"So THAT'S why they call them The Smokies" Top 5 Page for this destination Great Smoky Mountains National Park by goingsolo

Great Smoky Mountain is one of the most popular national parks. Ten million visitors flock here per year, pulling themselves away from the temptations of the vacuous city of Gatlinburg to travel, hike and see wildlife in this park. I have to confess that I've never been partial to the south or the parks of the southeast, but I was definitely curious about this one. After all, can 10 million people per year be wrong?

Great Smoky comprises some of the best aspects of the park system. It is a treasure trove of wildlife where spotting a bear is a likely possibility and all forms of wildlife are present. There are well developed trails, overlooks with stunning vistas and a large backcountry where you can leave it all behind.

The park is also rich in history and offers a glimpse into pioneer history and primitive living. Driving through Cades Cove, you'll find remnants of those old days as log cabins and churches still stand on this road. At the park's southern entrance, you'll find the Mountain Farm Museum, a group of buildings which once stood at various locations throughout the park and which have been moved to this area to demonstrate what life on a turn of the century (that's the 18th century) farm was like.

And then there are the mountains. The Smokies derive their name from the film of fog and haze that covers them on most days. The haze and film are nearly everpresent, which is how the mountains earned their name.

In the summertime, high humidity levels, especially after a rainstorm, mix with a not so healthy dose of air pollution and blanket the entire area which a fog so dense that the area should probably be renamed (although "The Great Foggy Mountains" probably wouldn't work well as a marketing concept.)

Despite the humidity, rain and fog, summer is an extremely popular time to visit. A typical summer day can bring 60,000 visitors to the park, jamming the roadways and creating a great deal of traffic. But the beauty of these mountains, some of the oldest in the world, keeps visitors coming.

To be continued....

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Stunning scenery and abundant wildlife.
  • Cons:Traffic, extreme summertime humidity and rain.
  • In a nutshell:Ten million people a year just can't be wrong.
  • Last visit to Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Jul 2005
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (15)

Comments (9)

  • cnango's Profile Photo
    Sep 1, 2015 at 12:22 PM

    You have done a great job writing about this beautiful National Park. I've visited it a couple of times because my sister lives close by in Knoxville, TN. Yet I've learned some things I didn't know because of your informative style of writing. Thanks for sharing I know how time consuming it can be compiling and writing travel pages. Your joy of adventures and discoveries on your journeys have always come through as well. Now I want to go there again! keep smiling and enjoying your travels.

  • Faiza-Ifrah's Profile Photo
    Aug 5, 2009 at 5:13 PM

    very nice tips and pictures, many of which i saved in my travel guide. i am visiting the park in late August this year and will try to compare it with shenandoah np that i did in july 08 and Bruce Peninsula National Park (july 09)

  • kazander's Profile Photo
    Apr 9, 2007 at 7:58 AM

    Thank for the info! We're thinking of making a trip here soon...

  • sprdak11's Profile Photo
    Apr 4, 2007 at 6:38 AM

    Interesting page. Greetings.

  • btex's Profile Photo
    Jan 28, 2006 at 9:12 AM

    more nice pics and tips. was wondering if this park was worth the drive from tejas. looks like it is. thanks.

  • freya_heaven's Profile Photo
    Sep 7, 2005 at 5:12 AM

    I would love to visit the Smoky Mountains one day, it looks such a beautiful area. I didnt realise it was such a popular place! Great page, thanks (~_~)

  • Sep 6, 2005 at 5:47 PM

    Will be there in a month...opted for Townsend, TN...had to come back for your great tips!! Thanks!!! Jen

  • ferdnbean's Profile Photo
    Aug 18, 2005 at 8:57 PM

    Another nice page, MissL. Going back again in November...just can't get enough of the Ashville- Smokies Tn/NC border area!!! Maybe we can meet up with you then and get pics of the changing foliage? Fondly Ferdly

  • Ben-UK's Profile Photo
    Aug 7, 2005 at 6:55 AM

    The 'smoke' definitely creates an atmosphere -- looks fantastic -- you have so many national parks in your country I'm jealous!-- I love this kind of scenery.


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