Townsend Chamber of Commerce The Townsend Chamber of Commerce
Townsend, Tennessee

Chartered 1992

Townsend Area Attractions

Four Seasons of Fun

The moderate climate of this region provides the basis of four very different but very beautiful seasons.

 SPRING Considered by some to be the most exciting time of the year. Springtime offers the opportunity to experience the Townsend region at its finest. Wildflowers such as Mountain Phlox. Dwarf Irises, Trilliums and Pink Lady Slippers form a blanket of color on the hillsides. Toward the end of the season, the Dogwoods, Redbuds, and Azaleas are in bloom. A walk through the woods reveals young wood ducks, turkeys, ruffed grouse, rabbits, and if you are lucky, a glimpse of bear cubs playing on the hillside. The climate is cool and comfortable with the average daily temperature being 68 degrees Fahrenheit.
 SUMMER The most popular season in the Townsend region is Summertime. The climate is comfortable with temperatures usually around 85 degrees Fahrenheit. July is the warmest month of the year. An abundance of wildlife can be seen in the Townsend region at this time including rabbits, squirrels, raccoons, creek otters, red foxes, and turkeys. The best time to see deer is early in the morning or at dusk. Occasionally, you will see a bear, however they are a nocturnal animal. Over 100 species of birds reside in the Townsend region including red-tailed hawks, yellow finches, red-headed woodpeckers, indigo buntings, and a variety of owls.
 AUTUMN When Autumn arrives, the Townsend region is transformed into a glorious display of brilliant color. The colorful mountains are truly a spectacle to behold. A walk through the woods is especially enjoyable at this time as the average daily temperature is 72 degrees Fahrenheit. In Autumn, the woods abound with wildlife as all the animals are preparing for the winter. Fall flowers are in full bloom and the air is clear and dry.
 WINTER Winters are very mild in the Townsend region. Very often, snow falls only in the higher elevations. A cumulative of approximately 12 inches of snow falls annually, however, this usually comes in amounts of less than 4 inches at one time. The coldest weather occurs during the month of January. The average temperature at this time of year is 52 degrees Fahrenheit. A breathtaking sight is the mountains covered with snow. Whether trail hiking in the crisp air, skiing at Ober Gatlinburg, or curled up next to a warm fire, winter in the Townsend region is truly an enjoyable experience.


Wildlife
Eagle in Townsend One of the major attractions of the Townsend area is the wide variety of wildlife that can be observed in the area at all seasons of the year. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a prime area for viewing all sorts of wildlife including black bear, deer, and a huge variety of smaller birds and animals.

But you don't always have to go into the park in order to see spectacular wildlife. Richard Powers spotted this eagle right behind the Townsend Shopping Center along the Little River on August 16, 2013.

Photos Copyright Richard Powers 2013, All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Eagle in Townsend


Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
GSMNP Established June 15, 1934, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park attracts over 20 million visitors per year. Most visitors to Townsend come to enjoy some facet of this national park. A map of the park is available here - and more details regarding the park are available on the National Park Service web site. The NPS summary for the park states:

"The national park, in the states of North Carolina and Tennessee, encompasses 800 square miles of which 95 percent are forested. World renowned for the diversity of its plant and animal resources, the beauty of its ancient mountains, the quality of its remnants of Southern Appalachian mountain culture, and the depth and integrity of the wilderness sanctuary within its boundaries, it is one of the largest protected areas in the east."


Cades Cove
Cades Cove Townsend is the most convenient access point to Cades Cove, one of the premier attractions of the National Park, located approximately 8 miles from Townsend. This 2000 acre open air museum depicts the lifestyles of our early mountain settlers. Cades Cove is traversed by an 11 mile loop road. Many old homesteads and churches are visible from your car. There are plenty of pull-offs and hiking trails. Bicycles may be rented at the Bike Shop. The loop road is closed to autos on Wednesdays and Saturdays, early May till late September, from sunrise until 10 a.m. and also, in December, Saturdays from sunrise until noon. During these time it is bicycles only.


Little River
Little River Little River, one of our nation's purest watersheds, offers some of the South's finest trout fishing. The scenic route 73 Little River Road follows the river from Townsend to the Sugarland Visitors Center. With picnic areas, hiking trails, scenic overlooks, and photo vistas everywhere, this is one of the gems of the Smokies.


Tuckaleechee Caverns
 A wonderful series of underground rooms and tunnels - with ceilings as high as 150 feet and some rooms are 400 feet long with stalagmites and stalactites growing from ceilings and floors. It contains waterfalls, streams and has a constant natural temperature of 58 degrees.


The Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center
 The Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center is dedicated to preserving the culture and history of East Tennessean mountain communities. The Center is home to many Native American artifacts, as well as family possessions of the first European settlers to the area. The Transportation Gallery houses several different vehicles over 100 years old, as well as tools and machinery used in road building. The property also boasts various historic structures, including log homes, a cantilever barn, smokehouse and wheelwright shop, where guests can visualize life in the mountains long ago. You will often find costumed docents and skilled craftsmen telling the story of times past.


Little River Railroad and Lumber Company Museum
 Original trains and memorabilia from the days when Townsend was a logging community. Located on Hwy. 321 in the middle of Townsend.

The Little River Railroad and Lumber Company, Inc. was organized to preserve the history and artifacts from the former Little River Railroad and the Little River Lumber Company which carried out intense logging activities and opened up access to the area over a period of nearly 40 years beginning in 1900. Although this important part of the history of this area is preserved at the museum in Townsend, there is little other visible evidence left today in the Smokies of the operations of these companies.


Laurel Valley Golf Course
 An 18 Hole course on some of the finest turf. Designed by Ed Ault with Penncross Bent Greens Vamont Bermuda Fairways. Panoramic mountain views. Open 7 days a week.


Foothills Parkway
 The Foothills Parkway provides some beautiful views of the Smokies - especially in the fall color season. A section of the Parkway begins near Walland, just outside Townsend, and extends 17 miles along the crest of Chilhowee Mountain to Chilhowee Lake. There are numerous scenic pull-offs along the way - including one at Look Rock, where an observation tower provides a panoramic 360-degree view of mountains and valley. Chilhowee Lake, at the southern end of the Parkway provides great fishing, canoeing and kayaking.