Plan your Visit to
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
A Hiker’s Dream
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park reflects the beauty that is found in this region and is seemingly a hiker’s dream for the ability to hike multiple mountains in a single trip. The bulk of the 522,419 acres of land that makes up the park is comprised of mountains. There are a full 16 mountains within its borders that are taller than 6000 feet.
When to go
April – May – June – July – August – September – October – November
Scenic Drives – Wild flowers – Family – History – Day Trip – Hiking – Stunning Vistas – Fishing – Wildlife – Biking – Horseback Riding – Bird-Watching – Waterfalls – Rafting – Winter Sports
A Little History
Since the American Government began the park in 1940 conservation efforts have been underway and during the time of its inception the government did not have the funds available to develop the park. Part of the charm of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the fact that it was built largely for the area by the people of that area. The initial $5 million-dollar donation was given by John D Rockefeller Jr and the government added to that amount by $2 million dollars that was set aside for the project. The remainder of the money needed to develop the park came from donations from private citizens throughout the area. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is proof of the ability of people to come together and get things done if they care about the land they inhabit.
With so many mountains throughout the Great Smoky Mountains National Park it may be difficult to determine exactly which one will afford you the best view of the entire park. This park makes it easy because the highest point is always the best view point, so venture to Clingmans Dome if you are after the best place to view the area. The base of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is 876 feet above sea level and Clingmans Dome will take you to heights of 6,643 feet. The summit is marked by the observation deck that allows visitors to step out and get the best view the park has to offer. It is a great place to take pictures or observe the wildlife in the areas.
If you are camping or just hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park you will get hungry at some point and if the protein bars you brought with you do not seem appetizing, you are welcome to try your hand at a little fishing. Trout streams are in abundance throughout the park and these fresh water fish make for an excellent meal while camping in the park. It should be noted that there is a license required to fish in the trout streams and depending on which state you happen to be in, Tennessee, North Carolina, or Georgia, you will want to ensure that you have the right permit for the right state. The rangers do keep track of the license given out to control the number of fish caught each year.
The Cabin Life
The American landscape was largely shaped by the settlers throughout history. Many of the sites that were built hundreds of years ago have been lost to natural disasters or torn down for the purpose of supposed progress. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park has worked to preserve history and therefore you can still find settler’s cabins still intact. One of the most notable preserved cabins is known as Hannah’s Cabin and can be found in the Catalooche area of the park. A look at any of the cabins within the great smoky mountains national park will give you perspective on how elaborate our homes are today compared to the simple hand built cabins that entire families were raised in during the 1800s.
Things to Know
With every national park you visit you will need to be aware of certain things. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the few parks that do not charge an admission fee, but if you want to camp within the park there is a fee that will be between $14 and $23 depending on where you choose to camp within the park. There are shelters as well as backcountry camp sites to choose from, but another option that can only be reached by hiking is the summit of Mount Le Conte. The summit contains the only lodge found within the borders of the park. Here you can get a good night’s rest within one of the cabins or simply rent a room within the lodge. It is a very popular destination for travelers looking for a hot shower, but it should be noted that the lodge is closed during the winter months.
There are black bears in this part of the country and the great smoky mountains national park rangers recommend the use of a bear repellent to keep the bears from attacking. The repellent chosen must be actual bear repellent and contain cap sasin that is known to keep bears from attacking humans for its spicy nature. Any other form of bear repellent is prohibited within the park. Enjoy the natural beauty of this amazing landscape and happy trails to you.