Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg

#3 of 9 in Parks in Gatlinburg
National Park · Nature / Park
Great Smoky Mountains National Park is an American national park in the southeastern United States, with parts in Tennessee and North Carolina. The park straddles the ridgeline of the Great Smoky Mountains, part of the Blue Ridge Mountains, which are a division of the larger Appalachian Mountain chain. The park contains some of the highest mountains in eastern North America, including Clingmans Dome, Mount Guyot, and Mount Le Conte. The border between the two states runs northeast to southwest through the center of the park. The Appalachian Trail passes through the center of the park on its route from Georgia to Maine. With 12.5 million visitors in 2019, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited national park in the United States.

The park encompasses 522,419 acres (816.28 sq mi; 211,415.47 ha; 2,114.15 km2), making it one of the largest protected areas in the eastern United States. The main park entrances are located along U.S. Highway 441 (Newfound Gap Road) in the towns of Gatlinburg, Tennessee and Cherokee, North Carolina, and also in Townsend, Tennessee. The park is internationally recognized for its mountains, waterfalls, biodiversity, and spruce-fir forests. In addition, the park also preserves multiple historical structures that were part of communities occupied by early European-American settlers of the area.
The park was chartered by the United States Congress in 1934, and officially dedicated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1940. The Great Smoky Mountains was the first national park having land and other costs paid in part with federal funds; previous parks were funded wholly with state money or private funds. The park was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983, and an International Biosphere Reserve in 1988.
As the most visited national park in the United States, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park anchors a large tourism industry based in Sevier County, Tennessee adjacent to the park. Major attractions include Dollywood, the second-most visited tourist attraction in Tennessee, Ober Gatlinburg, and Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies. Tourism to the park contributes an estimated $2.5 billion annually into the local economy.
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Great Smoky Mountains National Park reviews

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2,289 reviews
  • Drove through the park from Bryon City to Gatlinburg. Stops along the way to view were gorgeous. On the way back we spotted many elk. Really cool to see.  more »
  • We went to both Clingman's Dome and Cade's Cove. The walk up to Clingman's Dome is difficult for those out of shape. There are benches and we stopped at each one, and we were proud we made it to the.....  more »
  • Another beautiful National Park! The Visitor Center was helpful and trails were well kept. We were only there for three days, but could have been there for three weeks. We hope to be back soon to do more exploring.
  • I have been coming to the Smokies for 35 yrs. Clean, fresh air, and well maintained. There is something new and amazing around ever bend.

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