What To Know About Visiting Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is truly a U.S. treasure. This national park encompasses land between North Carolina and Tennessee, and it’s surrounded by some of the area’s larger cities, so whether you want to go camping, or you want to stay in a luxury hotel, you’re afforded plenty of options.

source: wikipedia.com

source: wikipedia.com

Hotels

If you’re opting to go the hotel route when visiting the park and you really want a taste of luxury, consider staying in Asheville. One of the top Asheville hotels that combines beautiful mountain scenery with a decadent experience is the Grove Park Inn.

This sprawling Asheville hotel features soaring fireplaces, a golf course and an amazing spa, making it the perfect retreat after a day of mountain hiking and exploring.

Hotel Indigo is another stylish Asheville option, featuring a modern style that’s difficult to come across in many of the mountain cities and towns surrounding the park.

If you prefer to stay on the Tennessee side of the park consider the Lodge at Buckberry Creek, located in Gatlinburg.

Hiking

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is known for its amazing scenery and hiking opportunities, and while some of the terrain is rugged there are also hikes for the less experienced outdoors people, or families with children.

A few highlights include:

Clingman’s Dome: You can drive this route, via a 7-mile road that takes you straight to the top of this elevation, featuring views of the valleys and mountains. This is the highest elevation point in the Smokies and in the entire eastern portion of the U.S., so if you want stunning views this is really the place you can’t miss during your park visit.

Laurel Falls: A relatively easy hike will get you to the gorgeous Laurel Falls, which offers views of the 80-feet high falls. The waterfall is made up of an upper and lower portion and the roundtrip hike is about 2 ½ miles—it’s also paved, although it can be uneven so it may not be the best for strollers. Laurel Falls is one of the most popular areas of the park, so be aware of this when planning your trip.

Cades Cove: Cades Cove is a beautiful natural area that allows you to drive around an expansive loop and take in the wildlife and scenery. It’s not uncommon to see a family of bears in the cove or something else exciting.

Camping

If you’re feeling adventurous there are plenty of opportunities to camp in the park. Some of the more popular camping areas include Abrams Creek, Deep Creek and Balsam Mountain, although there are many more places where you can camp.

Entertainment

If you’re venturing out of the park you can visit the nearby theme parks including Dollywood and Dollywood Splash Country.

These are some of the area’s most popular attractions and while they’re set against the beautiful mountain backdrop, these Pigeon Forge Parks aren’t really about nature. They’re quintessential theme parks with thrill rides, waterslides and live entertainment, all with plenty of references to the queen herself—Dolly Parton.