Operating Hours for Visitor Centers
The three visitor centers are open daily and the operating hours through March are as follows:
- Sugarlands Visitor Center, near Gatlinburg, TN, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
- Cades Cove Visitor Center, near Townsend, TN, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
- Oconaluftee Visitor Center, near Cherokee, NC, 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
There are 10 first-come, first-serve picnic areas. Open all year are Cades Cove, Greenbrier, Deep Creek, and Metcalf Bottoms. Chimneys Picnic Area will be the first to open on March 15 while Big Creek, Collins Creek, and Cosby Picnic Areas will open shortly after on April 1. Heintooga and Look Rock are scheduled to open on May 11. The Park’s largest picnic pavilion at Twin Creeks opens on April 1 and reservations are required through Recreation.gov only. Twin Creeks fees range from $35-$75 depending on the number of people. In addition, picnickers can reserve five other picnic pavilions on Recreation.gov. They are located at Collins Creek, Cosby, Deep Creek, Metcalf Bottoms, and Greenbrier picnic areas. The cost is $20, except at Greenbrier where it is $10.
The opening dates for the three horseback concessions located on the Tennessee side of the Park are: Smoky Mountain Riding Stable on March 3; Sugarlands Riding Stable on March 9; and Cades Cove is scheduled on March 10. In addition to horseback rides which cost $30 per horse per rider for one-hour rides, Cades Cove Riding Stable will offer their customary carriage rides and hay rides, and wheelchair accessible carriage and hay rides.
About the National Park Service
More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 395 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov.