Foothills Parkway
Foothills Parkway

The Foothills Parkway has been known as the oldest unfinished highway project in Tennessee. The 5.6 mile section connecting Cosby to US-321 was completed in the late 1960’s. The 16.9 mile section connecting Walland to Chilhowee Lake was completed in 1966. This left a massive gap between the sections of the Foothills Parkway.

November 10, 2018 a 16 mile missing section of this road has been opened. You can now drive from Chilhowee Lake to Wears Valley to complete a beautiful 33 mile drive.

This beautiful drive includes scenic views of Townsend, Gregory Bald, the Unicoi Mountains, Clingman’s Dome, Thunderhead Mountain, Mount LeConte and many high peaks in the eastern Smoky Mountains. The highest point of the western section of the parkways is Chilhowee Mountain at 2,650 ft. There you can find Look Rock hiking trail to get to the observation tower with 360 degree views of Blount County and the western Smoky Mountains.

Foothills Parkway

You cross 9 bridges on this new stretch of road. As you go across these bridges you will see fantastic views of the mountains and Townsend down in the valley. This is considered one of the prettiest drives in America. You especially won’t want to miss this drive in the fall with the beautiful colors.

We beat the church crowd and got up there early one Sunday morning. Traffic is known is get a little crowded on the parkway so timing is everything. We had a blast exploring the new portion of the parkway. It was a perfect relaxing drive. We can’t wait to get back up there and spend more time with the popping spring and summer colors.

For information on plans for the rest of the missing parkway visit the NPS website. Thankfully they are in the planning process for the final link.

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  1. Wow these photos are so breathtaking – looking at them I feel like I could smell the fresh air. I definitely have to plan a trip to Tennessee.

  2. Crossing 9 bridges while haaving the scenic view of the mountains and forests sounds more of an adventure that I’d love to take part in!

  3. Wow! This looks like a really beautiful drive. I find nature to be so soothing and calming. If I ever make it to Tennessee, I’ll definitely have to go and check this out!

  4. Looks gorgeous and extremely tranquil. One of these days I may experience it in person. Thanks for the inspiration!

  5. This sounds like a fantastic place to visit with family!

  6. What a gorgeous view! I can’t believe how there are still places where the road isn’t built yet…

  7. What a beautiful and incredible view. This is true nature’s beauty. If I get a chance to visit there, I would be lucky to have this experience in my life.

  8. If you love a peaceful drive or ride along a mountain road, you gotta go. This is a beautiful, relaxing drive with lots of gentle curves and hills. There’s nothing commercial, just a scenic parkway with lots and lots of pull-offs for viewing. Something about this road seems to attract nice people and it makes everybody kind of laid back. We were in a car but my wife (who swore to never ride with me on my motorcycle) was so inspired by the beautiful parkway and seeing other couples on bikes and trikes, she wants us to buy a motor trike so we can do scenic rides together.

    We drove up to Chilhowee Lake, which is really pretty in itself. Then we headed off down the parkway all the way to Wears Valley. Then we ventured out through Wears Valley into Pigeon Forge to prowl around a while. The leaves were beginning to turn and the sky was brilliant blue, a perfect day.

    Seriously, if you’re anywhere near this area, you owe it to yourself to drive the Foothills Parkway.

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