Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The most visited U.S. national park is home to the historic communities of Cades Cove and Catalooche, black bears, and a glorious autumn leaf-peeping season.
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Sunset over Newfound Gap in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Sunset over Newfound Gap in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Location: Tennessee and North Carolina

Top 3 Things to Do at Great Smoky

1. Climb Clingmans Dome

This 6,643-foot round-top peak sits at the top of the park—and the state of Tennessee. To tag the high point, drive the scenic access road (closed December through March) from Newfound Gap and walk a half-mile to the summit. Don’t miss the view from the spaceship-like observation tower up top. The peak is popular, so go early in the day to beat the crowds. Strong cross-country skiers and snowshoers can also hit the high point in winter for guaranteed solitude.

2. Touch Pioneer History

Before it became a national park, this landscape was home to many settlers who farmed and milled in its hidden valleys. Today, more than 90 historic buildings remain in the park. In Cades Cove, you’ll find the greatest variety of churches, mills, barns, and cabins dating back to the early 1800s. Head to Oconaluftee to tour the Mountain Farm Museum, a collection of structures from the late 1800s, or visit nearby Mingus Mill. Cataloochee houses a school, church, and frame homes from the late 1800s.

3. Get Sprayed by a Waterfall

Over 100 prominent cascades and waterfalls can be found inside Great Smoky Mountains National Park plus numerous smaller cascades and falls on the 2,000 miles of streams and rivers. Hike the well-worn trails to view Grotto, Laurel, Abrams, or Rainbow Falls or drive to Meigs Falls, The Sinks, or Place of a Thousand Drips. 

Plan your vacation to the Smokies today!

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