Sunny Side Trail in Tennessee
Beginning in the Smoky Mountains and coursing through the Cherokee National Forest, the trail’s quiet back roads lead to the hidden gems of the Appalachian Mountains.
Start your journey with outlet shopping and theatre in Sevierville, hometown of Dolly Parton. Down the road in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, see heritage crafters like blacksmiths, carriage makers, potters and glassblowers at Old Mill Square, Dollywood and Gatlinburg’s Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community, the largest in the country.
Enjoy a peaceful, scenic drive on Highway 321 toward Pittman Center. Stop at Newport Cocke County Museum for exhibits of historic Appalachian tools and Native American artefacts. Take Highway 321 from Newport toward Johnson City, through rolling countryside and mountains rising to the east and into quaint downtown Greeneville, home of the Andrew Johnson National Historic Site commemorating our nation’s 17th president. Just north, Davy Crockett Birthplace State Park and white water rafting and fishing on the Nolichucky River await. Shop in historic downtown Jonesborough, Tennessee’s oldest incorporated town, and catch a performance at the International Storytelling Center.
Enter the Tri-Cities area by way of Johnson City, where shops and galleries are abundant. Learn about the Overmountain Men at Sycamore Shoals Historic Area in Elizabethton, and then head into the mountainous reaches of Northeast Tennessee to see the rhododendrons at Roan Mountain State Park. Go hiking, rafting and boating in Cherokee National Forest, including an afternoon fishing Watauga Lake. Enjoy breathtaking views along high roads in Mountain City and make a pit stop in Bristol, the Birthplace of Country Music, to see a race at Bristol Motor Speedway. On your way back, pass by Blountville and Piney Flats, home to historic Rocky Mount (former capital of the Southwest territory). In Kingsport, see nature and stars at Bays Mountain Park and Planetarium.
Ride along Sneedville’s curves (best on a motorcycle) and stop at Rogersville’s historic district. In Bulls Gap, visit the Archie Campbell Museum and Tourist Center dedicated to the late star of the comedy-variety show “Hee-Haw.” Stop in quaint Dandridge for a milkshake at an original drug store soda fountain and fishing on Douglas Lake. Then, it’s back to Sevierville, where a bronze Dolly statue welcomes you back with a warm smile.