Foothills Parkway

The Foothills Parkway skims along the northern border of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the most visited national park in the country. Calls for a route through the park resulted in legislation in 1944, creating the Foothills Parkway. Today, the road remains incomplete, and the only highway in the national park still unfinished. For nearly 80 years, the road has provided challenging terrain and a look at unique mineral deposits that make up the Great Smoky Mountains. Drivers of the existing road sections get amazing views of the Tennessee Valley to the north of the highway and the Great Smoky Mountains to the south. With the predominant use of Knoxville, TN to enter the western part of the parkway, that section is often designated as the Knoxville Parkway by locals while the easternmost section is known as The Parkway by locals in Cosby, TN; people at both ends call the 33 miles of unfinished road the "missing link."

Things to Do

Things To Do Near Foothills Parkway

Most visitors come to the Foothills Parkway for the incredible views that the highway offers. However, the views are merely the starting point when exploring enjoyable activities along this roadway track. Alongside the Foothills Parkway, visitors find trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. The area also has a complex system of streams that run in every direction, lakes, mountains to climb, and whitewater rapids to raft. The region outside the park's borders and along the parkway are often used for geocaching adventures, and the night sky is famous for its stargazing quality.

Hiking Trails



Nearby Shops and Restaurants

map-marker-alt-regular How to Get There

How To Get To Foothills Parkway

Most visitors traveling from the east to the Foothills Parkway drive through Asheville, NC. To begin the trip from Asheville, NC, get onto Interstate 26 East and drive for 0.5 miles. Take the ramp to the right towards Interstate 240 West, and then go for 3.2 miles. Take the right ramp to get onto Interstate 40 West and drive for 54.2 miles. Take another ramp to the right to get on the Foothills Parkway.

These roads are open year-round except for rare occasions when snow and ice close them to all traffic in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. With several observation pull-outs offering great views of the mountains and their forests, these roads beckon to visitors from every state.


US-321 / E. Lamar Alexander Parkway in Walland, TN 37882

Fee: Entry fee $0

It is almost as if the construction of Foothills Parkway was implemented with RV travel in mind. The road winds through deep valleys and across ridge tops, and it's graced with several lookouts along the way. Each section of this parkway runs through terrain once considered impassable because wagons and oxen could not navigate through a complex maze of undulating hills. In an RV, you now have the opportunity to stop, camp, and pick up stakes to move to the next incredible sight while experiencing the comfort provided by your mobile home.