Greenbrier is one of the great off-the-beaten-path areas of the park. It
is generally not very crowded, but boasts some of the best spring
wildflower viewing and one of the best waterfalls (Ramsay Cascades)
in the Smokies.
The six mile, mostly gravel, Greenbrier Road starts at Highway 321 about
6 miles east of Gatlinburg. It follows the river past the ranger station,
the picnic area, the Ramsay Cascades trailhead, and dead ends at the
Porters Creek trailhead.
Best times to visit
Greenbrier is one of the best places to view spring wildflowers. Peak months
for wildflowers in Greenbrier are March and April.
Greenbrier not as busy as some other areas in the park, making it a
great place to visit in peak tourist times such as during the leaf changing
season in mid to late October or weekends in the summer.
Greenbrier is located very near Cosby, TN. Click on the graphic below for
complete weather information and a forcast for the Cosby and Greenbrier areas.
Best Hiking in Greenbrier
Two popular hiking trails start in the Greenbrier area:
Porters Creek trail is one of the the best hikes in the Smokies for
spring wildflowers. It starts with an easy 1 mile gravel path that is
wide and great for families or groups. After the 1 mile point, the trail
is still well maintained, but narrow and no longer gravel. Continue
another mile to Fern Branch Falls and then another 1.7 miles to the end of
Porters Creek trail. The trailhead is at the end of Greenbrier
Road, about 4 miles from Hwy 321.
Ramsay Cascades is one of the most impressive waterfalls in the
Smokies. The hike is a moderate 8 mile round trip through one of the
largest virgin forests in the park. To reach the trailhead, turn onto
Greenbrier Road from Hwy 321, go 3.2 miles, turn left at the sign to
Ramsay Cascades, go 1.5 miles until the road dead ends at the trailhead.
Picnicing at Greenbrier
The relatively small picnic area at Greenbrier is located 3 miles off of
highway 321 on Greenbrier road. The first mile is paved, the next 2 miles
are gravel. It has picnic tables and
grills. There is a parking area and restooms at the picnic area. In addition
to the picnic area, there are infinite places to spread out a blanket and
have a picnic if you don't need a picnic table or grill.
Restrooms with running water and flush toilets are available in the picnic
Directions to Greenbrier
From Gatlinburg, take U.S. Highway 321 for 6 miles to Greenbrier. Turn right
onto Greenbrier Rd at the sign pointing to Greenbrier. Greenbrier Road is
5 miles long. The first mile is paved, the last 4 miles are gravel.
Click on the link below for directions from other locations.
Rescue in the Wild is a wonderful children's novel
set in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It is a fictional
book, but gives great information about the national park while
telling an entertaining story.