Even if you can't travel to the park right now, you can still see, hear and experience what’s happening in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, thanks to some amazing technology. Here are some of our favorite ways to feel like we are in the park, even when we’re nowhere near it.
Fly to Great Smoky
See Cades Cove, check out Laurel Falls trail and see the falls themselves, the Sugarlands Visitor Center, Clingmans Dome and more amazing sights in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Via Google Earth, you’ll get a sense of just how forested the most-visited national park in the country is, especially compared to other top 10-visited parks located in the West. earth.google.com+
Catch the Views Live from the Park’s East and West Sides
On the west end of the park, you can see a webcam trained on the eastern views from Look Rock. www.nps.gov/subjects/air/webcams.htm?site=grsm Look Rock is the highest point along the 18-mile Foothills Parkway.
On the park’s east side, you can see what’s happening from Purchase Knob, looking northwest. Purchase Knob is actually a mountain and it sits along the Cataloochee Divide. www.nps.gov/subjects/air/webcams.htm?site=grpk
The webcams are updated every 15 minutes.
Get Immersed in Park Life
If you can’t visit the park and listen to a ranger program, these videos are the next best thing. The park staff has placed a number of videos online on diverse topics. Learn about the park’s spring wildflowers, effects of climate change on the red-cheeked salamander and how to make dinner bells at a junior ranger blacksmithing class. www.nps.gov/grsm/learn/photosmultimedia/multimedia.htm
Or visit a backcountry shelter, hike to Charles Bunion, a bare-rock summit in the park, and more in these great videos made by the Great Smoky Mountains Association, the nonprofit organization that supports the park. www.youtube.com/user/GreatSmokyMountains/