Experience the National Park

The National Park

Fresh air and an appreciation for all of life's wonders.

Hiking and Waterfalls

800 miles of perfect.

The best way to experience the Smoky Mountains is to do what the original settlers and explorers did: hit the trails. From the original Appalachian Trail to breathtaking wildflower walks, there are 150 Smoky Mountain trails covering 800 miles of pristine backcountry. Waterfalls, wildlife, valleys and vistas are everywhere. Check out our guide to learn more.

This year we are celebrating the Centennial of the National Park Service. To honor the first 100 years of the National Park Service and launch into the next century, the Park Superintendent has committed to hiking 100 miles of park trails during 2016 -- and he invites you to join in on this challenge! Whether you are new to hiking in the Smokies or have seen most or all the trails in the park before, we encourage you to set a goal of reaching 100 miles during this special year of celebration, between January 1-December 6, 2016. You may hike any 100 miles of maintained trails in the park. Your miles can include everything from front country nature trails to the extensive trail network in the backcountry. You may hike the same trail repeatedly or different trails; and you may hike them solo, with a group or even with a guide. The goal is to inspire you to explore and enjoy the many benefits the park has to offer. Learn more.


Wildlife & Nature

Undisturbed for over a million years.

Thousands of species of plant and animal life have been documented in the Smokies, and more are being discovered every year. Because the last Ice Age didn't get this far south, and the sea never came this far inland, flora and fauna have been thriving and diversifying here for millennia. Black bears and wildflower blooms are only the beginning when you adventure into one of the world's few International Biosphere Reserves. Bring your binoculars, enjoy the show and read more about what to expect in our Guide.


Scenic Drives

This is why Sunday drives were invented.

There are three entrances to Great Smoky Mountains National Park from Gatlinburg, and every one takes you into a section of the 800 square miles of unspoiled Appalachia. Every trip to the Smokies begins with a drive on the Newfound Gap Road, so pack a picnic and see highlights along the way that include Sugarlands Visitor Center, Chimney Tops, Newfound Gap, Clingman's Dome Road, Ocanaluftee Valley and Mingus Mill. Wildflower watchers love exploring the Greenbrier, a six mile road featuring the most colorful flora in the Park. Porter's Creek is particularly vibrant in March and April. If you're feeling adventurous, hop out and hike four miles and witness the tallest falls in the Smokies at Ramsey Cascades. Whether you arrive during the rich green days of spring and summer, the crazy quilt of autumn color or the sparkling white of winter, your drive through the roads of Great Smoky Mountains National Park is guaranteed to be an adventure in itself.


Picnic in the Park

Break bread with family and friends.

Gatlinburg is home to many scenic and accessible spots perfect for bringing back the lost joy of picnicking. Admire the antique architecture of century-old cabins and mills at Cades Cove picnic area, soak up the scenery of the Little Pigeon River at the Chimneys picnic area or share a meal at one of several other designated picnic spots near Gatlinburg including Metcalf Bottoms. It’s a great way to relax and unwind during your vacation.

Up Next: Cades Cove

Go back to where it all started.

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