Great Smoky Mountains National Park


Summary Established in 1934, Great Smoky Mountains National Park straddles the border of both Tennessee and North Carolina. The Great Smoky Mountains are a subrange of the Appalachian Mountains. With stunning views of mountain ridgelines, waterfalls, and wildlife, there's a reason why this is annually one of the top visited national parks. The park spans 522,427 acres spread almost evenly across the two states. There are 10 campgrounds containing approximately 1,000 campsites, plus an additional 100 backcountry campsites. The park also contains 850 miles of trails. Great Smoky Mountains National Park is 1 of 423 national parks in the US and 1 of 12 in Tennessee. Key Details When to go: Peak seasons run from mid-June through mid-August. Expect the park to be more crowded during this time of year. If you plan to visit in the winter, note that some roads and campgrounds may close due to heavy snowfall. The Fall is a beautiful time to visit as the leaves begin to change colors. Permits that you might need Check out the special use permits and free backcountry permits here: But, entry to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is free! Top adventures to check out: Ramsey Cascades (tallest waterfall in the park), Chimney Tops, Clingmans Dome Camping Cades Cove Campground - Popular campground surrounded by brilliant wildflowers, wildlife, and historic structures Cosby Campground - Features many shaded and secluded sites, great fishing opportunities Elkmont Campground - Largest campground in the park, ideal for group camping trips LeConte Lodge - Highest lodge in the Eastern United States, accessible only by hiking, cabin with bunk bed arrangement Key Contact Information Recorded information: (865) 436-1200 Road Updates: (865) 436-1200 Pet Info Pets must be kept on a leash at all times and are only permitted on the Gatlinburg and Oconaluftee River Trails. There are certain designated campgrounds and picnic areas that do allow pets, but make sure you check before making plans.

Top Spots

Cove Hardwoods Nature Trail

Gatlinburg, Tennessee

0.86 mi / 197 ft gain

Hike the Chimney Tops

Gatlinburg, Tennessee

4.03 mi / 1487 ft gain

Spruce Fir Self-Guiding Nature Trail

Bryson City, North Carolina

0.61 mi / 20 ft gain

Appalachian Trail: Charlie's Bunion and Kephart Loop

Gatlinburg, Tennessee

16.84 mi / 4429 ft gain

Peregrine Peak via Alum Cave Bluffs Trail

Gatlinburg, Tennessee

4.54 mi / 1325 ft gain

Hike to Mt. LeConte via Alum Cave Bluff

Gatlinburg, Tennessee

10.68 mi / 3982 ft gain

Camp out at Mt. LeConte Lodge via Alum Cave


9.96 mi

Courthouse Rock Trail

Gatlinburg, Tennessee

2.53 mi / 804 ft gain

Quilliam Cave via Courthouse Rock Trail

Gatlinburg, Tennessee

2.85 mi / 1404 ft gain

Places to stay

Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Twin Creeks Picnic Pavilion

Little River Trail

Spence Cabin

Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Appalachian Clubhouse

Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Elkmont Campground

Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Elkmont Group Camp

Gatlinburg Towers | Dual Suites | Pool & Hot Tub

From $118 / night

Guides and stories

6 Inspiring Photos from the Smoky Mountains

Nick Spicer

Indulge in Adventure at this Base Camp Near the Great Smoky Mountains

The Outbound Collective

20 Must-Do Hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The Outbound Collective

The Smokies Are Still Alive!

Merritt McKinney

The 5 Best Fall Hikes in the Blue Ridge Mountains

Christian Murillo

Quick links