Most people coming to the Smoky Mountains are looking at view after view of mountain vistas, but instead of turning your eyes down below, try to turn your eyes upward and see the heavens twinkling above. City lights drown out one of nature’s most amazing sights: the star-studded night sky. High in the Smokies you can find spectacular twinkling lights in the sky, a rare treat for many who visit. Star gazing in the Smokies is the perfect way to cap off a day of great adventure and some of the best places to view the stars at night are also some of the best places for scenic views during the day.
Gatlinburg Scenic Overlook
The Gatlinburg Scenic Overlook is located directly off the Gatlinburg Bypass and provides stunning views, both during the day and at night. Those seeking a place to view the night sky are encouraged to bring a snack and arrive right at sunset to experience the best of both worlds; a Smoky Mountain sunset and the Smoky Mountain night time sky. As the sky turns from dusk to night, the stars appear one by one, twinkling bright and merry. You’ll likely see more stars than you thought possible. Views of downtown Gatlinburg are also exceptional from this location and many a great photo has been captured of both the downtown scenery and the nighttime sky.
Newfound Gap Parking Area
Located on Newfound Gap Road, the large parking area is a popular spot for scenic views during the day and stargazing at night.
Devoid of streetlights and far from city lights that can pollute the night views, this little piece of the Smoky Mountains is truly dark and quiet, making it an exceptional place for stargazing.
At 6,000 feet above sea level, stargazers will want to bring a sweatshirt and maybe even a blanket. Spread your blanket on the hood of your car, lay back and feast your eyes on the scenery in the sky. If you have a pretty decent camera you can even capture some amazing photos.
By day, a popular historical and cultural attraction. By night, a star gazer’s best friend. Cades Cove provides nighttime visitors with little to no residual light from neighboring towns, the peaceful sounds of nature, and an abundance of twinkling stars in the sky. Periodic stargazing parties are held here and are open to the public.
Just because the sun has gone down doesn’t mean that the fun adventures have to stop. Stargazing is just as fun and unpredictable as wildlife viewing. You never know what you’ll see and it can change daily.