Sign Up
Newsletter Signup
Free Fodor's Newsletter

Subscribe today for weekly travel inspiration, tips, and special offers.

Passport: Your weekly travel wrap-up
Today's Departure: Your daily dose of travel inspiration

Great Smoky Mtns. National Park Sights

Parson Branch Road

  • Parsons Cove Rd. Map It
  • Townsend
  • Scenic Drive/Tour

Updated 10/13/2014

Fodor's Review

This 8-mi unpaved road follows a wagon track that has been used for more than 150 years. Some believe that Parson Branch and the road were named for ministers (parsons) who held religious retreats nearby, but others believe they were named for Joshua Parson, an early settler in the area. The road begins at the southwestern edge of Cades Cove Loop Road just beyond the visitor center at Cable Mill and comes out on U.S. 129. It is one-way from Cades Cove to U.S. 129. Although

unpaved, it doesn't require four-wheel drive except after heavy rains, when a few sections may become flooded or muddy. A few areas are rocky, so avoid this road if you have a low-slung car with little ground clearance. It offers no scenic vistas, but it runs through old-growth forests, with huge poplars and hemlocks (many dead from alien insect infestation) along the roadway. To get back to the Townsend area, turn right as you come to U.S. 129, go about 10 mi on 129, and then take the 17.5-mi western portion of the Foothills Parkway back to U.S. 321. Parson Branch Road is closed mid-November to mid-March and sunset to sunrise. RVs prohibited on this road.

Read More

Sight Information


Parsons Cove Rd., Townsend, Tennessee, 37882, United States

Map It


Sight Details:

  • Closed mid-Nov.–mid-Mar. and sunset to sunrise

Updated 10/13/2014


Map View

Map of

What's Nearby

  • Hotels
  • Restaurants
  • Sights

See all sights in Great Smoky Mtns. National Park

Add Your Own Review

When did you go?

Minimum 200 character count

How many stars would you give?




Don't Miss