On February 28, 2014
Sugarlands Visitor Center could be considered the hub of Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP). It’s located off of US-441 just two miles south of Gatlinburg and is situated right next to Park Headquarters. This visitor’s center is a must-see for anyone visiting the park.
The center is staffed with helpful Park Rangers and volunteers that can help assist you with your plans and can answer any questions you might have. Stop in and pick up some maps, booklets and firsthand information before heading deeper into the mountains. It could be the last facility with soda machines, drinking fountains and bathrooms that you see for a while.
The Great Smoky Mountains Association bookstore and shop is also located in the Sugarlands Visitor Center and houses an incredible collection of Smokies memorabilia and plenty of books with topics ranging from Appalachian culture to hiking know-how. Plus, every purchase you make benefits the Great Smoky Mountains National Park by helping to fund scientific, educational and historical programs.
Ranger-led programs are conducted at the center seasonally. These are great opportunities to learn about the biodiversity and history of GSMNP. Plus, kids love them! There’s also a pseudo-museum in the building with wildlife displays. Be sure and check out the 20-minute free film about the park while you’re there too.
The visitor center is open every day starting at 8:00 a.m. and closes between 4:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. depending on the season. Find additional information about each of the GSMNP visitor centers.