Planning a trip to Great Smoky Mountains National Park and need some help planning your trip?

Here is the National Park Obsessed guide for visiting Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee / North Carolina

The Quick Guide to Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Map of Great Smoky Mountains National Park

This is the official park map. It provides a general overview of the park and popular attractions such as Cades Cove and Clingmans Dome are marked. Click here to download a PDF of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park Map.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Basics

Region: Southeast

Park Size: 522,419 acres (816.28 sq miles) (2,114.16 sq km)

Location: Swain and Haywood counties in North Carolina; Sevier, Blount, and Cocke counties in Tennessee

Closest Cities: Gatlinburg and Townsend, Tennessee; Cherokee, North Carolina

Busy Season: May to September

Visitation: 12,547,743 (in 2019)

How much does Great Smoky Mountains National Park Cost?

Great Smoky Mountains National Park does not charge an entrance fee.

When is Great Smoky Mountains National Park Open?

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is open year-round.

Are dogs allowed in Great Smoky Mountains National Park?

Yes, pets are welcome in Great Smoky Mountains National Park but are limited to developed areas such as roads, parking areas, picnic areas, and campgrounds. Pets are not allowed on most of the trails in the park. Please review the Great Smoky Mountains Pet Policy before bringing your dog to Great Smoky Mountains.

Where are Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s visitor centers?

Cades Cove Visitor Center – Open Year Round

Oconaluftee Visitor Center – Open Year Round

Sugarlands Visitor Center – Open Year Round

Clingmans Dome Visitor Contact Station – Open Year Round

Land Acknowledgment for Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The National Park known as Great Smoky Mountain National Park sits on S’atsoyaha (Yuchi) and ᏣᎳᎫᏪᏘᏱ Tsalaguwetiyi (Cherokee, East) land. Today, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians has a small holding of land along the southern boundary of the park. This area is known as the Qualla Boundary and consists of land purchased by the Cherokee in the 1840s and 1850s.

Thank you to the Native Land Digital for making the ancestorial land claims accessible to all. Native Land Digital is a registered Canadian not-for-profit organization with the goal to creates spaces where non-Indigenous people can be invited and challenged to learn more about the lands they inhabit, the history of those lands, and how to actively be part of a better future going forward together.

Why is the park called Great Smoky Mountains?

The park gets it’s name from the Cherokee. They referred to this area as “Shaconage” (Sha-Kon-O-Hey), this word roughly translates to “Land of Blue Smoke.” Hence the name.

Fun Facts about Great Smoky Mountains National Park

  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park is home to some of the worlds oldest mountains. The Appalachian Mountain Range is estimated to be between 200 and 300 million years old
  • The Smokies is the most biodiverse national park in the National Park System. Over 19,000 species have been documented within the park; including at least 40 species of trees, 65 species of mammals, 200 varieties of birds, 67 native fish species, and more than 80 types of reptiles and amphibians.
  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park is known as the “Salamander Capital of the World”. There are over 30 species in the park.
  • About 30% of the US population lives within 500 miles of the park.
  • Great Smoky Mountains has more than 800 miles of hiking trails, 2,900 miles of streams and has preserved more than 90 historical structures.
  • The highest peak in the park is Clingmans Dome at 6,643 feet.
  • The Appalachian Trail visits Clingmans Dome, marking the highest point along its 2,200-mile journey from Springer Mountain, Georgia to Katadin, Maine.
  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the first national park to be purchased with federal funds.
  • The only accommodations in the park is the LeConte Lodge which was built in 1926 and gets it’s supplies via Llama trains.
  • Since 1931, over a half billion people have visited the park.

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Jennifer is a long time national park blogger and the founder of National Park Obsessed. She is a dedicated National Park lover who is working on visiting all 62 US National Parks. She has currently been to 53 of the National Parks. She is dedicated to sharing her knowledge of the Parks with others and helping them learn to love the parks as much as she does.

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