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5 great Tennessee overlooks that are easy to reach

5 great Tennessee overlooks that are easy to reach

The Great Smoky Mountains and the Cumberland Plateau line the two sides of the Great Valley in Tennessee.  While seeing these mountain ranges rise up in the distance is beautiful, overlooks along the tops of the mountains can be downright stunning.   Here are five easy to reach overlooks where you can get a unique view of Tennessee.

Mt Roosevelt - Rockwood

From the overlook at Mt. Roosevelt you get a great view of the city of Rockwood at the foot of the mountain. Off in the distance you can see the Kingston Fossil Plant and on a clear day you can see the high peaks of the Great Smoky Mountains.

Whether you’re going up the Cumberland Plateau or coming down off it on I-40, you are sure to catch a glimpse of the small towns, lakes and more stretching across the valley floor.  However, if you want more time to soak in the view, then an overlook off U.S. 70 above Rockwood is where you’ll want to head.  Just follow U.S. 70 west of Rockwood.  Near the top of the mountain, there’s a sign for Mt. Roosevelt. Turn there and follow the road up the ridgeline until it ends at the overlook. 

 

Bee Rock - Monterrey

Bee Rock is located in Monterrey just off I-40. The city owns the property and is currently working to develop the area as a park.

Bee Rock is located in Monterrey just off I-40. The city owns the property and is currently working to develop the area as a park.

Thousands of cars pass by Exit 300 every day and few people probably know that about a mile off the exit is one of the best views in the state.  Just head west on Highway 70N and turn onto Bee Rock Road. Drive to the end of the road where you’ll find a small parking lot.  (Apparently you need to park on the right side of the parking lot or you might get towed).   You’ll see a trail heading behind a gray A-framed building.  Just follow it about a ¼ of a mile and you’ll arrive at Bee Rock where you get one of the best views along the Cumberland Plateau.  This is also a popular spot for rock climbers.  Currently the city of Monterrey is working to develop the area into a park.

 

Sequatchie Valley Overlook - Dunlap

Just above Dunlap on Highway 111, an overlook gives you a sweeping view of the Sequatchie Valley. If you time your visit there right, you’ll get to see hangliders coming off the mountain heading for the valley floor.

Just above Dunlap on Highway 111, an overlook gives you a sweeping view of the Sequatchie Valley. If you time your visit there right, you’ll get to see hangliders coming off the mountain heading for the valley floor.

The Sequatchie Valley is a deep cut in the Cumberland Plateau that runs from near Crossville down to Chattanooga.  In Dunlap, State Highway 111 crosses the valley and on the south side there is an overlook where you can not only take in the stunning scenery, you can also watch hang gliders take off from the top of the mountain.  Dunlap is the hang gliding capital of Tennessee.

 

East Rim Overlook/Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area - Near Oneida

The East Rim Overlook is just a short drive off the main road through Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area. A paved trail takes you to the spot where you see a sprawling river gorge hundreds of feet below you.

The East Rim Overlook is just a short drive off the main road through Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area. A paved trail takes you to the spot where you see a sprawling river gorge hundreds of feet below you.

The South Fork of the Cumberland River cuts a swath hundreds of feet deep along the Cumberland Plateau.  Standing along the rim of the gorge, the expanse of wilderness helps you understand why this is the BIG South Fork.  The view in many ways is equally stunning from the banks of the river especially along trails like the O&W Bridge and Angel Falls Trails.

Chilhowee Mountain Overlook – Polk County

While you can drive along the shores of Parksville Lake (Lake Ocoee) it’s best seen from the overlooks up on Chilhowee Mountain.

While you can drive along the shores of Parksville Lake (Lake Ocoee) it’s best seen from the overlooks up on Chilhowee Mountain.

The Ocoee River Gorge is tucked away in the Southeast corner of Tennessee.  While you will find some of the best whitewater rapids in the country there, part of the waterway is a pristine lake that’s best seen from the heights of Chilhowee Mountain.   From a couple of overlooks just a short drive up on Oswald Road (off U.S. 74),  you can get an almost birds eye view of the pristine Parksville Lake (Lake Ocoee) below.

The water wonders of Sparta, Tennessee

The water wonders of Sparta, Tennessee

Around the world in a day at Dollywood

Around the world in a day at Dollywood