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Overview

Bring your camera! The Great Smoky Mountains National Park sets new heights for superlatives. Just when you think you've seen the most spectacular view ever, you follow a bend in the road and a new vista proves you wrong. Straddling the border between western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee, this park — the nation's busiest national park — is bursting with things to do. Countless hiking trails meander through wildflower meadows, past raging waterfalls and forests full of every kind of fir, elder, maple and pine tree. You might see black bears, wild turkeys, Peregrine falcons or one of the 30 species of salamander. The park's ...

Bring your camera! The Great Smoky Mountains National Park sets new heights for superlatives. Just when you think you've seen the most spectacular view ever, you follow a bend in the road and a new vista proves you wrong. Straddling the border between western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee, this park — the nation's busiest national park — is bursting with things to do. Countless hiking trails meander through wildflower meadows, past raging waterfalls and forests full of every kind of fir, elder, maple and pine tree. You might see black bears, wild turkeys, Peregrine falcons or one of the 30 species of salamander. The park's ecosystem supports rich plant and animal bio-diversity, and the beauty of it all is truly astounding.

There are several park campgrounds, but beware that they fill up months in advance. No hotels or motels operate within the park boundaries, but there are many options in the two gateways — Cherokee in North Carolina and Gatlinburg in Tennessee.

Debra Landau
About the Expert

Debra Landau has written eight Lonely Planet guidebooks, including books on the USA, Caribbean, and the South.

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Debra Landau for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: A National Park straddling the border of Tennessee and North Carolina. It is the most visited national park in the United States.
  • Research: Wikipedia | Wikitravel
  • Weather: Rainfall | Daylight
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Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    The park is open year-round, but many attractions and some roads close in winter.