Smoky Mountain Towns / Tennessee!
There are several towns in Tennessee that are in the Smoky Mountains and border to or near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park! Many of these towns were for many years sleepy little mountain towns that few people outside of the area even knew about. But in recent years, some of these towns have blossomed into thriving tourist areas and have experienced huge building booms and great growth.
While every area in the region has grown, some area's still retain their sleepy little mountain town persona! And while a majority of the people visiting the Smokies will stay in the thriving tourist areas, many will find themselves in one of these less travel towns and realize they have found a precious gem!
Gatlinburg is the best known town in the Great Smoky Mountians! Gatlinburg is sandwiched in the mountains next to Great Smoky Mountains National park along and near routes 321 and 73. The town is somewhat limited in area due to the mountains, but that has not stopped the tourists from streaming in by the thousands! This tiny town of only about 4,000 residents will blossom to over 100,000 on the fourth of July for the fireworks display!
Gatlinburg has many attractions that draw in visitors each year. Ripley's has a big aquarium. Ober is a large ski resort. Other attractions are the observation tower and the mountain cable cars. There are a number of shoppes and restaurants that fill in the main roads that travel through and around the town.
Pigeon Forge is one of the best known and most visited town in the Smoky Mountains region! Pigeon Forge is the next town down the mountain from Gatlinburg and is nestled in a mountain valley between Sevierville and Gatlinburg. The Little Pigeon River flows through the center of town. And the main drag through town a 6 lane road called the "parkway".Traffic lights along the parkway are numbered making find it easier for visitors to remember directions without having to remember street names.
Pigeon Forge has year round population of about 6,000 all of whom are in some way connected to the tourist industry. Some of the area attractions that draw visitors to Pigeon Forge are the theme parks of Dollywood and Splash Mountain, made famous by their founder, Dolly Parton. Another draw to the area are the numerous live theaters that put on shows ranging from country music to rock and roll, biblical, comedy or any of a whole host of themes.
Information on Pigeon Forge, Tn...
Sevierville is the county seat of Sevier County, the best known and most traveled county in the Greater Smoky Mountain Area! Sevierville is one of the largest towns in the area with almost 15,000 year round residents. The town itself sits at the base of the mountains which are clearly visiable on the horizon. Sevierville is the hub for local shopping. There are several large outlet malls and also has many of the regular type stores and service you may be acustom to back home! Think Walmart, Home Depot and Lowes just to name a few!
Knoxville is the nearest major city to the Greater Smoky Mountains National Park Area. Home to an international airport, major shopping and numberous interstate highways makes Knoxville a well known hub of the East Coast! It takes about 40 to 45 minutes to travel from Knoxville to any of the best known Smokie Locations!
Cosby is located near the Great Smoky Mountains National Forest and interstate 40 just of route 321 and east of Gatlinburg. Crosby has a population of about 5000 area residents and is a quiet community but is not nearly as centrally located as say Wears Valley, Tn.
Maryville is the largest (population near 30,000) and nearest town on the Tennessee side that doesn't have it's economy based on mountain tourism. Maryville is a favorite town with people moving to the knoxville area. It has a thriving economic base and beautiful surroundings! Maryville is known for it's resturants, shopping and high school football team! The local college, Maryville College, is a highly acclaimed institution.
Wears Valley (population of about 5000) is located between Pigeon Forge and Townsend, Tn along route 321, Wears Valley Road. Wears Valley is located within the bounders of Wears Cove and is similar to Cades Cove in composition with the exception of it's being outside the national park. The valley has a higher elevation than Townsend, Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg. It is approximately 4 miles in length and about a mile across. The valley is dotted with small fields and horse pastures. The valley is surrounded by mountains, including Cove Mountain just to the south, Roundtop Mt to the west, Hatcher mountain to the north and Davis and Clabo mountains to the east. The area is best known for retaining it's old world charm and undeveloped nature.
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North Carolina Towns
Asheville is the largest major city on the North Carolina side of the Smoky Mountains National Park. It is located about 60 miles from the edge of the park, about a 1 1/2 hour drive by car. The Asheville areas best known attraction is the Biltmore House. George Vanderbilt's 8000 acre estate that is open to public tours. Asheville is located at the cross roads of two major east - west interstate highways, 40 & 26.
Cherokee N.C. is located on route 441 across the Great Smoky Mountain National Park from Gatlinburg on the North Carolina side of the mountains. It is probably best known for it's Harrah's casino. Cherokee is home to many native americans and since the introduction of the casino, the area has grown and completely changed from manufacturing and textiles to gaming.
Bryson City is a small North Carolina community along route 19 west of Cherokee and east of lake fontana.
Bryson City is the county seat for Swains County North Carolina and has a populations of just over 1200 in the last census.
Waynesville is about halfway between Cherokee and Asheville along route 74. Waynesville is the county seat, the largest town in Haywood county with a population of around 9000. Waynesville is named after a civil war general and known as the place where the last shot east of the mississippi was fired at the end of the war.
Maggie Valley is located along route 19 between Cherokee and Dellwood North Carolina. Maggie Valley has a population of just 600 and is known for it's amusement park.
Dillsboro is a small mountain town located along route 441 south of Bryson City. The town is a popular stopping off place for people on there way to the mountains via the back roads. Dillsboro was founded as a railroad town in the early years and is still the starting point of the Great Smoky Moutains Rail Road. The town a population of only about 200 in the latest census.
Blowing Rock is located along route 321 south of Boone North Carolina. Blowing Rock best known for it's name sake, a rock formation that causes wind currents to rise often making it look like objects are being propelled upward without reason. The town is also home to an amusement park.
Highlands is a mountain town located along route 28 just north of the Georgia state line. Highlands is a well known tourist town who's population swells in the summer from only about 900 to as many as 15,000! Best known for it's golfing history and courses!
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