sunrise over Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Top 5 Things to Know About The Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Stunning mountain view in Gatlinburg.
July 24, 2019

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a popular destination for travelers to visit. Its natural beauty and diverse culture and ecosystem are definitely contributing factors. But how much do you actually know about the Smokies? Look at these top 5 things you should know about the Great Smoky Mountains National Park:

1. Free Admission

smoky mountains

Many national parks throughout the United States require you to pay an entrance fee before you can enter. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park does not require you to pay a fee Why is this? Back in the day, the land that is the national park was once privately owned. Tennessee and North Carolina as states paid for the construction of Newfound Gap Road. When Tennessee was transferring ownership of the land to the government, they made a deal that no fee would ever have to be paid to access the road. That’s why you have free admission to the national park!

2. Millions of Visitors Per Year

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park had 11.4 million visitors come in 2018. This is the highest visitation of any national park in the United States. People come from all over the world to see the park and it’s natural beauty. Many people love seeing the color of the leaves in the fall. Others are avid hikers who want to enjoy the multiple hiking trails in the park. Families come from all over to enjoy the mountains and spend time together. No matter why you come, the Smokies are a great place to visit!

3. Over 800 Miles of Hiking Trails


The Great Smoky Mountains National Park has about 850 miles of hiking trails. There are easy trails such as Cataracts Falls that are perfect for anyone of any age or physical ability. One of the moderate trails is Rainbow Falls, where you’ll see a huge waterfall at the end of the hike. Hard trails such as Alum Cave provide incredible views of the mountain ranges. Part of the Appalachian Trail runs through the national park as well.

4. Over 300 Maintained Structures

There are 342 maintained structures in The Great Smoky Mountains National Park. You’ll find churches, homesteads, cabins, cottages, and even grist mills still standing today for people to visit and see what buildings were like when people still lived on the land. Some of the most popular structures include the Walker Sisters’ cabin and the Elkmont ghost town. Cades Cove has the largest collection of structures in the whole park. You’ll find a working grist mill, a Methodist church, a baptist church, a cantilever barn, and multiple cabins.

5. Unofficial Salamander Capital

salamander in the woods

Many people don’t know this, but The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is home to more than 30 species of salamanders. This is the most diverse group in the world, making an unofficial name of the Smokies the salamander capital of the world. You are likely to find them around any of the waterfalls, streams, or creeks in the park.

Now you know so many more things about The Great Smoky Mountains National Park! For even more information on the Smokies, click here!