Few activities can match a picnic in the romance department. That’s especially true if the two of you bring along a favorite beverage and delicious food to share, served up with a picturesque view that sets the mood. Finding ideal picnic spots in the Smoky Mountains is an integral part of your romantic getaway. Around Gatlinburg, you can certainly find your own corner to enjoy a leisurely repast and relax while the rest of the world zips by. Here are some of our favorite spots to enjoy a memorable Smoky Mountains picnic.
(Note: When you are planning a picnic in this area, be sure that you carry out everything you bring in, especially food. Wildlife prevails out here, especially bears, and you don’t want your lunch to lure them closer to you and other visitors. Also, do not feed any animals should you see them.)
Our picks for the 3 best places to have a romantic Smoky Mountains picnic
Tailored for just about everyone, this level nature trail with a storied history offers the perfect picnic backdrop. Going early in the morning on a summer Wednesday or Saturday, when cars aren’t allowed on the loop road until 10 AM, is ideal for avoiding crowds. Hit the trail to witness wildlife in the remnants of a long-gone chestnut grove. You will still see plenty of lush foliage from dogwoods, sourwoods and maples. The loop also features various preserved cabins and churches scattered around the area from an early 19th-century settlement. You’ll find the Cades Cove picnic area located near the ranger station and amphitheater on the loop’s eastern edge.
This popular route will keep you on a steady ascent (675 foot elevation gain) up the park’s mountain ridges and along Abrams Creek. After roughly 2.5 miles on a trail through grassy field and pine, oak and hemlock forests, you’ll finally arrive to a breathtaking oasis of 20-foot cascades tumbling into a natural pool. As part of the Cades Cove network of trails, Abrams is easy to access but a bit strenuous for most people because of its steepness and length. Feel free to enjoy your picnic around the water’s edge of the pool, but avoid climbing the slippery rocks or taking a quick dip due to the possibility of accidental falls or drowning. Bears are especially prevalent here, so don’t forget to pack up and haul out any food you bring in.
The most challenging hike of the three listed here, the Alum Cave Trail that leads up to Mt. LeConte brings visitors to its peak in a heart-pounding 5.5 miles. But don’t feel that you need to summit and complete this trail. Stop anywhere along the way and settle in for a great lunch with a view, which includes the Arch Rock (1.3 miles from the trailhead), Inspiration Point (2 miles in), Gracie’s Pulpit (2.6 miles in) and Alum Cave (2.2 miles in). This last spot affords the most beautiful trail views of the Smokies, and because it’s actually an expansive bluff and not an actual cave, there’s plenty of room to spread out a blanket and enjoy a real picnic. If you have the energy to hike the entire route, you can stop at the LeConte Lodge (5 miles in), where you will definitely deserve enjoying your picnic lunch, before hiking up the rest of the third-highest mountain in the park.
And if a romantic picnic spot is part of the plan for your romantic Smoky Mountain getaway at Christopher Place, we’d be happy to pack you a picnic lunch. We have three picnic options available from an easy-to-carry and hiker-friendly backpack option, to a old-fashioned picnic basket fully loaded with either sparkling cider or house wine available. You can check out our full list of amenities to see the different options and choose the perfect picnic for the perfect picnic spot.
Besides these three romantic picnic areas, we can recommend more during your stay at Christopher Place, your Smoky Mountains resort. Book with us today, and we’d love to share them with you.
Photo by Lee Coursey on Flickr.