Great Smoky Mountains National Park | GATLINBURG REGION

View of the Smoky Mountain from the Gatlinburg Region of the park

View of the Smoky Mountain from the Gatlinburg Region of the park

Gatlinburg is a major tourist town in Tennessee just outside of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and it is the main point of entry into the park for those coming from or through Tennessee. Only a few miles to the north is Pigeon Forge, another tourist trap most famous for being the home of Dollywood. Put these two towns together and you have the potential for a tourist explosion. This potential is certainly reached in the fall, the busiest season for the park and the Gatlinburg tourist area. I have been to parks in Washington, D. C., New York, Boston, and San Francisco, and I can say without a doubt that this area of the Smoky Mountains is the most jam packed place that I have ever been in my life, not just in a National Park. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park draws three times the number of people as Yellowstone, and twice the number of the Grand Canyon or Yosemite.

For the record, the second highest concentration of people I came across in a National Park was at the Great Falls Tavern area of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park just outside of Georgetown in Washington, D. C.


HIKING TRAILS

Bull Head Trail
One of the most beautiful trails in the park, this 6-mile trail leads to the top of Mount LeConte.

Rainbow Falls Trail
The trail is 6 miles, one-way, but the waterfall is located only 2.6 miles from the start.

Trillum Gap Trail (to Grotto Falls)
Waterfall is located 1.4 miles up the trail (2.8-mile round trip).


HISTORICAL AREAS

Noah “Bud” Ogle Place

Jim Bales Homestead

Ephraim Bales Homestead

Alfred Reagan Homestead


PICNIC AREAS

Chimneys Picnic Area
68-site picnic area south of Gatlinburg on Hwy 441. The best picnic area in the park

Twin Creeks Pavilion
150-seat pavilion available for rental. Open seasonally.


SCENIC DRIVES

Roaring Fork Loop Road


VISITOR CENTERS

Sugarlands Visitor Center



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Last updated on December 29, 2020
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