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bell tower of the jefferson county courthouse

Jefferson County Courthouse

A staple of our county seat since 1845, our courthouse nows holds a county museum and records dating back to 1792.
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historical marker for the battle of dandridge during the civil ware

Battle of Dandridge

See the site of a Civil War battle that took place in our county.
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one of the early taverns of dandridge tn

Early Taverns of Jefferson County

In the early days of our county, the taverns provided shelter for those traveling through our area.
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barn with a quilt square in the rural area of east tennessee in jefferson county

Quilt Squares of Jefferson County

Take a drive through the county & you’ll see some beautiful sites: the quilt squares of Appalachia.
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photo of the barn at the marriage site of polly and davy crockett

Polly & Davy Crockett Marriage Site

Did you know that Davy Crockett called the Jefferson County area home in his younger years?
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Lakeside News

Birding Guide to the Lakeside

Birding Guide to the Lakeside

The Lakeside of the Smokies is nestled perfectly against the Smoky mountains making it a nature lovers paradise. Diverse habitats range from soaring peaks to pristine lakes, encouraging bird watchers to flock to the area to catch a glimpse of the native birds of East...

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