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We love the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and we know you do too! That’s why it’s the most visited national park! Nothing compares to the feeling you’ll get when you arrive in the Smoky Mountains and are surrounded by their beauty. To share our admiration for this beautiful area, we’ve made a list of 10 reasons why we love the Smoky Mountains.
1. Diverse Wildlife
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most biodiverse park in the National Park system. It is home to more than 65 species of mammals, more than 80 types of reptiles and amphibians, over 200 varieties of birds and 67 native fish species. This is part of what makes the park so special! We love having the chance to spot wildlife when we visit the Smokies. Some of the most common animals visitors see are birds, white-tailed deer and black bears. It’s always exciting getting to see animals in the Smoky Mountains!
Read our blog to find out where and when to spot your favorite Smoky Mountain wildlife when you visit.
2. Gorgeous Waterfalls
Do you know what else we love about the Smoky Mountains? All the gorgeous waterfalls! There is something so magical about watching the water cascade down the falls. There are plenty of waterfalls you can hike to throughout the park. Some of the most special are Ramsey Cascades, which is the tallest waterfall in the park at 100 feet, and Abrams Falls, which is only 20 feet high, but makes up for its lack of height with the large volume of water rushing over the falls. Rainbow Falls is another breathtaking waterfall. On sunny days, a rainbow is formed from the mist of the falls. On cold, winter days, an impressive ice formation builds at the falls.
3. 850 Miles of Trails
The Smokies are home to more than 850 miles of trails. We love being able to explore the park on foot and see the natural beauty of the mountains up close. Our favorite part about the hiking trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is that there are trails for every skill level. Whether you’re looking for an easy hike everyone in the family can do, or a more challenging adventure, there is a perfect trail for you. Some of the most popular hikes in the Smoky Mountains are Laurel Falls, Grotto Falls and the Alum Cave Trail.
To learn more about popular hikes in the Smoky Mountains, check out our blog, “12 Can’t-Miss Smoky Mountain Hiking Trails in the National Park.”
4. Scenic Drives
If you don’t feel like exploring the Smoky Mountains by foot, explore them by car! We love that we have the option of hiking or going for a scenic drive. There are a number of scenic drives in the Smokies that allow visitors to admire the sites from the comfort of their cars. The most popular scenic drive is the Cades Cove Loop Road, an 11-mile, one-way loop that offers views of wildlife, historic structures and more. Other popular scenic drives include the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, Newfound Gap and Foothills Parkway.
5. Free to Enter
One of the things we love most about the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is that there is no entrance fee. We can enjoy the beauty of the park for free! Why is there no entrance fee? We can thank Newfound Gap Road! The road was constructed using money from the state governments of North Carolina and Tennessee. When the national park was established, the states transferred its ownership to the federal government. However, in its deed, Tennessee included a clause that guaranteed “no toll or license fee shall ever be imposed” to travel the road. Still to this day, everyone is able to access the park, regardless of their financial situation!
6. Great for Families
If you’re looking for a place to spend quality time with your family, the Smoky Mountains are where you need to go! We love that the park has so much to offer families. Whether you have younger children or older children, you’ll all have a blast in the Smoky Mountains. You can go for a hike, splash around in the rivers, spot wildlife together, go fishing, go horseback riding, and so much more! You can even go camping together for some quality family time underneath the Smoky Mountain sky. You’ll share special moments with each other that you’ll never forget.
7. Something for Everyone
Another reason we think the Smoky Mountains are so popular is because there is something for everyone here. Those who want to relax can go for a scenic drive or an easy hike, and those looking for excitement can try a fun activity like horseback riding or fishing. Those who love history will love seeing the historic buildings in the park and learning more from park rangers, and those who love to sit back and enjoy the scenery will love the gorgeous mountain views everywhere you turn. It’s a place where people of all ages can gather and have fun.
8. Cades Cove
Cades Cove deserves a spot all of its own on our list! This is the most popular area in the national park, and for good reason. Cades Cove has so much to offer visitors. It’s one of the best places to spot a black bear and other wildlife, it has a number of historic structures you can explore, and it’s home to trailheads for popular hikes like Laurel Falls. Everyone loves driving through Cades Cove and experiencing all the beauty it has to offer.
We mentioned before how the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is rich in history, and that’s one more thing we love about it! When you visit, you’ll be able to get a glimpse into some of that history, including how people who called the Smokies home lived. The historic structures throughout the park are some of the most visited spots, including the churches in Cades Cove, the Walker Sisters Place, and the Little Greenbrier School. History buffs especially will love exploring the park and seeing all the historical sites and structures.
10. Incredible Memories
Vacations are all about creating long-lasting memories with loved ones, and that’s exactly what you’ll do when you visit the Smoky Mountains. Not only do you get to put the phones away and spend quality time together, but you’ll have the opportunity to see unforgettable views. You’ll never forget that time you spotted your first black bear in Cades Cove, or made it to the top of Clingmans Dome to catch the sunrise! Be sure to bring a camera with you when you visit so you can capture some of these special moments to remember forever.
Plan Your Visit to the Smoky Mountains
If you love the Smoky Mountains as much as we do, we know you can’t wait to visit! Whether it’s to take a scenic drive through Cades Cove or hike to a gorgeous waterfall, there are countless memories waiting to be made in the Smokies. Before your trip, learn more about the best things to do in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.