Great Smoky Mountains National Park Information
A Smoky Mountains vacation would not be complete without seeing the inspiration of this beautiful area. From arts and crafts to hiking and nature walks, you will be amazed by what these mountains have to offer.
Established in 1937, the Arts & Crafts Community is
comprised of the largest group of independent artisans in the
country. With shops, studios, and galleries located along an
8-mile loop, the Community is a part of Gatlinburg’s history
and has been designated as a historic pathway on the Tennessee
Heritage Arts & Crafts Trail.
Smoky Mountains National Park encompasses over one-half
million acres, making it the largest national park in the East.
An auto tour of the park offers panoramic views, tumbling
mountain streams, weathered historic buildings, and
uninterrupted forest stretching to the horizon.
There are over 270 miles of road in the Smokies. Most are paved,
and even the gravel roads are maintained in suitable condition
for standard two-wheel drive automobiles. Travel times on most
roads will average 30 miles per hour or slower. If you really
want a hands-on experience, the Smoky
Mountain Field School offers nature workshops and hiking
Alum Cave Bluffs
At 100-feet high and 51/2 miles round-trip, this trail can
become somewhat strenuous towards the end. The bluffs rise 1,360
feet above New Found Gap and travel through Arch Rock, a tunnel
that was created by erosion.
Just two miles south of Clingmans Dome, and one of the
easiest balds to hike to, Andrews Bald is a great picnic spot
that offers beautiful views.
6,800-acre valley near Townsend, Tennessee provides a
representative sample of the Great Smoky Mountains National
Park's natural and cultural history as well as its recreational
opportunities. There are many things to see and do here
including a day hike to Abram’s Falls. An 11 mile, one-way
road gives visitors a chance to tour the area with 19 designated
points of interest that are numbered and indicated on a pamphlet
that can be easily obtained at any of the Visitors Centers. For
more information, view Cades
Cove information from the NPS.
Consisting of twin rock formations, one of which contains a
natural chimney in the rock, this area is quite scenic with
small streams and dense forest. The trail is very popular and is
often crowded in season. The hike is fairly easy except for the
last few hundred feet which is a hands-and-knees scramble up the
rock. From the chimney tops, you can see the twin summits
located along New Found Gap Road.
At an elevation of 6,643 feet, Clingman’s Dome is the
highest point in the Smokies. The 54 foot observation tower
provides a 360º view of the surrounding mountains. On a clear,
pollution-free day, this view extends as far as 100 miles and
into 7 states. The average distance, however, is roughly 22
New Found Gap
At 5,048 feet high, New Found gap offers wonderful mountain
views with very little effort, as it is located just off Hwy 441.
Both the Appalachian Trail and the North Carolina / Tennessee
state line cross through New Found Gap from east to west.
At 6,593 feet, this peak is the third highest in the Park.
Although the summit of Leconte is tree-covered and offers no
views, impressive views are available at Cliff Tops and Myrtle
Point on the other side of the summit. The summit can be reached
via several trails including Alum Caves Trail (4.5 miles),
Rainbow Falls Trail (6.5 miles), Bullhead Trail (6.5 miles),
Trillium Gap Trail (7 miles) and the Boulevard (8 miles). The
Rainbow Falls / Bullhead combination makes one of the Park's
The Park has front country (developed) and backcountry
(backpacking) campsites. The procedures and facilities for each
are different. There also are a limited number of Group Tent
Camping areas. Please visit the NPS site for more information
in the Park.
The Smokies are a premier wildlife viewing area. Early in
the morning and late in the evening make the best viewing times.
Cades Cove and Cataloochee have large open spaces and provide
excellent opportunities for viewing wildlife. Wildlife sightings
are common throughout the Park and may include bears, fox, and
wild hogs. For more information, visit the NPS nature