At the edge of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park lies the idyllic area of Wears Valley, TN. Also known as Wear Valley, it is an unincorporated community of around 7,000 year-round residents. Tourist season brings many more people to the area to visit the park and nearby Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg.
Pigeon Forge is to the northeast, Gatlinburg is to the east, and the National Park is to the southeast. While most tourists head to the park entrance near Gatlinburg, Wears Valley has its own entrance to the park that is less crowded. Here you can hop on one of the two major hiking trails into the park - Metcalf Bottoms and Laurel Falls.
The valley itself is 3 miles wide and 5 miles long. It’s higher in elevation than the other towns, which makes the climate slightly cooler. This is a big advantage in the hot, humid summers of Tennessee. The higher in elevation you go, the cooler the air, so even if it gets hot in your home or in the town, you can head up into the mountains and forest for relief.
Wears Valley is the bigger town of the three near the Smoky Mountains, and it’s the quietest. The main street has several businesses and restaurants that offer unique experiences for locals and tourists alike.
Road 321, also known as Wears Valley Rd, runs through the middle of the town. Many shops and restaurants are right on this road. There are pottery places, gift shops, things to do, food trucks, wineries, distilleries, and other artisans.
The area is quiet and peaceful, and the Smoky Mountains are visible from almost everywhere. Wears Valley is in the middle of some Smoky Mountain peaks, including Bell Top, Davis Mountain, Buckeye Knob, Tilda High Top, and Roundtop.
Wears Valley is about 30 miles from Knoxville, so it’s conceivable to commute for work or for a bigger city's cultural appeal. Nashville, Charlotte, and Atlanta are between three and four hours away - good for a weekend trip.
Homes for Sale in Wears Valley, TN
Wears Valley has several home options, including mountain cabins, spacious farmlands, and forested lots in which to build your dream home. There are homes closer to the main town and homes up into the hills. Homes range from around 1,400 square feet to over 3,500 square feet.
The Foothills Parkway has made Wears Valley more popular, and log cabins suit the landscape. People purchase investment properties, vacation homes, retirement homes, and permanent residences.
Living in Wears Valley means living in the municipality of Sevierville. There are some gated communities and some secluded homes at the end of a road with views to die for. The road to your home might meander up steep roads with curves and switchbacks. There are homes set on several acres and homes where your neighbors are close.
While log homes are popular, you will find many different styles - from modern to rustic, quaint to majestic.
Things to Do in Wears Valley
Besides having one of the three main entrances to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and great views of the smoky mountains wherever you look, Wears Valley has something fun for everyone. Here are some of the top things to do in Wears Valley.
Elvira's is a favorite restaurant among the locals. The menu includes crepes, pancakes, and sandwiches. From Tuesday through Sunday, they serve breakfast and lunch. Friday and Saturday bring dinner specials of down-home southern comfort food.
- Wears Valley Zip Lines
What better way to experience the mountains than by Wears Valley Zipline Adventures through the tree branches! You are 275 feet off the group zipping from one station to the other.
- Headrick Chapel
This historic chapel was built in 1902 and is now on the National Register of Historic Places. Tennessee is in the middle of the bible belt and this chapel is a perfect place to see the history and take in the views.
- Friendly Falls Gem Mine
Many people throughout the years have dreamed of striking it rich in them there hills. Legend has it that Cherokee Indians buried gold in Wears Valley. Friendly Falls lets you experience mining creek-side, shop at a crafts store,, and dine at a restaurant. And yes, there is even a private waterfall on the property.
- Country Legends Rediscovered Museum
Nashville is a music city, but the roots of country and bluegrass music happened in the mountains. This museum pays tribute to some of country music’s legends.
- PawPaw’s Catfish Kitchen
For a true southern meal visit PawPaw's Catfish Kitchen and enjoy fried catfish, gumbo, jambalaya, and crawfish. It’s off the main road and will make you think you’ve gone to New Orleans for dinner.
- Harper Bros. General Merchandise Store
At Harper Bros. you’ll find home decor, antiques, souvenirs, jams, clothing, books, and the perfect unique gift for that someone special.
- Wears Valley Farmers Market
Head to the farmer’s market for fresh produce, boiled peanuts, kettle corn, homemade jams, and fresh soaps. It’s the perfect way to buy local and support the local artisans and farmers who call Wears Valley home.
- Wears Valley Music Barn
In an old-fashioned red barn, you can relax and enjoy live country and bluegrass music by local artists. It’s the perfect way to end a work day, a day of hiking, or for no reason other than to enjoy the sounds.
Moving to Wears Valley
Wears Valley is a peaceful locale in eastern Tennessee. It’s perfect for those who want to get away from the bustle of big cities. You can make their home here and commute to Knoxville. You can purchase a home here and rent it out to tourists. You can make this your retirement destination.
Whatever your reason, you will find Wears Valley a beautiful place to call home. You’ll find a sense of community and southern hospitality in the “Jewel of the Smokies.”