7 Basic Facts About the Smoky Mountains That Might Surprise You
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The Smoky Mountains have a history, but do you know it’s a history that dates back nearly 300 million years? How many of these interesting facts about the Smoky Mountains have you heard before? Take a look:
- The Smoky Mountains National Park is the Salamander Capital of the World
Did you know that the Great Smoky Mountains are officially titled the “Salamander Capital of the World”? Not just in Tennessee — the entire world!
The salamanders just one group among 21,000 different living species that are friendly neighbors in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The park is home to 200 different types of birds, 67 mammal breeds, 80 types of amphibians and reptiles, 67 types of fish, and a whopping 17,000 types of insects.
To learn more, check out these 6 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Smoky Mountain Salamanders.
- You Can Find Hundreds of Trees in the National Park
Definitely one of our favorite facts about the Smoky Mountains is: there are over 100 different species of trees in the park! Unlike most national parks, we have over 100 native trees in the Great Smoky Mountains. Most national parks have fewer than 20 native trees!
- The National Park Dates Back Over 200 Million Years
The Smoky Mountains are estimated to be between 200 and 300 millions years old, making them one of these oldest mountain ranges on earth. Did you know that glaciers affected the Great Smoky Mountains’ formation? During the last Ice Age, the glaciers covered most of North America, but didn’t reach the Smoky Mountains. Due to that, plants and animals sought out our Smoky Mountains as a refuge and a place to ‘start over.’
- Temperatures Never Hit Above 80 Degrees
Love hiking but could leave the heat? There has never been a recorded temperature above 80 degrees on the Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s beautiful Mount LeConte.
You can keep up with the latest temperatures for your visit by checking out our most recent Smoky Mountain weather video.
- There’s Over 800 Miles of Trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
It’s time to dust off the walking shoes. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s hiking trails span more than 800 square miles. There’s many different types of trails, so take a look at some of these when you’re planning your hiking adventure in the Smoky Mountains:
- Top 9 Smoky Mountain Hiking Trails with Waterfalls
- Top 5 Must-Visit Historical Hiking Trails in the Smoky Mountains
- The National Park is Absolutely Free for All Visitors
Free for all! It doesn’t cost a thing to come into the park. This is a rarity among the national parks. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park was the first park to ever be developed with federal government money. Other monetary contributors were North Carolina and Tennessee residents as well as John D. Rockefeller, Jr. himself. It was declared at creation that there would never be a fee or toll to enter the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
- The Great Smoky Mountains Have a Nickname
It may be obvious that the Smoky Mountains are so called because they are, well, smoky. But many don’t know that the nickname dates back to the time when the area was settled by the Cherokees. They called the mountains “Shaconage,” meaning “place of the blue smoke.”
For more interesting facts about the Smoky Mountains, take a look at these 13 Facts About the Smoky Mountains You Won’t Believe.