Townsend Travel Guide

  • The Riverstone Restaurant
    The Riverstone Restaurant
    by TravellerMel
  • The Riverstone Restaurant
    The Riverstone Restaurant
    by TravellerMel
  • View From Clingman's Dome
    View From Clingman's Dome
    by Toughluck

Townsend Highlights

  • Pro
    CoAir13 profile photo

    CoAir13 says…

     Solitude, serenity, silence! 

  • Con
    Sassy417 profile photo

    Sassy417 says…

     Remote & private 

  • In a nutshell
    Sassy417 profile photo

    Sassy417 says…

     Great place to relax and unwind, very laid back atmosphere 

Townsend Things to Do

  • Little River Lumber Company Museum

    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....

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  • Mountain Heritage Museum

    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...

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  • Tubing

    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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  • Biking

    Bring or rent a bike and travel through Tuckulukee Cove, otherwise known as Townsend. There are paved bike trails along the main road through the cove. It's safe for the entire family.

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  • See the Smoky's and Cades Cove

    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.

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  • Relax around town?

    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...

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  • Little River Railroad and Lumber Co....

    This museum is dedicated to preserving the history of steam logging in the Smokies. Admission is FREE and appeals mostly to those interested in trains. Good rainy day activity.

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  • Townsend Loop

    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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  • Townsend Loop

    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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  • Little River

    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...

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  • Cades Cove Loop

    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...

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  • Visitors Center

    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"...

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  • Cemeteries

    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...

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  • Foothills Parkway

    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...

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  • Davy Crockett Riding 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!

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  • Tuckaleechee Caverns

    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...

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  • easy day hike

    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...

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  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park

    Ridge upon ridge of endless forest straddling the border between North Carolina and Tennessee, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the largest protected areas in the Eastern United States. World renowned for the diversity of its plant and animal life, the beauty of its ancient mountains, the quality of its remnants of Southern Appalachian...

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Townsend Hotels

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Townsend Restaurants

  • TravellerMel's Profile Photo
    The Riverstone Restaurant 1 more image

    by TravellerMel Written May 22, 2012

    Came here after an afternoon of hiking, but before starting the long drive home. Boyd and I likes to stop at local restaurants when we travel (rather than chains), and this one looked perfect. The inside looks like a cabin with wood-paneled walls and woodland decorations, including photos of the Great Smoky Mountains. I ordered the Jack Daniels burger (served on a kaiser roll with french fries) and Boyd ordered the BBQ Pork sandwich (also served with fries). The food came quickly, and was very tasty. A good deal for the price - we enjoyed very much!

    The sandwiches, drinks (cola), tax and tip came to ~$25.

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    • Food and Dining

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Townsend Nightlife

  • To swing or hot tub? Hmmmm

    by SwitzIt Written Feb 6, 2004

    Townsend is a quiet town, so the best options for nights include:

    >sitting on a porch or deck listening to the crickets and owls
    >curling up by a fire with a good book
    >hot tubbing under the stars

    Dress Code: Totally casual

    Related to:
    • National/State Park

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Townsend Warnings and Dangers

  • by SwitzIt Written Feb 7, 2004

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The bear's keen sense of smell leads it to nuts and berries, but the animal is also enticed by human food left on a picnic table or offered from an outstretched hand. Feeding bears or allowing them access to human food causes a number of problems:

    • Nuisance bears damage property and injure people. In 1993, 110 bear related incidents were recorded and extensive property damage occurred.
    • It transforms wild and healthy bears into habitual beggars. Studies have shown that nuisance bears never live as long as wild bears. Many are hit by cars and become easy targets for poachers. Beggar bears may die from ingesting food packaging and aggressive nuisance bears must be destroyed y park managers.

    For these reasons, National Park Rangers issue citations for improper food storage and feeding bears. These offenses can result in fines of up to $5,000 and jail sentences lasting up to six months. Visitors are urged to view all wildlife at a safe distance and never to leave food or garbage unattended.

    Related to:
    • National/State Park

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Townsend Tourist Traps

  • by SwitzIt Written Feb 6, 2004

    I can't remember who dubbed it that, but it fits. Pigeon Forge, TN offers wall-to-wall tourists, outlet shops, miniature golf, go-carts, bumper boats, water rides, laser games, bungee jumping, and country music theatres...not to mention bumper-to-bumper traffic.

    Unique Suggestions: If you have kids and they're bored with the natural beauty of the Smoky Mountains, take a day trip to Pigeon Forge and go to Dollywood, I guess. Then return to Townsend to relax again.

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Cades Cove
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