The Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP) is the most visited national park in the United States of America. It is also one of the few that has free admission. With hundreds of miles of hiking trails, camping opportunities around every corner and some of the most beautiful scenery in the country, the GSMNP is a national park not to be missed.
Nature – The GSMNP is part of the biosphere project. The boundaries of the National Park protect the animals and plants that call the GSMNP home. From large mammals like the black Bear and the Elk to fireflies that light up in synchronization with each other the animals and plants are the stars of the GSMNP.
Trails – There are 800+ miles of hiking trails in the GSMNP. Each trail has its own level of difficulty but they all share the scenery and majestic of the Smoky Mountains. These trails, in some cases, cover historical foot paths that have been being used for centuries by the Cherokee and by the European settlers that came into the area. The trails are one of the major draws for people visiting this national park.
Auto Tours – Don’t feel like hiking, there are still plenty of ways to view the National Park from your car. Cades Cove, of course, is the most driven auto tour in the park but the others (Cataloochee, Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail) are just as wonderful, educational and beautiful.
Camping – There is nothing like camping out under the stars at night. In the GSMNP you have the opportunity to go tent camping, RV camping, backcountry camping or even camp with your horses. The campgrounds and shelters in the National Park do require reservations and they do cost to use so make sure that you play ahead to make sure that you have the ability to utilize these facilities.
- Where Luxury Meets the Smokies: New Luxury Big Cabins in Gatlinburg - GATLINBURG – A new development in Gatlinburg bridges the gap between rustic hillside cabins and well-appointed downtown hotel rooms. Cherokee Orchard has four big luxury rental cabins and a pool house with indoor pool — so far. The development at 368 E. Holly Ridge Road is already available for rent, but four more cabins are … Continue reading "Where Luxury Meets the Smokies: New Luxury Big Cabins in Gatlinburg"
- Weather in the GSMNP - Whenever somebody complains about the weather in the Smoky Mountains, a typical response from one of the locals will be: “Give it 15 minutes, it will change.” And, as a whole that is right. The weather in the Smokies is relatively temperate. During the summer it does get warm and during the winter it does … Continue reading "Weather in the GSMNP"
- Kephart Prong Trail - 2.0 miles in length Starting Points – 8.8 miles from Newfound Gap – headed toward North Carolina Points of Interest – CCC Camp, Fish Hatchery, Railroad Remains, Kephart Shelter Difficulty – 1-2 This is a great trail, especially if you are looking for something a little out of the ordinary but still short enough to … Continue reading "Kephart Prong Trail"
- Sugarlands - Sugarlands, of course, is the home of the Sugarlands Visitor Center and the headquarters of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Sugarlands is also an area of the National Park that stretches from the Grapeyard Ridge and the Roaring Fork area to Sugarland Mountain. The road out of Gatlinburg runs straight through Sugarlands and is … Continue reading "Sugarlands"
- Rainbow Falls Trail - Summary: The Rainbow Falls Trail is fairly challenging if completed all the way to Mt LeConte. Allow an hour and a half to Rainbow Falls and four hours to Mt LeConte. Hikers will gain nearly 4,000 feet in elevation by the time they get to Mt. LeConte. Point of Departure: Cherokee Orchard Road – Turn at light … Continue reading "Rainbow Falls Trail"
- Bull Head Trail - For all you locals, the Bull Head Trail is probably one you’ve heard of before, and if you’ve been to Mount LeConte might have even hiked as you made your way back to civilization. In all, it’s a 5.9 downhill hike. We’re starting you off at the summit of Mount LeConte and traveling downward toward … Continue reading "Bull Head Trail"
- Alum Cave Bluffs Trail - The Alum Cave Bluffs Trail is one of the most traversed in the national park and for good reason. It’s by far the most popular route to Mount LeConte as you gain 2600 feet on the way to 6400 feet. To reach the trailhead via the Sugarlands Visitor Center in Gatlinburg, drive 8.6 miles along Newfound … Continue reading "Alum Cave Bluffs Trail"
- A Bear Story - The last time I visited the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, my husband and I observed some curious human behavior. We were traveling the loop in Cades Cove when we saw a crowd of people getting out of their cars. Some among them were closely approaching a black bear to take photographs. Alan looked at … Continue reading "A Bear Story"
- Baskins Creek Trail - Surely if you’re an avid hiker you’ve looked for those trails that everyone seems to skip over and has overgrown just enough to feel like you’re really in a remote wilderness. Trails like those still exist, a few in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Baskins Creek Trail falls under that classification if only … Continue reading "Baskins Creek Trail"
- Kanati Fork Trail - The Kanati Fork Trail isn’t just a Smoky Mountain trail with a funny name. It’s a challenging uphill hike that with test even the most experienced of hikers and one where you can get some incredible shots of spring wildflowers. In all, it’s a 2.9 mile hike from its trailhead on Newfound Gap Road to … Continue reading "Kanati Fork Trail"