To mark the National Park Service’s 100th birthday, Good Morning America is travelling all across the country to profile some of the nation’s most famous parks. Our very own Great Smoky Mountains National Park got plenty of love when GMA special correspondent Jesse Palmer took a trip to the Smokies. We have collected the best clips from Palmer’s adventures and added some additional information, so you can enjoy all of the fun activities highlighted on GMA.
To start off, check out Jesse’s report from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park:
Fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Fishing is one of the most popular activities in the Smokies, with all 2,900 miles of the park’s streams open for angling. The area is known for its wonderful fly fishing in particular, so Jesse hooked up with R & R Fly Fishing to learn the ropes. With a lot of help, Palmer was finally able to reel in his first rainbow trout!
If you want to give fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park a try, you will need a valid fishing license or permit from Tennessee or North Carolina. Here are a few places that you can purchase a Smoky Mountain fishing license:
- Gatlinburg City Hall – 1230 East Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738
- Smoky Mountain Angler – 469 Brookside Village Way, Gatlinburg, TN 37738
- Clabough’s Market – 405 Wears Valley Road, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863
- Walmart – 1414 Parkway, Sevierville, TN 37862
Once you’ve got your license, you’re ready to cast your line! Some of our favorite places to go fishing include The Sinks, Metcalf Bottoms, Tremont, and the Middle Prong of the Little River. For more great information, check out our complete guide to fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
See Llamas on the Grotto Falls Trail
In addition to Jesse Palmer, Good Morning America also sent YouTube stars Charles Trippy and Allie Wesenberg to explore the Smokies. Charles and Allie hiked the Grotto Falls Trail and were joined by some unlikely companions: a herd of llamas! Watch the video below to see Charles and Allie hike with their new furry friends:
The llamas in the video were heading to the LeConte Lodge, a special resort that you can only get to by hiking up the famous Mount LeConte. There is no way to drive to the lodge, so the business’ owners had to devise a creative method for getting supplies delivered. Horses were originally used for making the trek, but they did too much damage to the trails. Llamas, on the other hand, have padded feet and are used to mountainous terrain, making them the ideal environmentally-friendly animals for the job.
Your best chance of seeing llamas on the Grotto Falls Trail is on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, when supplies are typically delivered to the lodge. Hikers have reported spotting the llamas in the morning.
The Grotto Falls Trail begins at the Trillium Gap Trailhead, which is located off the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. This 2.6 mile round trip hike is unique because it features the only waterfall in the national park that you can walk behind! If you continue past Grotto Falls on the Trillium Gap Trail for another 5.6 miles, you will make your way to the peak of Mount LeConte.
Camping at Elkmont
To finish up his time in the Smokies, Jesse Palmer went camping at the Elkmont section of the national park with country star Drake White. Jesse spent the night in a Tentsile, a one of a kind tent that is suspended in the air like a hammock. High above the ground, this “tree tent” keeps campers away from the creepy crawlies you may encounter on the forest floor.
Whether you stay in one of the state of the art Tentsiles or just enjoy some good old fashioned camping on the ground, Elkmont is a wonderful place to enjoy nature. Located just eight miles from Gatlinburg, Elkmont is home to the largest campground in the national park. Both the Little River and Jakes Creek run through the campground, offering excellent fishing opportunities. Other highlights of the Elkmont Campground include a collection of fascinating historic buildings and trailheads for the Little River Trail, Jakes Creek Trail, and Elkmont Nature Trail.
To learn more about everything to see and do in the Smokies, check out our Great Smoky Mountains National Park page!