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sunset in the great smoky mountains national park

10 Interesting Facts About The Great Smoky Mountains National Park

DATE : April 20, 2020

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is packed full of beauty and opportunities for adventure. The area and its history also come with never-ending facts and information. Here are 10 of our favorite interesting facts about the park!

1. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited national park in America. In 2019 the park welcomed 12,247,743 visitors, that’s over twice as much as the second most visited national park, the Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona.

butterfly on flower in the Smoky Mountains2. The park is currently home to 20,203 species. Discover Life in America is a nonprofit that is located in the park and has the job of keeping count of all of the species in the park as well as documenting species that are new to the Smokies as well as new to science. You can visit their website for updates and to find opportunities for getting involved as a volunteer or as a participant at one of their many events.

3. The Great Smoky Mountains straddle the border of Tennessee and North Carolina. One half of the park lies in each state and you can visit the border at Newfound Gap during your stay with us. Don’t forget to take a picture on each side of the sign!

4. The Smokies have sixteen peaks that are above 6,000 feet in elevation. Clingmans Dome is the highest, Mount Guyot is second and Mount LeConte is the third highest peak. Clingmans Dome is also the highest point on the Appalachian Trail.

5. Native Americans wandered the Smokies long before the settlers arrived. The Cherokee were the dominant tribe and referred to the mountains as “Shaconage”, meaning “place of blue smoke”. Today the Eastern Band of the Cherokee that remained in the area called the Qualla Boundary home. Take time during our visit to spend some time in Cherokee, NC, and learn more about the story of the Cherokee, their culture, and life today.

6. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park covers 522,427 acres of land. Within the area, you’ll find countless trails, waterfalls, overlooks, pristine streams, wildlife, flora, and pieces of the past around every corner.

appalachian trail in the smoky mountains7. The Smokies contain around 70 miles of the Appalachian Trail. America’s greatest footpath runs from Georgia to Maine and though we are a little biased, the section in the Smoky Mountains is by far one of the most stunning portions to experience. Take a day hike, backpack or thru-hike the entire trail, just make sure that you spend time on the AT in the Smokies!

8. Come one, come all to the Salamander Ball! The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is considered the salamander capital of the world due to more species of salamanders living in the Smokies than anywhere else in the world. You’ll need a good eye to spot them during your exploring the hills, but even if you don’t see any, they’re certainly there!

9. The Smokies are home to 1,500 kinds of flowering plants, including 30 species of native orchids. For guests who love beauty, and blooms and hope to witness an incredible display of wildflower diversity, a spring or summer trip to the mountains is a must!

10. The magic number in the park seems to be 1,500 because park biologists estimate that there are close to 1,500 black bears that reside in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. If you’re lucky during your visit you’ll have the privilege of watching a few in their natural habitat. Please respect them and keep in mind that it is illegal to be within 150 feet of all wildlife or at any distance that disturbs or displaces them. Pack your telephoto lens, binoculars, and patience and there’s a great chance that you’ll have a wonderful time watching the wildlife of the Smokies!

Are you ready to start planning your next adventure in Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park?

outside of bearskin lodge hotel in gatlinburgWe would love for you to be our guest at our downtown Gatlinburg hotel!

Our Guest Rooms offer options for solo travelers, families, couples, groups of friends, and more. You’ll receive a daily complimentary breakfast and freshly baked cookies every afternoon. We have a lazy river, outdoor pool, and fire pit that are perfect for relaxing between your excursions around town and in the mountains. Our Amenities are filled with everything you need for a home away from home feeling during your vacation. Our property is ideal for guests who want to spend time in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and in downtown Gatlinburg.