Townsend Wye

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Smoky Mountains, Tennessee

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Townsend Wye


  • Located on the Townsend, Tennessee, side of the Smokies, the Wye is located just inside of the park boundary.- Townsend Wye
  • A favorite among visitors and locals, on a hot summer day the Wye is filled with visitors.- Townsend Wye
  • Gather friends and family and take a dip in the cold mountain water.- Townsend Wye
  • Take an early morning hike and cool off on your way out of the park.- Townsend Wye
  • Alcohol is prohibited at the Wye. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics when visiting.- Townsend Wye
  • A perfect spot for families, the Wye is located just down the road from the KOA and other local campgrounds.- Townsend Wye
  • On summer days, the parking area fills up quickly. Arrive early to secure a spot!- Townsend Wye
  • Bring your own tube or rent a tube from one of the many local companies in Townsend.- Townsend Wye
Overview + Weather
Cool stream. Easy access. Tubing.
Smoky Mountains, TN
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Current Local Weather:
Adventure Description

Adventure Description


If you've ever been to the "Quiet Side of the Smokies," you've heard of and seen the Townsend Wye. Also known as the Townsend Y, this special spot in Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most popular swimming hole in the park.

With that said, the most popular swimming hole in the most-visited national park in the National Park Service is not the place to go if you're looking for solitude. Located just inside of the park boundary, you'll find this loved spot where the road splits, creating a Y. To go right will take you to Cades Cove; to go left will take you through the park to Newfound Gap or Gatlinburg.

Park in the parking area to your left, which leads to an ice-cold mountain river and a non-stop summer celebration in the Smokies. Parking fills up quickly on a hot southern summer day, when the mountains start calling those looking for an adventure.

Grab a local Townsend watermelon or boiled peanuts from a farmer on the roadside. Hang out and picnic. Take the family and let the kids splash in the stream, and make a bet with friends on how many jumps you can get in before the sun goes down. Bring a tube or rent one and hitch a ride from the multiple local river-rat stops for a lazy ride down the river. Cool off after a long summer hike, maybe to the infamous Rocky Top. Go for a run or an 11-mile bike ride around Cades Cove and wrap up the day with a swim. Then, on your way out, grab a bite to eat at one of the locals' favorites, the Riverstone Restaurant or the Burger Master Drive-In, or grab a Mountain Man Brûlée at the Artistic Bean.

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Field Guide

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Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(8 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(34 within a 30 mile radius)

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