Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park by Teri Virbickis via Shutterstock.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, straddling Tennessee and North Carolina, is renowned for its biodiversity, fog-covered mountains, and preserved historic buildings. As the most visited national park, it offers both tranquility and recreation.

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Fast Facts

State(s): Tennessee and North Carolina
Area: 522,419 acres (2,114.15 sq km) – 19th largest national park of 63
Highest Elevation: Clingmans Dome – 6,643 ft (2,024.79 m)
Lowest Elevation: Abrams Creek – 840 ft (256.03 m)
Date Established: June 15, 1934
Annual Visitors: 12,937,633 visitors in 2022
Nearest Town: Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Recommended Day Hikes

Park Tracker considers a “day hike” to be a hike under 10 miles. Below we provide our top five recommendations inside the park, along with AllTrails links to the hikes.

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🧗🏻‍♂️ Popular Activities in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains is about more than just hiking. See below for some of the best non-hiking activities to do in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

  1. Scenic drives like Cades Cove Loop Road
  2. Wildlife viewing, especially elks and black bears
  3. Horseback riding through forest trails
  4. Fishing in numerous streams and rivers
  5. Joining ranger-led campfire programs

🛎️ Where to Stay Near Great Smoky Mountains National Park

While there are ample camping and vacation rental options near most US national parks, I personally highly prefer staying at Hilton-branded properties when traveling to national parks. As such, below are the five closest Hilton properties to Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

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🍔 What to Eat Near Great Smoky Mountains National Park

After hiking and exploring Great Smoky Mountains National Park, odds are high you’re going to be hungry. Here are five of the best restaurant options within and near the park.

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