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. Scenic overlooks, trailheads, 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.
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 trails covering 800 miles of pristine backcountry. Waterfalls,
wildlife, valleys and vistas are everywhere.
While hikin' it to 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
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.
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.
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.