As the gateway city to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg has always had a close connection with the National Park. Our forefathers settled in these mountains, and we are grateful for the preservation of our ancestor’s homesteads, mills and farms and mountain ways for future generations to enjoy. Having the Smoky Mountains in our backyard has made Gatlinburg the destination that it is today. April 16 to 24, we are joining with the National Park Service to celebrate National Park Week and what makes the Smokies so special. 

During the week, the National Park Service joins with the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks, to celebrate America’s treasures. Parks across the country will host a variety of special programs, events and digital experiences. 

Locally, Ober Gatlinburg is partnering with Friends of the Smokies to raise funds for preservation projects in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Ober Gatlinburg will donate $1 from every Aerial Tram ticket sold to Friends of the Smokies.  

There are more than 400 national parks coming in all different shapes and sizes. Great Smoky Mountains National Park tops out as one of the most visited national parks in the United States. In 2021, the popular getaway destination brought in over 14.1 million visitors. 

Dolly Parton is famous for a lot of reasons, including having said, “I came out of the Smoky Mountains with a load of songs.” Just like Dolly, you may even come away with song inspiration. You will be sure to leave with a greater appreciation for the raw power and beauty of nature while you’re here. GSMNP contains over 500,000 acres of hiking trails, waterfalls, wildlife and endless opportunities for photos.

Our recommendation for taking on this massive park is to plan ahead. Use the Gatlinburg and Sugarland Visitor Centers to get acclimated. Pick a section of the park and get the most out of it as you can. Come back the next year and do it all over in a different direction. It might take you years to get it all done, but you’ll have countless memories and adventures to last a lifetime.

Share your Smoky Mountain photos this week using #NationalParkWeek.

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