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  • United States
  • Tennessee
  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee

    Summary Established in 1934, Great Smoky Mountains National Park straddles the border of both Tennessee and North Carolina. The Great Smoky Mountains are a subrange of the Appalachian Mountains. With stunning views of mountain ridgelines, waterfalls, and wildlife, there's a reason why this is annually one of the top visited national parks. The park spans 522,427 acres spread almost evenly across the two states. There are 10 campgrounds containing approximately 1,000 campsites, plus an additional 100 backcountry campsites. The park also contains 850 miles of trails. Great Smoky Mountains National Park is 1 of 423 national parks in the US and 1 of 12 in Tennessee. Key Details When to go: Peak seasons run from mid-June through mid-August. Expect the park to be more crowded during this time of year. If you plan to visit in the winter, note that some roads and campgrounds may close due to heavy snowfall. The Fall is a beautiful time to visit as the leaves begin to change colors. Permits that you might need Check out the special use permits and free backcountry permits here: https://www.nps.gov/cuva/planyourvisit/permitsandreservations.htm. But, entry to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is free! Top adventures to check out: Ramsey Cascades (tallest waterfall in the park), Chimney Tops, Clingmans Dome Camping Cades Cove Campground - Popular campground surrounded by brilliant wildflowers, wildlife, and historic structures Cosby Campground - Features many shaded and secluded sites, great fishing opportunities Elkmont Campground - Largest campground in the park, ideal for group camping trips LeConte Lodge - Highest lodge in the Eastern United States, accessible only by hiking, cabin with bunk bed arrangement Key Contact Information Recorded information: (865) 436-1200 Road Updates: (865) 436-1200 Pet Info Pets must be kept on a leash at all times and are only permitted on the Gatlinburg and Oconaluftee River Trails. There are certain designated campgrounds and picnic areas that do allow pets, but make sure you check before making plans.

    Top Spots in and near Great Smoky Mountains National Park

    • Canton, North Carolina

      Sam Knob and Flat Laurel Creek Loop

      4.9
      3.84 mi / 807 ft gain
      This is one of my favorite quick "getaway" loops in the Pisgah Ranger District. Turn onto Black Balsam Knob Road (Mile Marker 420 on the Blue Ridge Parkway) go until you reach a dead end and park at the parking lot. You'll see the Sam Knob trail to the right of the public bathrooms. From there, i...
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    • Canton, North Carolina

      Tennent Mountain

      5.0
      3 mi / 285 ft gain
      Park at the Lot at the end of Black Balsam road, and start your morning in the dark, down the old dirt road at the end of the lot. Take this road until you get to Ivestor Gap and make a right onto the Art Loeb, try and time it so the sun is just about to rise here. Hike or trail run The Art Loeb ...
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    • Knoxville, Tennessee

      Strechi Hills Greenway

      4.2 mi / 0 ft gain
      This greeway is located in north Knoxville near the Sterchi Hills neighborhood. The greenway is 2.1 miles one way so it can make for a good run through the woods. All of the greenway is paved and most of it is under tree cover so it is shaded most of the time. This is a great trail to see birds a...
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    • Glenville, North Carolina

      Hike to Frolictown Falls

      1.5 mi / 350 ft gain
      This is an awesome hike to do if you're short on time or have hours to kill. Because it is so easy to access, it doesn't take very long to get down to it and can be accessed by two separate trails. Both trails are well maintained, however, while there are some blazes, it is not heavily marked. Th...
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    • Glenville, North Carolina

      Hike to Granny Burrell Falls

      2.4 mi / 440 ft gain
      Panthertown Valley has a unique system of trails, with each trail having a specific number. Some of the trails listed at the information hut in the parking lot are accessed by taking one or two other trails to get to the start of the trail you are seeking. That is the case when hiking to Granny B...
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    • Glenville, North Carolina

      Hike to Wilderness Falls

      1.4 mi / 300 ft gain
      Wilderness Falls offers a beautiful hike with a simple yet captivating falls. All of the maintained trails in Pantertown Valley are marked by a number system (there is an information hut in the parking lot with information about other local trails, distance of different trails, and emergency cont...
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    • Glenville, North Carolina

      Hike to Blackrock Overlook

      3 mi / 700 ft gain
      This is probably one of my favorite hikes I've done in Panthertown Valley. Its also one of the easier views to access. You start from the Salt Rock Gap Parking lot, taking the Blackrock Trail (447) up Blackrock Mountain. This trail is located about 100 yards to the left if you are standing lookin...
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    • Haywood County, North Carolina

      Black Balsam Knob via Art Loeb Trail

      5.0
      1.56 mi / 305 ft gain
      The parking area for Black Balsam Knob is at mile marker 420.2 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. It's free to hike here. Take the Art Loeb Trail a half mile until you reach the knob. Along the way you will be walking almost entirely on the bald which is a very pleasant experience. You feel like you're ...
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    • Highlands, North Carolina

      Photograph and Explore Bridal Veil Falls

      Bridal Veil Falls is located directly off of the road and is about a 100 feet tall in total. The falls makes for a great place to take pictures under the water falls. The falls itself is small and flows constant all year long getting to the bottom of the falls is not recommended because it is dan...
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    • Highlands, North Carolina

      Explore Dry Falls, North Carolina

      4.6
      0.42 mi / 95 ft gain
      Dry Falls is located off of Hwy. 64, which has been designated as the Mountain Waters Scenic Byway, and the road does not disappoint. Hwy. 64 is a two lane road which hugs the northern side of Cullasaja Gorge, which has been carved by the Cullasaja River. Besides Dry Falls, Hwy. 64 leads you past...
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    • Otto, North Carolina

      Hike to and Climb Pickens Nose

      4.8
      1.5 mi / 200 ft gain
      From the parking area (fits about 6 cars) follow the trail on the same side of the road up the ridge through dense rhododendron. Several spur trails branch off of the main trail and lead to rock outcroppings with excellent views. Getting to the parking area is slow. The narrow gravel road winds...
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    • Knoxville, Tennessee

      Bike or Run the Halls Greenway

      2 mi
      This place is located right in the middle of Halls Crossroads. There are multiple access points along the Greenway. There is the Halls Community Center which is where the GPS of this adventure will lead you or there is a small parking area next to the Halls Food City. There are other entrances fr...
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    • Tellico Plains, Tennessee

      Explore North River Road

      4.7
      If you're looking to get off the beaten path and take the road less traveled, North River Road is your ticket to solitude.A popular loop for the locals is starting on Tellico River Road, then getting on North River Road to make your way up the mountain all the way to the Cherohala Skyway. Take th...
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    • Tellico Plains, Tennessee

      Camp at North River Campground and Dispersed Campsites

      North River Road is located in the Nantahala National Forest near Tellico Plains. To get to North River Campground you can either drive up the Cherohala Skyway about 6 miles then turn when you see the sign for the campground and bald river falls. Another way to get to the campsites along North Ri...
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    • Rutledge, Tennessee

      Buffalo Creek Falls

      5.0
      Buffalo Creek is located near Rutledge, Tennessee and Cherokee lake. It is a wilderness area with a fish hatchery run by TWRA and a few acres of game land. You can drive straight up to the falls then hike around a little bit through the river to see the rest of the river and fishing areas. The be...
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    • Canton, North Carolina

      Graveyard Ridge Trail and Mountains to Sea Trail Loop

      3.89 mi / 623 ft gain
      Graveyard Ridge Trail and Mountains to Sea Trail Loop is a loop trail that takes you by a waterfall located near Canton, North Carolina.
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