Great Smoky Mountains National Park
|the Foothills Parkway
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||The Foothills Parkway skirts the Great Smoky
Mountain National Park's northern side. Only three sections are currently open to vehicle
traffic. Due to funding and legislative difficulties, the ultimate status of the parkway
remains uncertain. Despite political disappointments, the Foothills Parkway's open
sections provide beautiful views of the Park and surrounding country. Completed sections
of the Foothills Parkway are open year-round, weather permitting. Uncompleted sections are
open to pedestrians, bicyclists, and equestrians.
Halfway along the segment, a trail leads to the Look Rock Tower (pictured). It is a third of a mile from the road. The trail makes a moderate climb. The tower provides a 360-degree panorama, and a platform for scientific research such as air quality. Sunsets from the tower are often spectacular.
The Foothills Land Conservancy (outside theBlountWeb!) is an organization dedicated to creating a buffer zone along the Park's northern tier. Their efforts include obtaining scenic easements, working with local developers to conserve the area's scenery and traditional land use, and buying land for preservation.