My Smoky Mountain Park
Free Great Smoky Mountains Trip Planner

Free Great Smoky Mountains Trip Planner

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Great Smoky Mountain National Park

River in Pigeon Forge. Photo by Jon Grim

National Parks Photo Contest

Do you love to take vacation photos in national parks? We’re looking for photos that capture the essence of your experience, so whether it’s a landscape, a night skies photo, or a wildlife pic, send it our way. You could win a Tamron camera lens and be featured in a 2018 National Park Journal!

Autumn sunrise from Clingmans Dome in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Weather and Seasons

Olympic has a reputation for rain—and true, parts of the peninsula receive 12 feet of rain every year. See the forecast and average temperatures here.

The Smoky Mountains in autumn

Natural Wonders

Learn about waterfalls, mountains peaks, valleys, gaps, and overlooks inside the most visited national park in the United States.

Rocking chairs outside of a vacation home

Best Hotels, Camping, and Dining

You can enjoy many types of campgrounds inside Great Smoky Mountains National Park, but there is only one lodge. Nearby gateways offer many hotels and cabins.

I Wonder...

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.

Park gateway town, Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

Best Road Trips to Great Smoky

Getting there can be as fun as the park itself. Enjoy these scenic drives and road trips to Great Smoky Mountains National Park and other spots in Tennessee and North Carolina.

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.

Hyatt Lane in Cades Cove in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Scenic Auto Touring

See wildlife, colorful leaves, mountain peaks, and waterfalls, all from the convenience of your car. We show you the best pit-stops for exploring.