Townsend Tennessee

A Quiet Cove in the Beautiful Smoky Mountains

Townsend, Tennessee bills itself as the peaceful side of the Smokies, and indeed it is. You'll find no garish attractions or jostling crowds to distract you from the beauty of the mountains. The town sits in Tuckaleechee Cove, a broad valley in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains. It provides easy access to Smoky Mountains National Park, and to Cades Cove, the most visited area within the park.

The best attractions in Townsend are in the great outdoors. The Little River runs through the valley and provides great trout fishing. It's a lovely place to take a hike, have a picnic, or just sit and enjoy. Tubing on the Little River is easily the most popular activity in Townsend. On any reasonably nice summer day, you'll see groups of people lazily floating on their tubes, splashing in the shallows or sunning themselves on a grassy bank.

Bicycling is also popular in the area. In addition to miles of country roads, there is a 5 mile paved bike trail that runs parallel to US 321 and passes by the Townsend Visitor Center. You'll find several places that rent bicycles.

If you prefer to ride something with a mind of its own, there are numerous stables that offer horseback riding, guided horseback tours, or stabling if you bring your own horse.

If you need to cool off, there's the Tuckaleechee Caverns, where the temperature remains at 58 degrees year round. The caverns feature a series of underground rooms, some of them huge, with ceilings as high as 150 feet. There are also streams and waterfalls, easily seen from the lighted concrete pathways.

Other activities include golfing, hiking along the many trails in the national park, and taking a drive along the scenic Foothills Parkway. You can explore the local craft shops and galleries or enjoy one of the seasonal festivals. Accommodations in Townsend include campgrounds, cabins, cottages, condominiums, bed and breakfast inns, and motels.

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