While there is plenty to do in and around Gatlinburg, the most sought out attraction for many visitors is The Great Smoky Mountains National Park. There are endless opportunities to explore the most visited national park in the country, whether you’re looking for outdoor adventure or just wanting to relax and take in the fresh air. Winter, spring, summer or fall – no matter when you visit you will be able to take advantage of the natural beauty and sheer magnitude of this much-loved national park.
There are numerous vantage points in the Smokies from which to gain unbelievable views and different areas will allow you to enjoy different activities. It doesn’t matter where within the park you explore; you’re bound to be impressed by the unprecedented beauty of this historic landmark. There are few specific sites and activities, though, that tend to bring visitors back to the park time and time again. Here we will tell you a little bit about each of those so you can make the most out of your Smoky Mountain vacation.
One of the most popular spots to visit in The Great Smoky Mountain National Park is Cades Cove. The area once served as a hunting spot for Cherokee Indians and was settled by Europeans in the early 1800s. Today tourists take the loop that circles the area to hike, catch glimpses of wildlife and to see historic buildings.
Throughout the park there is wildlife everywhere and visitors that pay attention can see everything from white-tailed deer to black bears. Cades Cove, like Cataloochee, are great viewing areas because of their wide-open landscape, which makes seeing far and wide easy. Visiting these sites will give you the best opportunity for seeing some of the park’s wild inhabitants.
A good portion of the Appalachian Trail is within the Tennessee side of the Smokies. The trail features some of the most breathtaking scenery in the park. Much of this trail consists of higher elevations, which makes for quick changing weather conditions that offer a unique perspective of this great national park.
Clingman’s Dome is the highest point, not only of the Appalachian Trail, but the highest point within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The site itself can be reached by car but to get to the viewing tower it will take a short steep hike of about a half mile. The walk is well worth the 360-degree view of the Smokies and surrounding area though.
If you’re one of the many people who love hunting down waterfalls, you’re going to love visiting this park. Throughout the Smokies there are more than a dozen waterfalls of varying sizes, some you can reach by foot and others that can be reached by car. The most popular are Rainbow Falls, Grotto Falls, Abrams Falls and Laurel Falls but all of the falls within the park offer a unique sightseeing experience.
Historic Structure Sightseeing
Due to the historic nature of the park, and some of the land actually being lived on in the past, it only makes sense that there are a number of historic structures within the park. In fact, there are nearly 100 different sites featuring old buildings, some of which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Visitors who locate some of these structures will have a first-hand look into the past and the history of the area.
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a massive historic landmark that tells the history of the area in many ways. It also provides some of the best opportunities to enjoy the sights that nature offers. Visitors to the park will not be disappointed and will leave with a lasting sense of just how precious nature left to its own devices really is. Use this as a guide when visiting to make the most out of your trip to the Great Smoky Mountains.