Where is Great Smoky Mountains National Park?
The park is in the eastern section of the United States straddling the border between Tennessee and North Carolina.
Which entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park should I take?
Great Smoky has three main entrances and a smattering of smaller inlets. The Gatlinburg, Tenn./Sugarlands entrance is the most popular for tourists interested in attractions and auto touring. The Townsend, Tenn. and Oconaluftee/Cherokee, N. Carolina entrances cater more to the traveler interested in outdoor recreation and adventure vacations. The remote Cataloochee entrance is the best place for elk viewing, and the Lake Fontana entrance gives you access to lake sports and famous motorcycle rides right outside the park. The latter is also the way Appalachian Trail hikers enter the park.
How should I get to Great Smoky?
Most people drive to the park. Check out our road trip ideas. There are four major airports within a day’s drive of the park including Knoxville, Tenn. and Charlotte, N. Carolina. Once you get to the park, you will need a car or tour transportation to get around unless you ride the Gatlinburg trolley.
Where should I stay on my Smoky Mountain vacation?
There is only one lodge in the park and it has a lottery reservation system. However, there are several park campgrounds and horse camps. There are a plethora of lodging options near the park entrances including cabins, campgrounds, resorts, hotels, and a casino hotel.
What is there to see and do at Great Smoky Mountains National Park?
Auto touring through dense forests, exploring preserved pioneer communities, hiking to mountain views and waterfalls, and wildlife watching (especially for bears) are the main attractions in the park. During autumn, the mountains are ablaze with color, making leaf-peeping season the busiest time in the park. See our list of the top ten things to do in the park and beyond.
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