Great Smoky Mountains National Park spans the mountain boundaries of both Tennessee and North Carolina and covers more than a half-million acres of pristine flora, abundant wildlife and a wealth of hiking and camping opportunities. Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a Unesco World Heritage Site and is one of the largest protected areas in the eastern United States
Elevations in the park range from 876 feet (267 m) at the mouth of Abrams Creek to 6,643 feet (2,025 m) at the summit of Clingmans Dome. Within the park a total of sixteen mountains reach higher than 6,000 feet (1829 m).
Ascending the mountains is comparable to a trip from Tennessee to Canada. Plants and animals common in the country’s Northeast have found suitable ecological niches in the park’s higher elevations, while southern species find homes in the balmier lower reaches.
Tourist attractions & activities
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a major tourist attraction in the region. Over 9 million tourists and 11 million non-recreational visitors traveled to the park in 2003, twice as many as visited any other national park.
The two main visitors centers inside the park are Sugarlands Visitors’ Center and Oconaluftee Visitors’ Center near Cherokee . These ranger stations provide exhibits on wildlife, geology, and the history of the park. They also sell books, maps, and souvenirs. Unlike most other national parks, there is no entry fee to the park.
The main activity in Great Smoky Mountains National Park is hiking . There are 850 miles (1,368 km) of trails and unpaved roads in the park for hiking, including seventy miles of the Appalachian Trail. Mount Le Conte is one of the most frequented destinations in the park. Its elevation is 6,593 feet (2,010 m)
After hiking and simple sightseeing, fishing is the most popular activity in the national park. The park’s waters have long had a reputation for healthy trout activity as well as challenging fishing terrain.
The park has hundreds of miles of horse trails and five drive-in horse camps. Horseback riding is surely a nice way to spend time in nature .
Other things you can do here are :
- Auto Touring
- Camping – there are couple of developed campgrounds.
- See Waterfalls – waterfalls can be found on nearly every river and stream in the park.
- See Historic Buildings – the park has one of the best collections of log buildings in the eastern United States. Nearly 80 historic structures homes, barns, churches, schools, and grist mills have been preserved in the park.
- Wildlife Viewing – chances are you’re gonna see an elk, white-tailed deer, or even a black bear
- Wildflowers Viewing – Great Smoky Mountains National park is also known as the “wildflower national park.” That can be seen especially in spring and summer
Whether you delight in the challenge of a strenuous hike to the crest of a mountain or prefer to sit quietly and watch the sun set, Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers a lot of activities for you to enjoy.