Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Tennessee | North Carolina •

World renowned for its diversity of plant and animal life, the beauty of its ancient mountains, and the quality of its remnants of Southern Appalachian mountain culture, this is America’s most visited national park. If you can handle the crowds the hikes are amazing, the drives are beautiful and the flora and fauna are abundant. Go in the off season to avoid the crowds as the park is just as amazing, the hikes just as beautiful and the surrounding towns will still be bustling.

Driving Around
Mountain Brothers General Store
Information & Tips:
  • Currently no entry cost but a parking pass is required if parking for more than 15min (Daily – $5 | Weekly – $15 | Annual – $40).
  • Can get very, very crowded as this is the most visited National Park. Highly recommend off season and hiking early.
  • The center of the park is where people tend to concentrate. All along RT 441. Going further west or east will get you away from the dense crowds.
  • Dogs are not allowed on most trails inside the park.
  • Gatlinburg, TN is a good place to stay if you’re looking for more than just hiking – lots of restaurants and activities for families. This too will be very crowded during the summer season.
  • Yes, there a lot of black bears in the park. Don’t approach them, keep your distance, make noise when in the back country in a dense area, back away slowly if you run into one (don’t run or turn your back on them). They don’t want to interact with you as much as you don’t with them.
  • Check out the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail as it’s a beautiful drive with some great, and popular, waterfall hikes.
  • Cades Cove is a gorgeous 11 mile loop. It gets very crowded and having long vehicle backups is common so plan for the drive to take some time. There is vehicle free access from May through September where you can walk and bike the loop.

(over 800 miles of trails)

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