The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a major tourist attraction in the region. The Park gets twice as many visitors than any other Park in America today!
The 2 main visitor centers inside the Park are Sugarland Visitors Center near Gatlinburg, Tn and Oconaluftee Visitors Center near Cherokee, NC.
The Park is bisected by US Highway 441 (Newfound Gap Rd) providing access to many trailheads and overlooks, most noteably Newfound Gap. It is located between Gatlinburg and Cherokee, at an elevation of 5,048 feet and it was here where President Roosevelt dedicated the national park!
On the Tennessee side of the park there is a highway 73 that runs from Gatlinburg’s side of the park to the Cades Cove and Townsend, Tn side. On this roadway there are numerous pullouts where you can stop and access the many trailheads for hiking and the rivers for fishing or swimming.
The Park has quite a number of Historical Attractions with the most well known of these being “Cades Cove” the most frequently visited destination within the national park. Self-guided auto and bicycle tours offer sightseers a glimpse into the way of life of original cove settlers around the 11 mile loop road that encircles the mountain valley!
“The Smoky Mountains, in Great Smoky Mountains National Park” by USchick – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_Smoky_Mountains,_in_Great_Smoky_Mountains_National_Park.jpg
Things to do at the park
"Fly fishing for Trout and Game Fish" after hiking and sight-seeing is the next most popular activity! Many of the parks streams and rivers are located near the roadway or a hiking trail making it possible to combine a hike with a little fishing! The park has long had a reputation for a healthy trout population!
There are 850 miles of trails that include 70 miles of the Appalachian Trail! There are trails that are fairly easy that lead to waterfalls or historical area's as well as trails that are more difficult that lead to ridges and peaks that offer excellent sight seeing opportunities!
Roaring Fork is a mountain stream that has it's source at an elevation of 5000 feet along the north slope of Mount Le Conte. Three springs provide the source of the Roaring Fork as it drops 2500 feet in just over 2 miles and then spills over the Grotto Falls! It's mouth is located just north of Gatlinburg where it empties into the Little Pigeon Forge River.
Clingmans Dome is the most accessible mountain top in all of the Great Smoky Mountains Natl Park! You will find Clingmans Dome Road just off route 441 near Newfound Gap. The Dome road is 7 miles in length and will take you up to within 300 feet of the Top!