Gateway Towns

The closest towns to the park include quaint mountain lodging, hot springs, American culture and outdoor outfitters.

Map showing closest towns to Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Northern Gateway Towns in Tennessee

Gatlinburg-Pigeon Forge is the busiest, most-popular gateway to Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Townsend is a much quieter outpost to the west. It offers lodging, dining, and supplies, plus serves as a home base for several outdoor outfitters.

Southern Gateway Towns in North Carolina

In North Carolina, Cherokee anchors the southern side of the park. Located on the Cherokee Indian Reservation, it features the Museum of the Cherokee Indian, Native American crafts, a casino, and more limited shopping, lodging, and dining than what’s on offer in Gatlinburg.

Just west of Cherokee is Bryson City, a charming little town just south of the Deep Creek area and home to outdoor outfitters, laid-back dining options, a microbrewery, and cozy coffee shops.

Eastern Gateway Town in North Carolina

Hot Springs is just 45 minutes from the remote Catalooche area of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It was recently ranked as the best "Small Mountain Town."