Encompassing 816 square miles and occupying parts of two states, Great Smoky Mountains National Park covers a lot of territory – typically way more than most folks can take on in a lifetime, much less a single visit. As a result, visitors (more than 9 million annually) tend to focus on the more popular destinations within the park – sites like Cades Cove or Clingmans Dome or the visitor centers located on either side of the park (one for TN, one for NC).
Few hiking experiences compare with the Great Smoky Mountains. As a hiker, you'll be treated to scenic views, wildlife, waterfalls, diverse plant life, pristine forests, and historical sites such as the remains of settler villages. The Smokies have a variety of options for all levels of hikers. You can enjoy an easy morning or afternoon trek, a day excursion that takes you in a convenient loop, or overnight backpacking trips that are truly an adventure.
The Great Smoky Mountains have the two ingredients necessary for waterfalls: plenty of rain, from 85 inches to over 8 feet some years, and elevation gradient. Water trickles down the mountains and builds rushing rivers that drop up to a mile off the mountain face. Hiking the Smokies to see stunning waterfalls is one of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park's most breathtaking activities. Here are some of the most popular waterfalls you'll find.
Stunning vistas, abundant wildlife, and absolute tranquility make hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains an unforgettable experience. You can hike the Smokies year-round, with each season offering its own surprises, delights, and adventures. Whether you're looking for an easy, fun hike for the whole family or one that will challenge your skills and endurance, the Smokies have something for everyone.
If you're craving the kind of peace and quiet that seems to have existed only in the previous century, camping in the tranquil Smoky Mountains Backcountry may be exactly what you're looking for. Here, backpackers can wander more than 800 miles of trails that lead past breathtaking mountain vistas, quiet old-growth forest and clear, cold, rushing rivers and waterfalls. You'll see wildlife you've never seen before and may go days without seeing another human or hearing a cell phone ring. The Backcountry is not your average camping adventure, so it's important to know a few things before you go.
If you're looking for a fun hike in Great Smoky Mountains National Park on your next visit, consider exploring Porters Creek Trail. Located in the Greenbrier section of the park, this hike is not too strenuous and features wildflowers, historic homesteads and even a waterfall.
Whether your next trip to the Smokies involves staying in a hotel, motel, condo or Tennessee rental cabin, we hope that you find time to make an excursion into Great Smoky Mountains National Park. However, you can make your travels safe and avoid unnecessary headaches by following these five suggestions from the National Park Service.
Some people call it “Fireworks In The Smokies!” Some people just simply call it “Leaves are Changing!” And others call it, “Look at All The Cars!” Whatever you call it, it is bringing people to The Great Smoky Mountains by the thousands and for great reason. The beauty of Fall Leaves in The Great Smoky Mountains is breathtaking indeed.
You can see mountains for miles, as ridge after ridge of forest bridges the interstate boundary between North Carolina and Tennessee. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is world renowned for its 520,000 acres of diverse plant and animal life, its preservation of the Southern Appalachian mountain culture, and the ever-changing beauty of its timeless mountains. With more than ten million people visiting annually, this is America's most visited national park.