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Best Things To Do In Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers a wide range of outdoor activities for those looking to explore the natural beauty of the area. Hiking, camping, and fishing are some of the most popular activities. The area also offers plenty of opportunities for wildlife viewing and bird watching.

If you prefer to relax, go on a scenic drive and tour some of the historic sites in the area or enjoy a picnic lunch in the park. If you’re looking to get away from it all, you can rent a cabin in the woods and enjoy the peace and solitude of the Smokies. Whether you are looking for a peaceful stroll along a quiet stream or an adrenaline-filled adventure, there is something for everyone in the Smoky Mountains.

Learn more about some of the best things to do in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.


Visit Cades Cove.

Cades Cove is a beautiful and historic valley located in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It is a popular destination for visitors who want to experience the natural beauty of the mountains while also learning about the area’s rich history. You can drive, bike or hike the 11-mile Cades Cove Loop Road to take in the stunning scenery, visit numerous historic sites and spot wildlife in their natural habitats.


Explore hiking trails.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is home to over 800 miles of hiking trails, ranging from easy strolls to challenging multi-day treks. Some popular trails include the Appalachian Trail, which passes through the park, as well as the Alum Cave Trail and Chimney Tops Trail. Visitors can obtain trail maps and information from any of the park’s visitor centers or consult the park’s website for more information on hiking trails and safety.


Hike to see waterfalls.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park has many hiking trails that lead to beautiful waterfalls. One of the most popular waterfall hikes in the park is the Laurel Falls Trail that leads to a stunning 80-foot waterfall. The Grotto Falls Trail takes hikers past small streams and tumbling cascades before reaching the falls. This is the only waterfall in the park that has a walking path directly behind it.


Go fishing.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park boasts more than 2,100 miles of streams, many of which are open for fishing. The park is home to a variety of fish, including brook trout, rainbow trout, brown trout and smallmouth bass. Before fishing in the Smoky Mountains, it’s important to review the regulations and obtain any necessary permits or licenses.


Go whitewater rafting.

Whitewater rafting is a popular pastime in the Smoky Mountains. The Pigeon River, which flows through the Smoky Mountains, is the #1 most rafted river in America. There are several companies that offer guided whitewater rafting trips suitable for different skill levels, from beginner to advanced. Some of the most popular rafting sections on the Pigeon River are the Upper Pigeon River and the Lower Pigeon River.


View wildlife.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a great place to view wildlife. The park is home to a diverse array of animals, including black bears, white-tailed deer, elk, coyotes, bobcats, and more than 200 species of birds. To increase your chances of spotting wildlife, it’s best to visit the park during the early morning or late evening hours, when animals are most active. Just keep in mind that these are wild animals, and you should always keep a safe distance.


Hike to see wildflowers.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a fantastic place to stop and smell the wildflowers. The wildflower season in the Smokies typically starts in late March or early April and peaks in mid to late April. However, the blooming season can vary depending on elevation and weather conditions. Late April and early May are also good times to view wildflowers.

Wildflowers can be found throughout the park, but some of the best areas to view them are along the trails. Some popular wildflower trails include the Schoolhouse Gap Trail, Little River Trail and Porters Creek Trail.


See the fall foliage.

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is known for its stunning fall foliage, which typically peaks from mid-October to early November. Drive along Newfound Gap Road or head to the observation tower at Clingmans Dome for panoramic views of the fall colors. There are also many hiking trails throughout the park that offer great views of the fall foliage, including Abrams Falls Trail, Chimney Tops Trail and Laurel Falls Trail.


Take in the views on a scenic drive.

There are several scenic drives in Great Smoky Mountains National Park that offer stunning views of the park’s natural beauty. A scenic drive is also one of the best ways to take in the spectacular views of the fall foliage. Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail is a narrow, winding road that takes visitors through a beautiful, forested area with numerous streams and waterfalls. It’s especially popular during the fall when the leaves change colors. Newfound Gap Road takes you through the heart of the park, past scenic overlooks, mountain streams and forests.


Have a picnic.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park has several designated picnic areas where visitors can enjoy a meal surrounded by the park’s natural beauty. Some of the popular picnic areas in the park include Chimneys, Cades Cove and Greenbrier, which offer picnic tables and grills. Some of the picnic areas also have pavilions that can be reserved for groups up to one year in advance.


Take in the views at scenic overlooks.

There are many scenic overlooks in Great Smoky Mountains National Park that offer breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains, valleys and forests. Some of the most popular overlooks in the park include Clingmans Dome, which is the highest point in the park, and Newfound Gap, which offers sweeping views of both Tennessee and North Carolina.


Go camping.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park has a number of campgrounds that offer a range of camping options, from tent camping to RV camping. Some of the most popular campgrounds include Elkmont Campground, Cades Cove Campground, and Smokemont Campground. The latter two are open year-round; all others are open on a seasonal basis. There are also backcountry camping options available for those who prefer a more rustic camping experience.


Stay in a cabin.

There are many cabins available for rent in the Smoky Mountains. The Smoky Mountains region is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and vacationers. Many of the cabins in the area offer scenic views of the mountains and are near popular attractions such as Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Dollywood. Cabin rentals vary in size and amenities, so you can choose the one that best fits your needs and budget.


The Smoky Mountains offer endless possibilities for outdoor adventure!







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