The Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community is centered along an historic 8-mile loop which winds through pretty countryside and is lined with studios and shops for a myriad of artisans.
Find out why so many love the Smoky Mountains Arts and Crafts Loop.
This Smoky Mountain Arts and Crafts Loop—woodworkers, jewelers, potters, glassblowers and more—is the largest group of independent artisans in North America. Established in 1937, this creative group of working artists not only sells their work but shares information about their particular craft with all who visit.
Over 100 of the Gatlinburg area’s finest artisans are waiting to share what they do and how they do it. After learning more about a particular art form, whether it’s rocking chair construction or glass blowing, its exciting to know you can have a piece of Tennessee back at home to remind you of its strong craft heritage.
Many of the artists have deep roots in the area. Ogles Broom Shop, for example, is home to a family of third generation broom makers. Their charming store offers handmade brooms for sale, but also sells finely crafted hiking sticks and walking canes, with custom carvings available.
Interested in a custom mantle for your fireplace? You could get it along the Smoky Mountain Arts and Craft Loop, at Heartwood Galleries. Jeff Hales Future Relics shop holds his beautiful jewelry, made of sterling silver, natural stone and vintage beads.
Licklog Hollow Baskets speak to the rustic heritage of the Smoky Mountain people, while the venerable Gary McCoy hand-tools leather belts and wallets at his Real McCoy leather shop. One of the more notable offerings along the Smoky Mountain Arts and Crafts Loop is Genuine Alewine Pottery, hand thrown by Robert Alewine.
Baxter’s has been generating smiles for 27 years with its stained glass night lights, window panels, candle holders and sun catchers. Visitors can watch the artists making stained glass.
Keep your eyes open as you explore the Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Trail, and you never know what you’ll find. Goods produced along the route include dolls, ceramics, scrimshaw, wearable fashions, photography, fine art and quilts, to name a few.
There are also plenty of eateries in which to have a snack, whether you want a full meal, a chocolate malt, or a handful of candy. And of course, the Trail is so close to Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, you can drive down it any time you have a few free hours.
If you enter the Smoky Mountain Arts and Crafts Loop on its eastern side, off Highway 454, the entrance point is only six miles from Pigeon Forge. The trail’s western entrance at Glades Road is clearly marked on Gatlinburg’s Highway 321. There are large signs and a stoplight which you can use to find your way.
It would easily be possible to spend an entire day or two shopping and visiting with all the craftsmen and artists along the Smoky Mountain Arts and Crafts Loop. Best of all, the entire adventure is free, and there’s sometimes live music happening in certain spots. The Alewine Pottery shop has a small stage outside which hosts bluegrass bands on summer weekends.
Most of the shops along the Trail open their doors at 10 am, and close around 5. Easy from both Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, tours of the Loop will be a highlight of your vacation in the mountains. The beautiful MountainLoft resort is practically a stone’s throw from the western entrance to the Arts & Crafts Trail.
Get ready to meet some of the friendliest folks in Tennessee, and be prepared to fall in love with at least a few hand-crafted keepsakes from the Loop.
Written By: Joseph Torraca