National Park Gatlinburg Tennessee
Great Smoky Mountains National Park encom-
passes 800 square miles in the states of Tennessee and North Carolina and is the showcase for some of the most inspiring natural and cultural treasures that the Southern Appalachians have to offer. The Park's abundant plant and animal life and historical significance, coupled with its accessibility, makes the national park the most visited in the nation with over 9 million visitors annually. Entrance to the park is FREE.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the largest protected land areas east of the Rocky Mountains. These rugged and seemingly never-ending mountains offer 500,000 acres of forest, spectacular views of undulating ridges draped in hazy-blue, "smoky" fog, and vivid reminders of the Appalachians' early pioneers.
Gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
protects one of the most diverse
ecosystems on the planet. A unique
sanctuary with massive mountain ridges,
deep-cleft valleys and unspoiled streams
help create a world all its own. These entirely different ecosystems within the
park support more than 4,000 species
of plants, 130 trees, 65 mammals, 230
birds, and more species of salamanders
than are found anywhere else on earth. Congress established the park in 1934,
and its value and importance is now recognized around the world as an International Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site Much of the early development of facilities and restoration of early settlers' buildings was done by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), an agency created during the Depression to provide work and wages for
unemployed young men. The CCC worked from 1933 to 1942 when World War II finally shut the program down. Yet much of their work, including many of the trails, campgrounds, and stone bridges and buildings remain for all to enjoy today.
|Popular National Park Destinations
|Sugarlands Visitor Center: Located
just two miles from downtown Gatlinburg. Allow an hour
to view an extremely well-produced park film and browse the
gift shop and natural history exhibits.
Newfound Gap: A favorite photo spot with
incredible views straddling the Tennessee-North Carolina
border. Approximate drive time from Gatlinburg is 30 minutes.
Cades Cove: A must see in the Great Smoky
Mountains, this 11-mile loop is popular with cyclists and
motorists. See the true side of pioneer life in the remote
mountains. Allow at least half a day. The approximate drive
time from Gatlinburg is 45 minutes.
Visitor Center & Mountain Farm Museum: Settled
around 1800, Oconaluftee replicates a mid-19th century
farm. Located two miles north of Cherokee, allow half a
day. Approximate drive time from Gatlinburg is 60 minutes.
| Take a hike!
For hikers the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a little slice of heaven. With 900 miles of beautiful trails, there are extraordinary wilderness pathways for beginners and advanced hikers. In addition,
one of the world’s greatest journeys – The Appalachian Trail – winds its way through the
park as part of a continuous marked footpath that goes from Katahdin, Maine to Springer Mountain, Georgia, a distance of about 2,160 miles. As part of its 371-mile trek through Tennessee and North Carolina, the Appalachian Trail reaches its highest point, Clingman's Dome.
At 6,643 feet, Clingman's Dome is the highest spot in the Smokies. A forest of spruce and fir trees covers the top, but an observation platform that looks like an alien spaceship rises above the evergreens to provide an unparalleled view of the park.