Description - Newfound Gap is the lowest drivable pass through the Great Smoky Mountains. It stands at an elevation of 5,048 feet. The gap captures the essence of the Smokeys: like the Park it lies half in Tennessee and half in North Carolina. Set atop this high ridge, it provides wonderful mountain views. Clothed in a mixture of spruce-fir and northern hardwood forests it supports a wide variety of plant and animal life.
Newfound Gap's recognition as the lowest pass through the Smoky Mountains did not come until 1872. Arnold Henry Guyot, a Swiss geographer tenured at Princeton University, measured many Southern Appalachian elevations. Mt. Guyot, the second highest peak in the Smokeys, takes his name. To get his data he used a simple barometer to measure air pressure changes. In most cases he was within 2-3% of current values. His work revealed Newfound Gap as the lowest pass through the mountains displacing nearby Indian Gap. A new road followed and it became the forerunner of Newfound Gap Road.
- Millions of people drive through Newfound Gap every year. Also at Newfound Gap is the Rockefeller Memorial. A two-tiered stone structure, this monument is a thank you to the Rockefeller family's $5 million donation to complete land acquisition in the park. Without this generous gift, the dream of a Great Smoky Mountains National Park would remain unfulfilled.
The Appalachian Trail crosses Newfound Gap Road at Newfound Gap, and its old roadbed, abandoned in the early 1960s, provides additional walking opportunities.
Recreation - Newfound Gap offers hiking and scenery viewing opportunities.
Climate - Tennessee has a temperate climate with short, mild winters. The average annual snowfall for the state is 12 inches. Spring comes in early March bringing flowering trees and shrubs, and warmer weather. Spring temperatures average between 45 and 70 degrees F. Summers full force arrives in the region by mid May, bringing warm weather and higher humidity. The mountains of eastern Tennessee are a great place to escape the hot summer temperatures as the higher elevation cools the air slightly. Cooling fall temperatures bring crisp air and brilliant foliage colors. Mid to late October is a good time to visit the region to experience the fall color change.
Newfound Gap is located approximately eight miles south of Gatlinburg, Tennessee, along Newfound Gap Road.