Visitor Centers in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

There are four main visitor centers in the park: Cades Cove, Clingmans Dome, Oconaluftee, and Sugarlands.
Author:
Updated:
Original:

Cades Cove Visitor Center

Cades Cove Visitor Information Center.

Cades Cove Visitor Information Center. 

This facility in the beloved Cades Cove area, near the midpoint of the Cades Cove loop road, features exhibits on life in the Appalachians, a working gristmill, and historic buildings. Open every day except Christmas, 9 a.m. to as late as 7:30 p.m. in summer (hours vary seasonally).

Clingmans Dome Visitor Center

Clingmans Dome Information Center and Store

Clingmans Dome Information Center and Store

Pick up park info and browse the gift shop at this smaller center located near the top of Clingmans Dome. Open April to November, 10 a.m. to as late as 6:30 p.m. in summer (hours vary seasonally).

Oconaluftee Visitor Center

Oconaluftee Visitor Center

Oconaluftee Visitor Center

Check out two museums in this visitor center just north of Cherokee, NC. Inside, exhibits on human history teach about Native Americans, pioneers, and the development of the national park; outside, tour the restored settlers’ buildings of the Mountain Farm Museum. Open every day except Christmas, 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. in summer (hours vary seasonally).

Sugarlands Visitor Center

Sugarlands Visitor Center

Sugarlands Visitor Center

The park’s largest visitor center features natural history displays and shows a free, 20-minute park movie. You can also ask questions and pick up permits at the Backcountry Information Office here. Open every day except Christmas, 8 a.m. to as late as 7:30 p.m. (hours vary seasonally).

Related

Entrance sign to Great Smoky Mountains National Park at Gatlinburg

Park Entrances to Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The majority of visitors enter through the Sugarlands entrance on the park’s north side by driving through Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

The Gatlinburg Trolley driving through Pigeon Forge. Photo by Ron Miguel via Flickr

Gatlinburg Trolley to Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The Gatlinburg Trolley Tan Line stops at Sugarlands Visitor Center, Laurel Falls parking lot, and Elkmont Campground.

Sunset in Cades Cove in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Photo by Lee Coursey via Flickr

Cades Cove in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

This popular valley is known for its abundant wildlife, idyllic scenery, and preserved historic buildings dating back to the late 1800s. Take an auto-tour.

The Mountain Farm Museum at Oconaluftee Valley inside Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Oconaluftee in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

At the main south entrance, tour the Mountain Farm Museum, pioneer buildings, stroll along the Oconaluftee River, and up the road see a historic gristmill.

Map of location of Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North America

Where is Great Smoky Mountains National Park?

Great Smoky is in the eastern part of the United States on the Tennessee-North Carolina border. Gatlinburg, TN is the most popular gateway town.

Children fish in a stream at Caldwell Place in Cataloochee Valley inside Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Cataloochee in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Popular to visitors are the Palmer Chapel, the Will Messer Barn, and Caldwell Place. Also enjoy a campground, hiking trails, wildlife watching, and fishing.

Overview map of Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Map PDF

Download the official national park map to see the major park roads, rivers, park visitor centers, and the Appalachian Trail which bisects the park.

A male elk called a "buck."

Elk in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The park’s largest animal, elk can weigh 700 pounds and reach 5 feet at the shoulder.

Man walking dog on a forest trail

Can I Bring My Pet to Great Smoky Mountains National Park?

Pets are not allowed on any trails in Great Smoky, except for two - the Gatlinburg Trail and Oconaluftee River Trail.