Your Guide to the Smoky Mountain Visitor Centers

Cades Cove Visitor Center
Listen To This Article - Click Play
Subscribe

One of the best spots to begin your visit to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is at a visitor center! The visitor center will have all the information you need for a great time in the park. You can pick up a park map, ask a park ranger any questions you have, and even purchase guides and books to the park. To help you learn more, we’ve put together a complete guide to the Smoky Mountain visitor centers.

Cades Cove Visitor Center

John P. Cable Mill in Cades CoveThe Cades Cove Visitor Center is one of the most popular visitor centers in the park! It’s open every day except for Christmas Day. Here, you’ll find both indoor and outdoor exhibits of Southern mountain life and culture. It’s also home to a Great Smoky Mountains Association bookstore and shop, and restrooms available to the public. There are hundreds of items that make perfect souvenirs, park maps, history books, locally made jams and jellies, and more.

Right next door to this Smoky Mountain visitor center is the Cable Mill, a working grist mill that operates spring through fall. There are also a number of other historic structures nearby.

The Cades Cove Visitor Center is located at the halfway point around the Cades Cove Loop Road. Here are the Cades Cove Visitor Center hours:

Month Hours
January 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
February 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
March 9:00 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.
April – August 9:00 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.
September – October 9:00 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.
November 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
December 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Sugarlands Visitor Center

cataract falls in the smoky mountain national parkThe Sugarlands Visitor Center is another one of the popular Smoky Mountain visitor centers and is where a lot of visitors begin their trip to the national park. You can talk to park rangers, pick up a park map, use the restroom, grab a drink, or explore the many exhibits in the informative museum! There’s also a free 20-minute movie about the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and a gift shop. Not only can you enjoy the indoor exhibits, but the Sugarlands Visitor Center is the starting point for three great hikes: Cataract Falls, Fighting Creek Nature Trail, Gatlinburg Trail. Each of these trails are simple enough for the whole family to do!

The Sugarlands Visitor Center is located inside the park, 2 miles south of Gatlinburg on US-441. To get there, you can drive through downtown Gatlinburg on the main Parkway. Just after you pass Ski Mountain Road, you’ll enter the park. The visitor center is 1.7 miles up ahead on the right side of the road. Here are the Sugarlands Visitor Center hours:

Month Hours
January – February 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
March 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
April – May 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
June – August 8:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
September – October 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
November 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
December 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Clingmans Dome Visitor Contact Station

Photograph of the Clingmans Dome tower in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.Clingmans Dome is the highest peak in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park! At the Clingmans Dome trailhead, you’ll find the Clingmans Dome Visitor Contact Station. This spot is home to a Great Smoky Mountains Association bookstore and shop, as well as park information and public restrooms in the parking area. It’s located right at the trailhead, 7 miles off of US-441 on the Clingmans Dome Road. Here are the hours of operation:

Month Hours
April – October 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
November 9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Oconaluftee Visitor Center

mountain farm museum at oconaluftee visitor centerIf you find yourself on the North Carolina side of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, you can stop by the Oconaluftee Visitor Center. Not only is there a bookstore and shop, public restrooms, and soda and water machines, but it includes exhibits that tell the story of mountain life from native Americans and early European settlement time periods, through the CCC and the development of the nation park. There is also a Mountain Farm Museum beside it that has a collection of log structures, including a farmhouse, smokehouse, and more. Visitors can even enjoy ranger-led programs conducted seasonally.

The Oconaluftee Visitor Center is located inside the park just 2 miles north of Cherokee, NC on US-441.

Month Hours
January – February 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
March 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
April – May 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
June – August 8:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
September – October 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
November 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
December 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Now that you know everything you need to know about the Smoky Mountain visitor centers, you’re ready to explore the park! Learn more about the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, then get ready to plan your trip.

Close

Line Login Icon

Sign Up

Already have a login ? Login

Close
Login

Please login to your account.

Close
Create Your Account