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The Ultimate Guide to Great Smoky Mountains National Park — Best Things To Do, See & Enjoy!

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Amar Hussain
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Amar Hussain

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Great Smoky Mountains National Park is shared by Tennessee and North Carolina and sprawls over half a million acres of lush green forests, trickling streams, majestic mountains, and vast valleys. This park brings in over 14 million visitors each year who want to discover the beauty and adventure of this incredible park.

How To Get to Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Where Is Great Smoky Mountains National Park?

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is located on the border of Tennessee and North Carolina. This massive park stretches over 522,427 acres of mountains, lush forests, streams, and valleys. This incredible park is bursting with wildlife, plant life, and exciting adventures to be experienced.

Nearest Airports to Great Smoky Mountains National Park

There are 4 airports in close proximity to Great Smoky Mountains National Park:

  • Asheville Regional Airport (AVL) — 42 miles
  • McGhee Tyson Airport (TYS) — 43 miles
  • Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport (GSP) — 105 miles
  • Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) — 146 miles

Take a look at 2 of the most popular airports for arriving at Great Smoky Mountains National Park to help you select the best option for your national park vacation.

Asheville Regional Airport

The closest commercial airport to Great Smoky Mountains National Park is Asheville Regional Airport, located in Asheville, North Carolina. This airport is about a 1-hour drive from the Cherokee entrance of the park.

Asheville Regional Airport offers easy connection flights to and from hundreds of cities worldwide. This airport services many major airlines, including American, Allegiant, Delta, and United.

McGhee Tyson Airport

McGhee Tyson Airport is located in Knoxville, Tennessee, and is the closest major airport to Great Smoky Mountains National.

This airport is 43 miles from Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s Gatlinburg entrance. It takes a little over an hour to drive to the park from this airport. McGhee Tyson Airport offers nonstop flights to dozens of major U.S. cities and services many popular airlines, including American, Delta, Allegiant, and United.

Driving to Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Driving to Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Image Credit: Manuel RB via Unsplash

There are 3 entrances for arriving at Great Smoky Mountains National Park: the Gatlinburg, Tennessee entrance, the Townsend, Tennessee entrance, and the Cherokee, North Carolina entrance. Your route to this national park will be determined by the area you are traveling from. Below you will find the routes for driving to each entrance of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Cherokee Entrance

From the north, those arriving at the Cherokee entrance will take I-40 exit 27 to US-74 West toward Waynesville. Turning onto US-19 and then through Maggie Valley to Cherokee. US-441 North at Cherokee will lead to the park’s entrance.

Visitors from the south will follow US-441/US-23 North and merge onto US-74 West/US-441. Merge onto US-441 at exit 74. This will lead to the park’s entrance.

Gatlinburg Entrance

For visitors arriving at the Gatlinburg entrance, take I-40 exit 407 to TN-66 South. Continue straight onto US-441 at the Sevierville intersection. This road will lead through Sevierville and Pigeon Forge into the park.

Townsend Entrance

Visitors from I-40 North will take exit 386 B to US-129 South to Alcoa/Maryville. Once in Maryville, take US-321 North/TN-73 East through Townsend, which will bring you into the park.

Those from the south will take exit 376 to I-40 East towards Oak Ridge/Maryville. Take I-140E from exit 376B toward Maryville. Turn onto US-129 South at exit 11A and travel toward Alcoa. Take TN-35 and follow it to US-321 and follow through Townsend and into the park.

Getting Around Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Taking your own car is the best way to get around Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Unfortunately, there aren’t any types of public transportation throughout the park. Other ways to get around this park are on foot or by bicycle.

Hot Tip: The National Park Service offers several different types of printable and interactive maps to help you navigate through this massive park.

What To See and Do in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains is thriving with opportunities for adventure. This national park is perfect for any visitor, whether they enjoy an exciting outdoor experience or view the sights from their car’s comfort. Let’s discover the most popular activities in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Auto Touring

Great Smoky National Park has 384 miles of roads that wind through the park. Touring the park in the comfort of your own vehicle allows you to experience the wonder and beauty of the Smokies at your own pace. There are panoramic views, mountain streams, historic buildings, and mature forests to be explored.

Most of the roads are paved, but some are made of gravel. Some favorite roads to tour are Cades Cove Loop Road, Cataloochee Valley, Foothills Parkway, and Roaring Fork. The visitor centers have booklets available to use as tour guides as you explore. The numbered posts and landmarks tell about the history, plants, and wildlife seen in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Bicycling

Cycling through Great Smoky Mountains National Park is an adventurous way to explore the park. Most of the roads in the park are accessible by bicycle, but many roads are not suited for bicycle riding. The exception to this is Cades Cove Loop Road. This road is an 11-mile one-way road that is perfect for cycling.

There are plenty of chances to spot the wildlife that makes their home in the park and tour the historic homesites from the 19th century.

Fall Colors

Fall Colors in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Image Credit: K. Plaas via NPS

Visiting Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the fall is a remarkable experience. This is one of the busiest times of the year due to the gorgeous fall colors and crisp weather.

Several scenic drives and hikes take visitors along trails where the beauty of the trees and the colors are showcased in full glory. Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail provides breathtaking views of the vibrant fall foliage.

For those who want to experience this grandeur on foot, the Appalachian Trail, Inspiration Point on Alum Cave Trail, and Look Rock Tower are some popular hikes for taking in the views.

Fishing

Great Smoky Mountains National Park has approximately 2,900 miles of streams inside its property. The park protects wild trout, as it is one of the last wild habitats in the eastern U.S. This park is a fisherman’s paradise as there are various places to cast a line and abundant trout species, rock bass, and smallmouth bass.

Bottom Line: Fishing is permitted year-round at Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Hiking

Hiking is one of the most popular activities for visitors to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Hikes can be enjoyed year-long in the park.

Winter hiking offers incredible views that can only be seen when the trees are bare. Springtime hikes feature fields of wildflowers and trees in bloom. Summer hikes through the forest and near the streams provide relief from the heat. Fall is one of the most magnificent times to visit and appreciate the trees changing colors.

The most popular hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park include Alum Cave Bluffs, Rainbow Falls, Chimney Tops, and Charlies Bunion. There are hikes for all ages and abilities at Great Smoky National Park.

Historic Buildings

Over 90 historic structures in Great Smoky Mountains National Park include barns, houses, churches, schools, outbuildings, and gristmills. These buildings have been preserved or restored in the park.

Many historic buildings can be seen at Cataloochee, Cades Cove, Oconaluftee, and along the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. Some of these buildings include Noah “Bud” Ogle Cabin, Caldwell House, Palmer Chapel, and Little Cataloochee Church. Booklets are available in the visitor centers to help you learn as you explore these historic places in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Ranger-led Events

Great Smoky Mountains National Park hosts various ranger-led events throughout the year to help you to learn more about the park’s history, culture, and wildlife. Some of these well-known popular events include the Wildflower Pilgrimage, Music of the Mountains, Smokies Harvest Celebration, Holiday Homecoming, Festival of Christmas Past, and Junior Ranger Day.

These events feature hands-on activities, demonstrations, storytelling, and more. This is a great way to spend time at Great Smoky Mountains National Park and learn about the park and area while participating in exciting events.

Wildlife Viewing

Elk in a field of flowers in the Great Smoky Mountains
Image Credit: Delaney Van via Unsplash

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is home to a wide variety of wildlife. Spotting wildlife can be tricky as most of the park is covered by lush forest, but if you know where to look, you can spot plenty of animals.

Cades Cove and Cataloochee are open areas in the park where many animals can be seen, including elk, black bears, white-tailed deer, woodchucks, turkeys, and raccoons. The best auto tour where wildlife can be viewed is the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, where many black bears have been seen.

Hot Tip: The best time to see black bears is early in the morning and the evening when they are more active.

Workshops and Classes

Several organizations partner with Great Smoky Mountains National Park to provide various educational and adventure programs for visitors of all ages to enjoy.

One of the most popular workshops and classes includes Smoky Mountain Field School, where families get to hike and learn about the area’s wildlife, plants, and early people. These workshops are an excellent way to learn and explore Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Best Times To Visit Great Smoky Mountains National Park

A trip to Great Smoky Mountains National Park is always an excellent idea, but if you are hoping for particular experiences, it is essential to research the best times to visit. Whether you are hoping for a winter vacation or to see the wildlife in the park, there are ideal times to plan a visit. Let’s look at some of the best times to visit Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Best Time To Visit Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Winter

Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Winter
Image Credit: Wes Hicks via Unsplash

For those hoping to see a winter wonderland at Great Smoky Mountains National, the best winter month to visit is January. January has excellent temperatures averaging 48 degrees, no crowds, and incredible discounts at nearby attractions. There are several winter activities available during this month and views that can’t be seen at any other time during the year due to the bare trees.

Best Time To Visit Great Smoky Mountains National Park To Avoid the Crowds

If you are hoping for a more solitary experience at Great Smoky Mountains National Park, January is the best month to visit. There are plenty of activities to enjoy in the park this month, including hiking and scenic drives. The only busy weekend in January is the long weekend celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr., but the rest of the month is very calm.

Best Time To Visit Great Smoky Mountains National Park for Wildlife

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is an incredible place to view wildlife. There are several times during the year when the wildlife is most active, but if you are looking for the best time to visit to see the animals who make their home in the park, you should plan a trip in June. Baby deer are being born at this time in the park, and the likelihood of seeing bears is high during June.

Cheapest Time To Visit Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Traveling can be expensive, so visiting during the off-season is a great way to save hundreds of dollars. The cheapest time to visit Great Smoky Mountains National Park is early to mid-September.

In September, the park sees a drastic reduction in the number of visitors with school returning to session. There are also price reductions for flights and accommodations, which can really add up.

Annual Events in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Many events occur in and near Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Whether you enjoy wildlife adventures, music festivals, or cultural events, there’s an event calling your name in this beautiful park. Let’s explore some of the top events in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Mountain Life Festival

Mountain Farm Museum and Mingus Mill
Image Credit: Warren Bielenberg via NPS

Mountain Life Festival takes place on the third Saturday in September each year. This festival is held at the Mountain Farm Museum in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Visitors can participate in traditional fall activities such as apple butter making, lye soap making, food preservation, hearth cooking, and more. There are also artifacts and historic photographs on display for visitors to view. One of the highlights of this festival includes music jam sessions on the porch of the Oconaluftee Visitor Center.

Old Timers’ Day

Old Timers’ Day takes place each September in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This event is held in Cades Cove, an area rich in cultural history and wildlife. Visitors can participate in molasses making and listen to stories of the history of those who have settled in this area of the Smokies.

Over 4,000 visitors come to Old Timers’ Day each year. This free event is a wonderful way to learn about the area’s history and participate in exciting activities and experience the traditional mountain music of the area.

Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage

The Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage is a 5-day event in April each year. This event has been taking place for 70+ years in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage features a variety of guided walks and exhibits that teach about the Smoky Mountain region’s rich culture and natural resources.

Pilgrims from over 40 states gather in the park to learn about wildflowers, trees, fungi, ferns, medicinal plants, insects, and other animal species. Participants can also participate in journalling, photography, art, and learning about the history of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Sunset at Clingmans Dome
Image Credit: Ivana Cajina via Unsplash

Where To Stay in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

There is an abundance of accommodations in and near Great Smoky Mountains National Park. From camping opportunities inside the park to lively towns a short distance from the park, there are plenty of lodging options for your national park vacation.

Whatever your heart desires while traveling, you can rest assured that you will find precisely what you are looking for in and near Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Inside the Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park has plenty of options for visitors who want to stay in the park. From rustic lodges to camping under the stars, there’s no shortage of unique opportunities at this national park. Let’s explore the options for lodging in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Backcountry Camping

Backcountry camping is an incredible way to experience Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Over 800 miles of trails offer hikers an abundance of sites for setting up camp for the night.

If you decide to take advantage of the backcountry camping opportunities in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, a permit is required. These permits can be obtained at any park ranger station, campground, or visitor center.

Bottom Line: Backcountry camping offers adventurers a rustic outdoor experience of a lifetime.

Frontcountry Camping

Frontcountry camping is an option for those who want a camping experience with some amenities. Great Smoky Mountains National Park has 10 developed frontcountry campgrounds with plenty to offer visitors. The most popular campgrounds include Cades Cove and Elkmont campgrounds.

Camping is available year-round at Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Some campgrounds are open seasonally, but Cades Cove and Smokemont Campgrounds are open year-long.

Several campsites for tent camping and RV camping are available in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The campgrounds have restrooms with running water and flush toilets. Each campsite provides a fire grate and a picnic table.

Camping in one of the developed campgrounds is an excellent way to enjoy the great outdoors with amenities that make the camping experience more pleasant.

LeConte Lodge

LeConte Lodge is located at the top of Mount LeConte inside Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This is the highest lodge in the Eastern U.S. at an elevation of 6,400 feet. LeConte Lodge is the only option for lodging indoors. The lodge is accessible only by hiking. There are 5 trails leading to the lodge, ranging from 5 to 9 miles.

The ambiance of LeConte Lodge is calm, with a focus on relaxation and rejuvenation. Guest rooms at LeConte Lodge are hand-built log cabins with primitive touches such as kerosene lanterns, washbasins, and rocking chairs. This is the perfect place to step back in time and enjoy the peace and tranquility that nature brings. It’s truly a place to disconnect since there is no electricity.

LeConte Lodge is an icon of Great Smoky Mountains National Park and offers spectacular views of the mountains. A stay at LaConte Lodge offers the ultimate Great Smoky Mountain Experience.

Other Types of Campgrounds

Group campgrounds and horse camps are available at Great Smoky Mountains National Park. These campgrounds offer opportunities for large groups traveling together and places for visitors with horses to set up camp for the night.

There are 7 areas where groups can camp in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. These campgrounds are located in the front country campgrounds, including Big Creek, Cades Code, Cataloochee, Elkmont, and more.

The group campgrounds can accommodate groups of 8 or more. Utilizing these group campgrounds is a great way to vacation with friends and family and experience all the Smokies has to offer.

Horse camps are small campgrounds that offer a place for horses to be hitched. There are 5 drive-in horse camps available in the park. These camps provide easy access to the backcountry trails.

Towns Near Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Whether looking for a quiet place to retreat and relax or a city filled with excitement and entertainment, you can find exactly what you are looking for in the towns near Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Let’s look at the top 3 towns for lodging near this national park and see which town sounds best for your park vacation.

Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

Pigeon Forge is a mountain town in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains. The city is brimming with attractions and shows and has endless lodging, dining, and shopping opportunities. This town brings in 10 million visitors each year. Pigeon Forge is only 12 miles from Great Smoky Mountains National Park, making it a great place to stay.

Pigeon Forge has a variety of incredible lodging options. From chain hotels to family-owned cabins and chalets to luxury condos, you can find just what you are looking for in Pigeon Forge. You can choose to stay on the Strip where all the excitement takes place or off the beaten path in the secluded mountains.

Food enthusiasts are in for a treat in Pigeon Forge. Dinner shows are a popular dining experience for tourists. Other popular dining experiences include pancake houses and buffets that feature southern cuisine and comfort food.

The entertainment and recreation scenes are incredible in Pigeon Forge. From Dollywood to miniature golf to go-kart race tracks to extreme outdoor adventures like whitewater rafting and ziplining, the possibilities for fun never end. Theater shows and music performances also bring lots of visitors to Pigeon Forge.

Bottom Line: Pigeon Forge is the ideal location to set up a home base during your Great Smoky Mountains National Park vacation. There are plenty of opportunities for adventure and excitement right next to the park.

Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Gatlinburg Tennessee
Image Credit: Fernando González via Pixabay

Gatlinburg is the closest town to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This town is less than 2 miles away, just a 5-minute drive. There are hundreds of attractions and endless opportunities for lodging and dining. Gatlinburg is the perfect home away from home during your national park vacation. This town brings in over 11 million visitors each year.

There is a wide variety of lodging options available, including hotels, motels, campgrounds, and condos. Many families and groups prefer staying in a cabin or chalet in the mountains. Whatever you are looking for, you will find excellent accommodations in Gatlinburg.

Adventures galore are waiting for you in Gatlinburg. Plenty of outdoor adventures, kid-friendly attractions, and scenic attractions draw visitors to the city year after year. Popular activities in Gatlinburg include miniature golf, museums, and thrilling activities like whitewater rafting, mountain roller coasters, and aerial tram rides up the mountains.

Gatlinburg is an excellent choice for setting up a home base near Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It is sure to check all the criteria on your travel wish list.

Sevierville, Tennessee

Sevierville, Tennessee, is located about a half hour from Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This city brings in over 11 million visitors annually. It attracts visitors who want a calmer experience when visiting Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

This mountain town is most known for its excellent shopping opportunities. There are outdoor stores, outlet malls, flea markets, antique malls, and boutiques all around. Other forms of recreation and adventure in Sevierville include exploring the caves and caverns nearby, visiting local wineries and distilleries, and visiting exotic petting zoos.

Most visitors choose to stay in a mountain cabin when lodging in Sevierville. These cabins offer privacy and incredible views of the Smokies.

There are also plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation, such as fishing, hiking, cycling, and simply enjoying the landscape and wildlife views from the deck of your cozy cabin. Other options for staying in Sevierville include charming inns and cottages, lodges, and hotels.

Sevierville also has an incredible array of must-try restaurants. From barbecue smokehouses to fresh seafood joints, there is something for every palate in Sevierville.

If you are looking for a calm place to retreat to during your Great Smoky Mountains National Park trip, look no further than Sevierville. It has all you can hope and dream for in one convenient location.

Where To Eat in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

There aren’t any dining facilities inside Great Smoky Mountains National Park, but there are hundreds of restaurants located near the park.

If you want to eat while visiting, it is best to pack a picnic and enjoy a meal in the park. Let’s explore some of the top restaurants near Great Smoky Mountains National Park and see if they make it to your national park vacation itinerary.

Log Cabin Pancake House

Log Cabin Pancake House is located 9.5 miles from Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Gatlinburg. This restaurant is in a beautiful log cabin right in the heart of Gatlinburg.

Log Cabin Pancake House is famous for its variety of specialty pancake creations and crepes. This restaurant is open daily for breakfast, lunch, and brunch. It is a must-try restaurant for anyone visiting Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Old Dad’s

Old Dad’s General Store and Deli is a popular place to stop and get a delicious meal and a cold beer. This restaurant is just 9.5 miles from Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the center of Gatlinburg.

Popular menu items at Old Dad’s include the Burnin’ Burger, chili hot dogs, and the Frito Pie. Not only can you get a superb meal at Old Dad’s, but the on-site general store is also a great place to load up on snacks, drinks, and supplies for the rest of your national park vacation.

With exceptional service and incredible food, Old Dad’s General Store and Deli is sure to impress you and your tastebuds.

The Park Grill

The Park Grill is located right next to the entrance of Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Gatlinburg and is known as the unofficial restaurant of the park.

The Park Grill is housed in a gorgeous log cabin and serves lunch and dinner daily. Its menu includes hearty portions of Southern Appalachian classics and an impressive wine and drink menu. Customer favorites include the hickory grilled ribeye, grilled Atlantic salmon, and the famous blackberry cobbler.

This restaurant serves the highest quality and freshest cuts of beef, chicken, pork, and fish, along with fresh vegetables, fruits, cheeses, and made-from-scratch dressings. The Park Grill is the perfect place to fill up before or after your Great Smoky Mountains National Park adventure.

Smoky Mountain Brewery

Smoky Mountain Brewery‘s Gatlinburg location is just a 2-minute drive from Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The restaurant is open daily for lunch, dinner, late-night drinks, and desserts.

Smoky Mountain Brewery is a top-rated restaurant known for its excellent food, micro-brewed beer, lively nightly entertainment, and outstanding service. Its pizzas, wings, and burgers keep travelers coming back for more.

If you are looking for a place to relax, refuel, and reset after a long day of exploring Great Smoky Mountains National Park, stop by Smoky Mountain Brewery.

Vista Grill

Vista Grill is located in The Park Vista – a DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel – Gatlinburg, 3 minutes from Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The restaurant is open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

The Vista Grill is a perfect setting for a quiet meal and a break from the excitement of the park and Gatlinburg. The Vista Grill offers indoor and outdoor seating and excellent views of downtown Gatlinburg. Customers love the made-to-order omelets, pork chops, blackened salmon, signature cocktails, and delectable cheesecakes.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Facts

Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Image Credit: Huanrui He via Unsplash

1. A New Park Established

In 1890, the idea of creating this park started. Still, it wasn’t until May 1926 that a bill was signed by President Calvin Coolidge, which provided for the establishment of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It wasn’t until September 2, 1940, that this park was declared a national park by Franklin D. Roosevelt.

2. Oldest Mountain Range in the U.S.

The Smoky Mountains are part of the Appalachian Mountain Range, the oldest mountain range in the U.S. This mountain range is thought to be 480 million years old.

3. One of America’s Most Visited Parks

Great Smoky Mountains National Park ranks number 2 on the top 25 list of most visited parks. This national park received 14.1 million visitors in 2021 and is second only to the Blue Ridge Parkway.

4. Early Inhabitants

The Cherokee Indians were some of the earliest people groups in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This tribe was centered around hunting, agriculture, and trading. There are many museums and tributes to the Cherokee Indians who made their home in this region.

5. A Home for Endangered Animals

Several endangered animals make their home in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Some of these endangered animals include the Indiana bat, northern flying squirrel, spruce-fir moss spider, red-cockaded woodpecker, and the smoky madtom.

6. Miles of Streams

There are approximately 2,900 miles of streams in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. These streams are the perfect place for picnicking, fishing, and simply enjoying the park’s beauty.

7. Highs and Lows

The highest point in Great Smoky Mountains National Park is found at Clingmans Dome. This location is 6,643 feet in elevation. The lowest point in the park is located at Abrams Creek and is 840 feet.

8. A Home for Black Bears

Nearly 1,900 black bears live in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This is one of the largest protected areas where black bears naturally live in the wild.

9. Waterfalls Galore

There are over 100 waterfalls in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. These beautiful cascades are sure to take your breath away. Famous waterfalls in the park include Laurel Falls, Grotto Falls, Mingo Falls, and Rainbow Falls.

10. Salamander Capital of the World

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is known as the Salamander Capital of the World. These creatures are abundant in this national park, and a diverse group of these amphibians can be seen in the park. Some interesting types of salamanders seen in Great Smoky Mountains National Park include the black-chinned red salamanders. This park is home to 24 species of lungless salamanders as well as 4 other species.

11. Rockefeller Memorial

Rockefeller Memorial is located along Newfoundland Gap Road. This commemorates the location and day when Franklin D. Roosevelt declared this area Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

12. An Abundance of Animals

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is home to an abundance of animals. There are 65 mammal species, over 200 types of birds, 67 native fish, and over 80 varieties of reptiles and in amphibians that make their home in the park.

The American black bear is one of the most notable animals in the park. This mammal is the symbol of the smokies and is estimated to have approximately 1,900 bears in the park. Some of the most spotted animals that live in Great Smoky Mountains National Park include white-tailed deer, chipmunks, squirrels, bats, groundhogs, and fish.

13. Scientific Research

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is known for the scientific research projects in the park. Several associations partner with the park to study the area’s land, animals, and plant life. Some of these partners include Discover Life in America, All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory, and Appalachian Highlands Science and Learning Center. Partnering with these associations allows the National Park Service to learn and preserve this incredible region continually.

14. Citizen Scientists

Citizen Scientists is a volunteer program where teachers, retirees, student groups, and other types of volunteers work to help collect data for scientific studies and resource management projects in the park. While these volunteers are not trained as scientists, they are beneficial to the scientific research that takes place in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Final Thoughts

A trip to Great Smoky Mountains National Park will be remembered forever. This park has so much to offer visitors and adventurers, no matter what they are seeking. Planning a trip to this fantastic park will provide once-in-a-lifetime adventures and memories to last a lifetime.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to enter Great Smoky Mountains National Park?

Great Smoky Mountains National Park does not charge an entry fee for visitors. Parking tags are required, costing $5 for a daily pass, $15 per week, or $40 annually.

How many days should I spend visiting Great Smoky Mountains National Park?

This massive park has a lot to experience and explore. Spending a minimum of 4 days in the park to see all the sights and hike several trails is recommended.

What is the weather like in Great Smoky Mountains National Park?

Great Smoky Mountains National Park experiences changes for each season throughout the year. Its website can help you stay informed and updated on all weather and closures. The lowest temperature is typically 28 degrees in December and January. The highest temperatures usually come in July and reach 88 degrees. The park also experiences heavy rains, snow, and windy conditions.

Can I bring my dog to Great Smoky Mountains National Park?

Dogs are allowed in many park areas, including the campgrounds, picnic areas, and along the roads. Pets are prohibited on the trails. It is expected that pet owners clean up after all pet messes and keep their pets on a leash at all times.

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About Amar Hussain

Amar is an avid traveler and tester of products. He has spent the last 13 years traveling all 7 continents and has put the products to the test on each of them. He has contributed to publications including Forbes, the Huffington Post, and more.

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