The Ben Morton Overlook in the Smoky Mountains
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a natural wonder that spans over 800 square miles in the states of Tennessee and North Carolina. The park is known for its diverse landscape, including lush forests, wildflowers, and cascading waterfalls. One of the most popular spots in the park is the Morton Overlook, a breathtaking viewpoint that offers panoramic views of the surrounding valley and mountains.
Getting to Ben Morton Overlook
Physical Address: 4438 Newfound Gap Road, Gatlinburg, TN 37738
GPS Coordinates: 35.616965, -83.422783
The Morton Overlook is located on the Newfound Gap Road (US-441/TN-71), which runs through the center of the park. The overlook is located between Newfound Gap and the Morton Mountain Tunnel, near the dead center of the park.
The closest National Park entrance is the Sugarlands Visitor Center, 13 miles north on the northern and Tennessee side of the park.
The parking area is located on the side of the road, but people usually don’t stay long. There are spots for maybe 6 vehicles, but generally, it is empty. In fact, if you’re driving by, you’ll most likely miss it as it is a very unassuming spot… that is until you look out over the valley.
If the parking area is full, there are a few other quick pull-off areas along Newfound Gap Road that offer similar viewpoints. None will be quite as good as Ben Morton’s Overlook, but fantastic none-the-less.
What You’ll See at Ben Morton Overlook
Once you reach the overlook, you will be greeted with stunning views of the Great Smoky Mountains. The viewpoint offers a panoramic view of the surrounding peaks, including Mt. LeConte off to your right. The overlook is also a great spot to see the fall foliage as the leaves turn brilliant shades of orange, yellow, and red. You can also see the Newfound Gap Road winding through the mountains in the valley below.
There are no trailheads at the Morton Overlook, but there are several nearby trails that offer great hiking opportunities.
Other Attractions Near Ben Morton Overlook
One of the most popular trails is the Appalachian Trail, which can be easily accessed via the Newfound Gap parking area, which is less than 1 mile south of the Ben Morton Overlook. This parking area also straddles the Tennessee-North Carolina state line. The Laura Spelman Rockefeller Memorial is also located beside this parking lot, and is where President Theodore Roosevelt dedicated Great Smoky Mountains National Park on September 2, 1940.
Just south of the Newfound Gap parking area is Clingmans Dome Road. Clingmans Dome is one of the most popular spots in the park, but its road is closed to vehicles December 1–March 31 every year. At 6,643 feet, Clingmans Dome is the highest point in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It is the highest point in Tennessee, and the third-highest mountain east of the Mississippi. Clingmans Dome is 8 miles/20 minutes away from the overlook.
Weather in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Fall is a particularly beautiful time to visit The Smokies, with the leaves turning brilliant shades of orange, yellow, and red. The Ben Morton Overlook is a particularly great place to see the leaves.
Winter can bring snow and icy conditions, but it also offers the opportunity to see the park’s frozen waterfalls and to enjoy winter sports such as cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Spring is a great time to see the wildflowers and the park’s diverse bird population. The Newfound Gap Road is not closed during winter, so the overlook should always be accessible – albeit (maybe) a bit icy.
Spring sees the most rain, and daytime highs in the 50s and 60s. The most visitors show up in Summer, with almost 2 million people seeing the Smoky Mountains in July each year. Summer temps are in the 80s and 90s, and frequent thunderstorms are common.
Overall, the Morton Overlook is a great 10-minute stop for anyone driving through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The stunning views, nearby trails, and nearby points of significance make it a great spot to explore and appreciate the natural beauty of the park.