Townsend Things to Do

  • View From Clingman's Dome
    View From Clingman's Dome
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  • Cades Cove
    Cades Cove
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  • Cantilever Barn
    Cantilever Barn
    by Toughluck

Most Recent Things to Do in Townsend

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    Little River Lumber Company Museum

    by Toughluck Updated Nov 2, 2010
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    The Little River Lumber Company was the largest employer in the valley and owned a great portion of what has become the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Railroad was used to bring the timber from out of the mountains to the mills located in the open flats around the current museum. It's employees became the heart and movers of Townsend. Today, the museum includes several buildings (Elkmont Post Office, Walland Depot, set-off house, adn watertower) and equipment [Shay 2147 (Class C, 70 Ton, Built 1909), and log loader]. It opens on a regular, but limited schedule.

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    • Family Travel
    • Trains
    • Historical Travel

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    Mountain Heritage Museum

    by Toughluck Written Oct 27, 2010
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    The Mountain Heritage Museum includes indoor and outdoor exhibits. The interior exhibits includes a history of the mountains from the Native American Indians through the Pioneer and Mountain Culture. Exhibits include a postal wagon, farming vehicles, a surrey, a freight wagon, and road construction equipment. The outdoor exhibits are structures that have been brought into the cove so that they are more accessible to visitors. The Historic Buildings include: The Cardwell Log Cabin, The Montvale Station, Smokehouse, Two Cantilever Barns, Set-off House from Little River Lumber Company, Wheelwright Shop, Sawmill, Underground Still/Shed, and a Granary.

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    • Museum Visits
    • Historical Travel
    • Family Travel

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    Tubing

    by Toughluck Written Oct 1, 2010

    There are several rental places in Townsend, where you can rent a tube and drift down the Little River. The river is not vary deep (check with the local companies in the spring), so it's fun for the entire family.

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    • Family Travel
    • Rafting

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    See the Smoky's and Cades Cove

    by Toughluck Updated Oct 1, 2010
    View From Clingman's Dome
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    This is a great location to spend time in Cades Cove. It's the closest lodging (other than a park campground) to the Cove. It also has access to the rivers and trails of the area. See my Smoky Mountain page for details.

    Related to:
    • Road Trip
    • National/State Park
    • Hiking and Walking

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    Relax around town?

    by Toughluck Written Sep 14, 2010

    They call it the 'Quiet side of the Smoky's' for a good reason. While on holiday weekends, no place is quiet (same goes for spring blossom and fall color weekends), This place is a lot less noisy (cars, people, motorbikes), than any of the other access points. You can find a cabin or a motel room and actually sit out front and read with little traffice bothering you.

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  • Townsend Loop

    by CoAir13 Updated Oct 19, 2005

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    Along the Little River

    For a leisurely afternoon, rent a bike or walk the 4.45 loop trail through this small town. There are places along the way that you can stop and take in the mountain view and learn a little of the history of the area. Trail starts at the visitor's center and is a fairly flat paved trail if you are going to bike it!

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    • Hiking and Walking
    • National/State Park

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  • Townsend Loop

    by CoAir13 Written Oct 19, 2005

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    Along the Little River

    For a leisurely afternoon, rent a bike or walk the 4.45 loop trail through this small town. There are places along the way that you can stop and take in the mountain view and learn a little of the history of the area. Trail starts at the visitor's center and is a fairly flat paved trail if you are going to bike it!

    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Family Travel

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  • Little River

    by CoAir13 Written Oct 19, 2005

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    This river runs through town and into the park and offers a variety of activities. Fishing is among the most popular! Tennesse has some strict regulations so be sure to check them out before you cast! REGULATIONS ARE DIFFERENT INSIDE THE NATIONAL PARK! If fishing isn't your thing, try tubing, canoeing or kayaking. There are many places along Hwy 321...check the visitor's center for more info!

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    • Fishing
    • Family Travel
    • National/State Park

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  • Cades Cove Loop

    by CoAir13 Updated Oct 19, 2005

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    Grist Mill
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    Townsend lies adjacent to Great Smoky Mountains National Park near the Cades Cove entrance. The Cades Cove Loop Road is an 11 mile, one way motor vehicle road that takes you through a peaceful valley surrounded by mountain peaks. There are over 1,500 kinds of flowering plants, deer, black bears, historic structures, and even a fully operational grist mill. Allow 2 to three hours to complete the trip. We got out at most places so it took us a little longer. Truly a relaxing, beautiful drive!

    In addition, there are an abundance of hiking trails, camping, horseback riding, bicycling, and hayrides!

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    • National/State Park
    • Adventure Travel
    • Family Travel

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  • Visitors Center

    by CoAir13 Written Oct 19, 2005

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    Any information you need about Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the surrounding areas can be found at the Townsend Visitors Center. Of course, there is a gift shop, but you can get maps, directions, and business information from the friendly, helpful staff, as well.

    All businesses in Townsend are located on Highway 321, the "main drag" through town. This road leads you straight into the park.

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    • National/State Park
    • Adventure Travel
    • Family Travel

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  • Cemeteries

    by CoAir13 Written Oct 19, 2005

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    Cemeteries offer a glimpse into the past...family position or prominence can sometimes be determined by the size and magnificence of the tombstones. Many were started on family farms as resting places for family members. Much of the population of Townsend can trace their roots back to the original settlers of the area! There are 66 cemeteries located within the Tennessee side of the park, and many more in the surrounding communities.

    The cemetery pictured is next to the Townsend Visitor Center!

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    • Family Travel
    • National/State Park

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  • Foothills Parkway

    by CoAir13 Written Oct 19, 2005

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    Since the Foothills Land Conservancy was founded in 1985, it has protected more than 14,300 acres of land along the Great Smoky Mountains National Park boundary. In 1995, it purchased 4,700 acres that were threatened by commercial development along the northern edge of the park.

    10 miles north of Towsend is Maryville, Tennessee...here is where you turn onto Foothills Parkway. This road will take you high into the mountains where there are many scenic overlooks and hiking trails. There is an "observation tower" where, on a clear day, you can get a view of the Smokies that can't be beat!

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Mountain Climbing
    • Eco-Tourism

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  • Davy Crockett Riding Stables

    by CoAir13 Written Oct 18, 2005

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    Stables

    Specializing in rides for large groups, these guys know their stuff! Trips range from 1 hour (4 miles) to overnight trips. Open year round, but during the winter months it's by appointment only! Don't let it's (ahem) "rustic" look scare you!

    Related to:
    • Horse Riding
    • Family Travel

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  • Tuckaleechee Caverns

    by CoAir13 Written Oct 18, 2005

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    Stalagtites
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    You can't miss the signs all over town for this place! We were expecting a small, cheesy tour of about 20 minutes that leads out of a small house/tacky souvenir shop! We were pleasantly surprised when we were lead deep under the mountain to a specactular feast for the eyes! They say there are no caves east of Carlsbad Caverns (New Mexico) as fantastic as this! They may be right. The tour is about 1 hour and twenty minutes which leaves plenty of daylight for outdoor activities.

    9 am - 6 pm April through October
    10 am - 5 pm March 15-31 & November 1-15

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Adventure Travel
    • National/State Park

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  • easy day hike

    by mzmyopia Updated Mar 21, 2004

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    Townsend is approx 20 mins from Cades Cove. You must enter Cades Cove, go about 1/3 around the park, park & take the Abrams Falls trail. 5 mile roundtrip BUT the falls are very pretty, as is the trail gently winding up the hillside. This trail is easy but not accessible to strollers or wheelchairs. Most folks brought picnic lunches to rest by the falls.
    The 2nd trip, we added the Oliver Branch .5 mile trail to Abrams, to vary the scenery.
    We recommend a weekday, if possible, since this is a park. PLUS if you've got 4 wheel drive, the Rich Mtn road is a great (fun) one-way road back to Townsend from inside Cades Cove. 4 wheel drive required.

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Eco-Tourism
    • Budget Travel

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Townsend Things to Do

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