The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a hiker’s paradise with over 800 miles of maintained trails, ranging from short leg-stretchers to strenuous treks that may require back country camping. We are located directly next to the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail which is a motor tour you can take through the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Many Trail Heads and the Twin Creeks Picnic area are all available from this entrance to the National Park.
We are located just one mile from the Gatlinburg entrance to the park that takes you to the Sugarland’s Welcome Center and the roads that take you to Laurel Falls, and Chimney Tops and over the mountain to Newfound Gap and the Cherokee side of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park 70 miles of the trail pass through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Within the Park’s borders, the trail crosses from Davenport Gap near Big Creek on the east to Fontana Dam, N.C. on the southwest, reaching a halfway point at Newfound Gap. It passes near or over several of the highest peaks in the eastern United States. The “AT” winds up over the highlands through grassy balds and descends into the valleys to briefly join other trails.
A good place to start is the Sugarlands Visitors Center on Route 441 at the Gatlinburg entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. There are nature exhibits, a short film, guidebooks, maps, and park rangers who give lectures guided strolls, and answer questions. This is also where you would pick up your camping, hiking, or fishing permits.
The most popular drive through the park is Newfound Gap Road, which is 26 miles long and crosses the park to the southeast. It begins at Sugarlands which is at an elevation of 1,436 feet, it rises to more than 5,000 feet above sea level at Newfound Gap. The road descends down to 3,000 feet to Oconaluftee Visitors Center at the main entrance to the park from North Carolina. Oconaluftee Visitors Center is also a treasure trove of information and the adjacent Mountain Farm Museum will introduce the visitor to the rural heritage of the early settlers. Newfound Gap Road is a gradually unfolding botanical journey that spans the five vegetation zones a traveler would encounter if traveling the hundreds of miles to Maine. There are scenic overlooks along the way, roadside exhibits, and trailheads for the hikers. At Newfound Gap visitors can look for miles over waves of rolling hills and the Appalachian Trail crosses the road here. There is also the memorial where Franklin D. Roosevelt stood to dedicate the national park in 1940.
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