Not only is Great Smoky Mountain National Park is a major landmark for people in the Southeast, but it is also the most visited national park in the entire country. According to National Geographic, the Great Smoky Mountain National Park drew more than 10 million visitors last year, which was more than double the number of visitors of the next most popular park. But what is it about the Smokies that makes it so attractive to visitors?
Great Smoky Mountain National Park is unlike any other national park in the country. Its vast forests and endless hiking trails make it a far more inclusive vacation destination than many other national parks. From the amazing rafting and tubing to the cabins, camping, and fishing, Great Smoky Mountain National Park has something for everyone.
Great Smoky Mountain National Park is the largest area of government-protected land east of the Rocky Mountains. As a result, the forests are home to many amazing creatures. In fact, according to the National Park Service, “65 species of mammals, over 200 varieties of birds, 67 native fish species, and more than 80 types of reptiles and amphibians” are protected in the park. Biologists have estimated that some 1,500 black bears also reside in the forests. The large, mostly untouched forests of the park have become a sanctuary for many endangered species.
Park visitors have the opportunity to see many of these creatures in a variety of ways. Hundreds of hiking trails provide creature seekers with the best opportunity to see the many species of animals up close and in their natural habitat. If hiking isn’t your speed, the park has provided visitors with dozens of specially designed observational roads where you can observe the park from the comfort of your car. A quick drive through Cades Cove or Clingmans Dome may yield sites of white-tailed deer or even a black bear.
Maybe nature doesn’t quite do it for you. Good news! Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge are home to some of the best food, live music, moonshine and entertainment in the entire country! If roughing it in a tent and cooking the trout you caught over a campfire doesn’t sound like your ideal vacation, then consider a more luxurious option. With a variety of resorts and cabins, you can experience the Smokies from the comfort of a wrap-around porch or a jacuzzi.
No matter what kind of vacation you’re looking for, the Great Smoky Mountain National Park has something for you. From fine dining and dancing to hiking and camping, your Smoky Mountain vacation is what you make it While you’re here, stop on by and see us at Smoky Mountain River Rat and let us show you the best tubing and rafting in East Tennessee!