Great Smoky Mountains NP contains one of the world’s most diverse landscapes, with tall, soaring mountains, bubbling rivers and mysterious valleys. An oasis of life and the natural world, opportunities for enjoyment are unlimited.
Attractions include animals in their natural settings, like the American Black Bear and River Otter, as well as hundreds of miles of rivers for peacefully serene trout fishing. Every spring and summer, flowers burst open with magnificent displays of color, making for some of the most visually stunning hiking in the eastern United States.
And with over 850 miles of hikes, there will always be something new to discover.
Top Sights to See in Smoky Mountain National Park
Cades Cove is a lush valley surrounded by sweeping mountains, which holds a collection of historic buildings, dating back to the 19th and 20th centuries. These include a gristmill, a variety of barns and three churches, as well as a magnificent collection of log homes and preserved buildings. This area is accessible by an 11-mile loop that can become clogged with foot, bike and vehicle traffic in the summer.
Another historical valley, Cataloochee preserves its cultural heritage with a display of old schools, churches and barns, with common sightings of park Elk meandering through the woods and open fields.
At 6,643 feet, Clingman’s Dome is the third highest peak east of the Mississippi. A road to the very summit rewards visitors with the opportunity for a 360-degree view from an observation deck.
This 6 mile, vehicle accessible road takes visitors through a nature sightseeing traverse past rushing rivers, old growth forests and a number of preserved historical sites, including grist mills and log cabins.
Though Smokey Mountains NP is a great destination for both short term visitors, and those who will stay longer in RV Camping or wilderness camping, it is necessary to understand that the National Park is the most visited park in North America, with 8 to 10 million visitors each year, and therefore reservations should be made well in advance for any pre-planned activity. Visitors should also take note that during the summer and particularly on weekends, traffic entering the park may be extremely congested, so it is careful planning is advised should you wish to avoid crowds and find some solitude. The most popular destinations in the Park are Cades Cove, Cataloochee, Clingmans Dome and the Roaring Fork. Visitors should also be aware of the 1,000 or more Black Bears that roam the park, and should take every precaution to avoid confrontation with these animals.