Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg

#3 of 9 in Parks in Gatlinburg
Must see · National Park · Nature / Park
Great Smoky Mountains National Park is an American national park in the southeastern United States, with parts in Tennessee and North Carolina. The park straddles the ridgeline of the Great Smoky Mountains, part of the Blue Ridge Mountains, which are a division of the larger Appalachian Mountain chain. The park contains some of the highest mountains in eastern North America, including Clingmans Dome, Mount Guyot, and Mount Le Conte. The border between the two states runs northeast to southwest through the center of the park. The Appalachian Trail passes through the center of the park on its route from Georgia to Maine. With 12.5 million visitors in 2019, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited national park in the United States.

The park encompasses 522,419 acres (816.28 sq mi; 211,415.47 ha; 2,114.15 km2), making it one of the largest protected areas in the eastern United States. The main park entrances are located along U.S. Highway 441 (Newfound Gap Road) in the towns of Gatlinburg, Tennessee and Cherokee, North Carolina, and also in Townsend, Tennessee. The park is internationally recognized for its mountains, waterfalls, biodiversity, and spruce-fir forests. In addition, the park also preserves multiple historical structures that were part of communities occupied by early European-American settlers of the area.
The park was chartered by the United States Congress in 1934, and officially dedicated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1940. The Great Smoky Mountains was the first national park whose land and other costs were paid for in part with federal funds; previous parks were funded wholly with state money or private funds. The park was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983, and an International Biosphere Reserve in 1988.
As the most visited national park in the United States, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park anchors a large tourism industry based in Sevier County, Tennessee adjacent to the park. Major attractions include Dollywood, the second-most visited tourist attraction in Tennessee, Ober Gatlinburg, and Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies. Tourism to the park contributes an estimated $2.5 billion annually into the local economy. Tourism is also important on the North Carolina side.

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Great Smoky Mountains National Park reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 5.0
2,212 reviews
  • I have stayed away since the pandemic started but now I am vaccinated. The return was with my sisters. I wanted to show them areas that they had not seen before. We drove the new section of the...  more »
  • Beautiful as always. We’ve probably been to the Smokies over 50 times over the years. So much to do here. Doesn’t matter your physical shape, there is something for everyone.  more »
  • My wife and I went on the pet friendly Gatlinburg trail near the visitor center. It is a 2 mile hike (each way) that was along the stream. It is an easy, nature walk that was much nicer than the hub.....  more »
  • Another beautiful National Park! The Visitor Center was helpful and trails were well kept. We were only there for three days, but could have been there for three weeks. We hope to be back soon to do more exploring.
  • I have been coming to the Smokies for 35 yrs. Clean, fresh air, and well maintained. There is something new and amazing around ever bend.
  • Great location I loved it !! Took my husband for his birthday. It's a trip we will never forget!!! I was horrified going up and down the mountains it was my first and last time lol but we did enjoy it. The one bedroom suite was gorgeous the scenery was to dye for and I felt like I almost did. All in all a wonderful trip!!
  • I absolutely love the Great Smokey Mountains. There is something beauty hidden in ever single square foot. The winding roads are wonderful for those who enjoy a great drive. The scenery is fantastic. There are so many good trails for everyone, short/long and plenty of easy ones that are kid and pet friendly. Tons of waterfalls, named and unnamed. Plenty over overviews with amazing landscapes full of beautiful endless mountains and colorful skies. Perfect place for vacation, there is never enough time to do it all.
  • BEAUTIFUL!! There are no words to describe this place! The mountains are endless and there are so many hiking trails and overlooks. You could easily spend a week exploring the great Smoky Mountains and still not see everything. Definitely a must-see if in the area!!

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