Great Smoky Mountains
National Park

It's the most visited National Park in the United States. It's so big that scientists are still discovering some of the plant and animal species that live there. The park is home to more than 1,500 bears so keep your eyes open when hiking the Smoky Mountain trails. Nothing beats seeing a bear in the park, and there are plenty of other breathtaking sights here in the Smoky Mountains–waterfalls, winding valleys and century-old architecture..

Back to Experience Gatlinburg

  • Scenic Drives

    There are nearly 400 miles of roads with unspoiled, breathtaking scenery at every turn. Here's where to start.

  • Hikes & Waterfalls

    Hiking and sightseeing is easy in the Smoky Mountains. Waterfalls, picturesque valleys and breathtaking vistas are accessible from the park’s 150 maintained trails.

  • Wildlife & Nature

    There are more than bears in them thar hills. Fauna, meet Flora.

  • History & Homesteads

    Before it was a park, the Great Smoky Mountains were home to explorers, adventurers and settlers alike. Here are heritage high points worth stopping for.

  • Picnicking

    Bring your basket, take a break, lay a spread and enjoy the view.

Scenic drives

Scenic Drives

Take a drive and feel your heart come alive.

There are three entrances to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park from Gatlinburg, and every one takes you into a section of the 800 square miles of unspoiled Appalachia. Sweeping vistas, marching woodlands, tumbling streams and incredible clifftops unfold as you wind your way along 400 miles of mountain roads. Smoky Mountain trails, scenic overlooks, waterfalls and historic homesteads are everywhere. Loop roads hug the mountainsides before opening up onto breathtaking vistas. 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.
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Hikes & waterfalls

Hikes & Waterfalls

Geologic formations and hiking trails.

The best way to experience the Smokies 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.

While hiking to Smoky Mountains’ waterfalls like Grotto, Laurel, Abrams and Rainbow is popular, the backcountry is even more amazing. You'll discover you're never too far from the sounds of rushing streams, babbling brooks or roaring cascades. Pull off your boots, cool your feet and breathe deep. Few things inspire like the songs of the streams and rays of light dancing on the mountain waters.

Here are a few highlights. Experienced campers and backcountry hikers can get more info about trekking the mountains here
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Wildlife & nature

Wildlife & Nature

Scenic drives and wildlife areas.

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 and enjoy the show.

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History & homesteads

History, Heritage
& Homesteads

Log cabins, gristmills and glimpses back in time.

Some of the first settlers arrived just before 1800 in the Ocanaluftee River Valley, joining the native Cherokee who had lived in southern Appalachia for centuries. At the Mountain Farm Museum, there's a collection of log buildings from all over the Smokies, restored and preserved for a look back at mountain life in the early settlement days. But that's just the beginning. There are over 80 preserved log structures in the Park. Get ready to hike into history whenever you take a trail in the Smokies.
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The best Gatlinburg picnic areas.

Great places to bring the family or a partner, lay a spread and enjoy the view.

Pack a basket, pick a spot and enjoy a meal or a snack near a rushing stream with a breathtaking view. Couples, families and large groups can find plenty of great picnic areas scattered throughout the Smokies. Or just have a seat on a rock and pull out a PBJ before heading on to your next adventure. Some picnic ares have pavilions that can be reserved for larger groups. Twin Creeks has the largest, accommodating 150 people. Greenbrier and Metcalf Bottoms have pavilions for 70.
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