Great Smoky Mountains National Park

19 Apr 2024    National Park

Let that picture alone speak for itself before we give you all the amazing details about it! Breathtaking, right?! Imagine being here and getting to witness this with your own eyes!

Now, what is the Great Smoky Mountains National Park? It is a world-renowned national park, not to mention it’s the most visited in America. How cool is that?!

There is just so much to do here, be it hiking, camping, or simply visiting to experience nature like never before. The national park has multiple ancient mountains, and the best part is that the scenery here keeps changing from season to season, leaving visitors experiencing something new every time they visit.

The national park is situated between North Carolina and Tennessee. It is called 'smoky’ because every morning here it is foggy, with views to die for!

The mountain is also really well known because of its diversity in plant and animal life. So, if you are an adventurer who lives for nature, this is the place for you.

In today’s blog, we will talk about everything about this wonderful place! Keep reading for fantastic insights!

When was the Great Smoky Mountains National Park established?

The national park was officially established in 1934 by the United States Congress. Instead of just saying, "The government will buy the land," people came together in a big way. From school children saving their pocket money to state governments working together, it was a true team effort. This was the first national park funded in part by public money—a pretty cool fact!

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Photos

But before we actually get into it, here are some amazing images of the great national park for you. We are sure these will make you want to be here as soon as you plan your next vacation.

Great smoky mountain national park
great smoky mountains national park
great smoky mountains national park

Look at those! No one can say this is a reality! Don’t you think they look like they must have been painted?! Because we do!

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Map

Here is a map of this wonderful place for you to see and get an idea of how well nature has done its work. Spread over 500,000 acres, completely surrounded by pure greenery, wildlife, waterfalls, and lots more! Have a look:

great smoky mountains national park

Things To Do in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

1. Newfound Gap:

Newfound Gap is the lowest spot where you can actually drive your car through the Smoky Mountains National Park! Even though it's a "low" point, it's still pretty high up at 5,046 feet.
Here's the cool part: Newfound Gap Road (also called Route 441) is a scenic 30-mile drive that cuts right through the middle of the park. It starts near Sugarland’s Visitor Center in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, winds its way over the mountains, and ends up in Cherokee, North Carolina. So, you can basically drive from one state to another while enjoying stunning mountain views!

great smoky mountains national park

2. Abram’s Falls Trail:

Up for a hike with a waterfall reward? Abrams Falls Trail might be perfect! Located near Cades Cove, this trail follows a pretty creek and leads you right to a 20-foot waterfall called Abrams Falls. The trail is rated moderate, so it's a good challenge for most hikers, and it's about 5 miles roundtrip.

Fun fact: The falls and the creek are named after a Cherokee chief named Oskuah, who later went by Abram. Pretty cool, huh?

great smoky mountains national park

3. Sugarland’s Visitor Center:

Don't start your exploration of the park empty-handed! The visitor center is your one-stop shop to get ready for your adventure. Here's what you'll find:

  • Cool exhibits: Learn all about the park's wildlife and natural wonders through fun displays.
  • Park movie: Catch a free 20-minute film that will give you a quick intro to the Great Smoky Mountains.
  • Gear up: Grab a trail map or a driving map (or both!) to help you navigate the park. They also have a bookstore and gift shop for souvenirs and anything else you might have forgotten.
  • Restrooms: Take a break and freshen up before you hit the trails.
  • Park Rangers: Talk to the rangers if you have any questions. They offer special programs throughout the year, depending on the season.

Tip: Many visitors recommend grabbing both driving and trail maps to make the most of your visit!

great smoky mountains national park

4. Clingmans Dome:

Clingmans Dome is the king of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park; it's the highest point in the whole park and even in all of Tennessee! On a clear day, you can see for over 100 miles, so pack your binoculars and get ready for epic views!

Here's a heads-up: it's always cooler up high, so bring a jacket even in summer. The temperature drops at the peak, which is a whopping 6,643 feet high!

The drive to Clingmans Dome is pretty amazing too. There are lots of scenic pullouts along the road where you can stop and snap some photos before you reach the parking area at the trailhead.

great smoky mountains national park

5. Chimney Tops:

This might be calling your name if you're an adventurous hiker looking for epic views! This mountain is unique because its peak is a giant, exposed rock. Travelers rave about the incredible panoramas you can see from the top.

But here's the thing: Chimney Tops is no walk in the park (literally!). The trail is over 4 miles roundtrip and super steep. It's more like climbing rocks than a leisurely stroll, so be prepared to scramble! Because of the difficulty, this hike isn't recommended for beginners or young kids.

Even though it's a tough climb, Chimney Tops is still one of the most popular trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. So, if you're up for a challenge and those jaw-dropping views, Chimney Tops could be your perfect adventure!

great smoky mountains national park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Tickets

An entry pass or any ticket of sorts is not required here. However, if visitors are in the park longer than 15 minutes with their vehicles, there are a few price tags that they are required to purchase. Here is the breakdown for you:

Duration Price
Daily $5
Weekly $15
Annually $40

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What state is the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in?

It is beautifully located between North Carolina and Tennessee, making it a unique location for visitors to enjoy its beauty from both the sides.

2. How many entrances does the national park have?

It has a total of 6 entrances.

3. What is the best entrance to Smoky Mountain national park?

The Sugarlands entrance is the most popular entrance, as most visitors enter through it.

4. How long does it take to drive through Smoky Mountain national park?

If a visitor were to complete the full route without stopping, it would take them about 3 hours and 15 minutes.

5. What is the prettiest part of Smoky Mountain?

Clingman’s Dome, Gatlinburg Skylift Park, Cades Cove, Anakeesta, and lots more.

6. What not to miss in the Great Smoky Mountains?

The entire park is not to be missed. Our top recommendations are Clingman’s Dome, Newfound Gap, and Mingus Mill.

7. Where do I start in the Smoky Mountains?

You can start at the Sugarlands Visitor Center.

8. How many days should you spend in the Smoky Mountains?

To experience the classic beauty of this place, it is best advised that you spend at least 4 full days.

9. Do I need bear spray in the Smoky Mountains?

It is highly advised for hikers to carry bear spray as there may be several encounters with bears during their hike. Better be safe than sorry!

10. What are the busiest months in the Smoky Mountains?

The busiest months in the national park are June, July, August, and October.