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Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Cades Cove meadow [image: Great Smoky Mountains National Park from Gatlinburg, TN, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons; June 2018--Warren Bielenberg]
Cades Cove meadow [image: Great Smoky Mountains National Park from Gatlinburg, TN, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons; June 2018–Warren Bielenberg]

Ridge upon ridge of endless forest straddles the border between North Carolina and Tennessee in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. World renowned for the diversity of its 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.

Things to Do

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a hiker’s paradise with over 800 miles of maintained trails ranging from short leg-stretchers to strenuous treks that may require backcountry camping. But hiking is not the only reason for visiting the Smokies. Car camping, fishing, picnicking, wildlife viewing and auto touring are popular activities.

Wildlife

Most visitors come to the Smokies hoping to see a bear. Some 1,600 bears live in the park. From the big animals like bears, deer, and elk, down to microscopic organisms, the Smokies have the most biological diversity of any area in the world’s temperate zone. The park is a sanctuary for a magnificent array of animal and plant life, all of which is protected for future generations to enjoy.

Fall Colors

The park usually experiences an autumn leaf season of several weeks as fall colors travel down the mountainsides from high elevation to low. However, the timing of fall color change depends upon so many variables that the exact dates of “peak” season are impossible to predict in advance The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the largest protected land area east of the Rocky Mountains and the most visited national park in the United States.

Although it spans across two states, the majority of the park lies within North Carolina: 276,000 acres of forest and trails welcome hikers, bikers and equestrians. Rivers, streams and lakes offer some of the best canoeing, kayaking and whitewater rafting in the country.

Web: Great Smoky Mountains National Park (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov)

Park Map: Maps – Great Smoky Mountains National Park (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov)

Park Location Map:

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