One of the most accessible national parks in the U.S. straddles both Tennessee and North Carolina. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers incredible vistas, mountain meadows covered in wildflowers, remote wilderness areas, and diverse forests.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Facts & Accommodations

There are at least twelve mountain peaks above 6000 feet. Among them, Clingman’s Dome, the highest elevation in Tennessee and the highest point along the Appalachian Trail, has an observation tower with breathtaking views. Clingman’s Dome is accessible by a seven-mile road followed by a one hour hike to the top. I did this on my visit and it was truly amazing at the natural beauty that surrounded me.

Other outdoor activities include canoeing, fishing, zip-lining, horseback riding, and biking. There are farms to explore, scenic drives, and wildlife sightings.

What Causes The Blue Haze For Which Great Smoky Mountains National Park Is Named?

The park gets its name from the blue-colored mist, or smoke, that hangs above mountain peaks and valleys. Streams, rivers, and waterfalls greet hikers all along a vast trail network. Popular wildlife in the Great Smoky Mountains include salamanders, coyotes, deer, black bears, bobcats, and elk.

Weather In The Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Summertime is the best time of the year to visit. While it is quite warm and humid outside the park, the park itself can be a bit cooler and as much as 20 degrees cooler above 5000 feet in elevation. In the winter, snow can be seen on the mountain peaks.

Best Place To Stay In The Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The nearby communities of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge host a variety of accommodations from small roadside inns to six and eight-bedroom beautiful log houses with incredible views and luxury amenities. Everything is located close to all the attractions but away from the busy main drag that connects both towns. One of the most famous attractions in the area is Dollywood. My family and I had so much fun on our day in the theme park and enjoyed the music and high-energy shows throughout.

Final Thoughts On The Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The area boasts all the natural wonders that make The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, one of the most beloved national parks along with all the man-made activities to keep the whole family entertained. The area is so accessible by car from the eastern half of the country, The closest major airport is Knoxville which is a short drive away which makes this area a great getaway for someone who may not have an entire week for vacation.

John Werner

As a 45 year veteran of the travel industry and the President of MAST Travel Network since 2002, John’s career has included 14 years as a travel agency owner. He has served in various capacities on the Board of the Midwest Chapter of ASTA including Treasurer and Vice President. John has also held several positions on the Board of Directors for MAST including Vice Chairman and Board Chairman during the years he owned Travel Group International, a MAST member during the 1990s.