The Ultimate Guide To The Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Is known to be the most visited National Park in the US and is home to many scenic vistas, some historic buildings, several scenic drives, cascading waterfalls, roaming wildlife, wildflowers, and many hiking trails. The beautiful landscape predominantly consists of forested areas with a very diverse ecosystem of several species of plants and animals.
Tennessee: (1) Sugarlands Visitor center – 1420 Fighting Creek Gap Rd., Gatlinburg, TN 37738, (2) Townsend Visitor Center – 7906 E. Lamar Alexander Parkway, Townsend, TN 37882
North Carolina: Oconaluftee Visitor Center & Museum – 1194 Newfound Gap Highway, Cherokee, NC 28719
Must See in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park has several scenic drives, the best and most famous being the Newfound Gap Road/Highway 441, which leads you to the Newfound Gap. The newfound gap has a parking lot, scenic overlooks, the Rockefeller Memorial, restrooms, and access to the Appalachian Trail.
Is the one most visited and popular overlook in the park, located around seven miles from Clingmans Dome Road, near Newfound Gap. A short but steep one-mile roundtrip hike would take you up the observation deck, offering breathtaking, panoramic views of Tennessee and North Carolina.
Is a historic area in the park, home to some historic buildings, cabins, scenic mountain views, wildlife, several hiking trails, and waterfalls. The best way to explore the Cades Cove area is by driving the Cades Cove Loop Road, which is a one-lane paved road that runs along the edge of the woods and around the valley.
Cataloochee Valley is known for its historic structures, peaceful valleys, hiking trails, and wildlife, mostly Bears and Elk.
Oconaluftee Valley is home to the Oconaluftee visitors center and also the entrance to the Cherokee Nation. Oconaluftee is a river valley that was once upon a time, a Cherokee village. Today, it serves as the main entrance on the North Carolina side of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and the valley also offers several scenic views and campgrounds.
There are several waterfalls in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Grotto, Laurel, Abrams, and Rainbow Falls is the most popular ones in the park, but you would have to hike a trail to see them. However, there are few waterfalls that you could drive to and requires very less walking/hiking – Meigs Falls, The Sinks, and Place of a Thousand Drips.
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