Top 5 Things to Do in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
In the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, there are many things you will enjoy doing. With over 850 miles of hiking and many roads to drive on, you may have a hard time deciding what to do first! Check out these top 5 things to do in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park:
One of the most popular things to do in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is to go on a hike. There are many natural features you can use to decide which hikes you want to try, including waterfalls and mountain views. Most of the trails are rated from easy to moderate to difficult, depending on length and elevation gain. Many trails are near Gatlinburg, and there are some you have to really travel to get to. Laurel Falls is a popular hiking trail right outside of Gatlinburg that is 2.6 miles roundtrip with a paved trail. At the end of the trail, there’s an 80-foot-tall waterfall with two tiers. Alum Cave is another popular trail, and the bluffs are about 2.3 miles from the trailhead. You’ll enjoy any of the hiking trails you try in the Smokies!
2. Check Out the Visitor Centers
There are four visitor centers throughout the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. They are located in Cades Cove, Sugarlands, Clingmans Dome, and Oconaluftee. These centers provide in-depth information about the national park, and some even have exhibits and films like a museum.
3. See Wildlife
If you’re visiting the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, you probably want to see wildlife. As long as you’re somewhere in the mountains, you’ll probably see some! Cades Cove is usually full of wildlife, especially out in the fields. You are likely to see white tailed deer, wild turkeys, squirrels, all kinds of birds, and possibly even black bears.
4. Have a Picnic
In the warmer months, having a picnic in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a great way to spend time together and enjoy the mountains! You’ll find picnic areas all over the national park, from Cades Cove to Greenbrier. You don’t even have to eat your picnic at a designated picnic area. Pack it up and take it on a hike to Andrews Bald where you can spread out a blanket and eat.
If you don’t want to get out on the trails, take your vehicle out for a drive! Driving around in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is another popular past time and a great way to see the beauty of the mountains. Cades Cove is the most popular drive. The path is 11 miles long and is a huge loop. There are a ton of historic buildings and unique sights you’ll want to see in Cades Cove. A more rustic drive is Roaring Fork Motor Trail. This is a one way road that passes over creeks and also has a few cabins you can stop and look at. A road that will take you from Tennessee to North Carolina is Newfound Gap Road. Everyone will enjoy driving through the mountains!
You have so many great things to do in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Want to know what you can do in the surrounding cities? Check out these area attractions for some ideas!