Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Suggestions? Local tips? Tell us!


351 mi 565 km

Hikes

955 mi 1,537 km

Trails
Gems
13 Gems

Easy Trails
86 Trails
Intermediate Trails
103 Trails
Hard Trails
17 Trails

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is made up of countless forested mountain ridges that form the border between Tennessee and North Carolina. Encompassing over 800 square miles in the southern Appalachian Mountains, this one of America's most visited national parks, and for good reason! The park is famous for its stunning variety of flora and fauna, the magnificence of its ancient topography, and the remnants of its Southern Appalachian culture. Visitors are sure to be impressed by the wonderful diversity that the park has to offer.

To learn more about Great Smoky Mountains National Park, visit www.nps.gov.

Information

Visitor Centers:
Hours of operation vary by season. To see current hours of operation as well as to see the amentities offered at each visitor center, visit the park's website.

  • Cades Cove Visitor Center: Open daily, except on 12/25. Hours vary by season.
  • Oconaluftee Visitor Center: Open daily, except on 12/25. Hours vary by season.
  • Sugarlands Visitor Center: Open daily, except on 12/25. Hours vary by season.
  • Clingmans Dome Visitor Contact Station: Open April through November. Hours vary by season.

Visiting Tips

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. However, some secondary roads, campgrounds, and other visitor facilities close in winter. For more information on seasonal closures and to check current conditions, visit the park's website.

Due to the varied elevation and topography in the park, local weather can be unpredictable. The temperatures are greatly varied between mountain tops and valley floors, and the weather can also be drastically different. The park's lowlands average about 55 inches of rain per year while Clingmans Dome receives up to 85 inches per year. Visitors are advised to plan ahead and be conscious of the weather when planning a trip to the park.

Fees & Passes:
There is no entrance fee for Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Camping and Lodging

Camping:
The park maintains ten developed campgrounds. Campsites at Cades Cove, Cataloochee, Cosby, Elkmont, and Smokemont may be reserved online or by phone at (877) 444-6777. Advance reservations are required at Cataloochee Campground. All remaining park campgrounds are filled on a first come, first served basis. For more information about camping reservations, campground amenities, and seasons of operation, visit the park's website.

  • Abrams Creek: 16 sites. $14 per night. Open late May to mid-October. Sites filled on a first come, first served basis.
  • Balsam Mountain: 46 sites. $14 per night. Open late May to mid-October. Sites filled on a first come, first served basis.
  • Big Creek: 12 sites. $14 per night. Open early April to late October. Sites filled on a first come, first served basis.
  • Cades Cove: 159 sites. $17 - $20 per night. Open year round. Reservations can be made online.
  • Cataloochee: 27 sites. $20 per night. Open late May to late October. Reservations required and can be made online.
  • Cosby: 157 sites. $14 per night. Open early April to late October. Reservations can be made online.
  • Deep Creek: 92 sites. $17 per night. Open early April to late October. Sites filled on a first come, first served basis.
  • Elkmont: 220 sites. $17 - $23 per night. Open mid-March to late November. Reservations can be made online.
  • Look Rock: 68 sites. $14 per night. Sites filled on a first come, first served basis.
  • Smokemont: 142 sites. $17 - $20 per night. Open year round. Reservations can be made online.

Backcountry Camping:
Advance reservations and permits are required for all overnight stays in the backcountry. To make reservations, please visit the park's website.

Lodging:
The LeConte Lodge is the only lodging located within the park. It is located on the top of Mount Le Conte and is only accessible on foot. Reservations must be made in advance and can be made online or by calling (865) 429-5704.

Outfitters, Guided Tours, and Shuttles

Guided Tours:
Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers a variety of ranger-led programs from spring to fall. All programs, unless otherwise specified, are free and open to the public. To learn more about these ranger-led programs and to see the current events calendar, click here.

REI Adventures:
REI offers over 30 national park trips led by expert guides capable of taking you off the beaten path to discover hidden gems that many visitors never see. In honor of the National Park Service Centennial, REI will donate 10% of proceeds from these trips to the National Park Foundation.

Maps and Guidebooks

If you're interested in learning more about hiking in Great Smoky, please consider purchasing a copy of GSMP: Hiking Trails of the Smokies. The guide covers all 150 official trails in Great Smoky Mountains National Park with in-depth narratives and invaluable profile charts that show mileage, elevation change, and major stream crossings at a glance.

To download the park's free trip planner to help plan your visit, click here.

Food and Drink

There are limited options for food and beverages located within the park. Cades Cove Campground Store sells limited groceries and camping supplies and has a snack bar that serves breakfast, sandwiches, wraps, soup, chili, pizza, and soft serve ice cream. The Elkmont Campground Concession offers some snack items, beverages, and a limited selection of camping supplies. Smokemont Riding Stables sells snacks, beverages, firewood, and ice. Vending machines can be found at most of the visitor centers. Visitors looking for more dining options can visit the nearby towns located just outside the park.

After the Hike: Local Favorites

The Park Grill Salad bar is amazing! So is the Pecan Chicken and sweet potato casserole. Best food I've had so far in Gatlinburg.
1110 Parkway, Gatlinburg TN — (865) 436-2300
Old Dad's Gatlinburg General Store Best place in G-Burg to get picnic supplies. Free parking! Hidden gem near the entrance to the Great Smokies.
1227 Parkway, Gatlinburg TN — (865) 430-1644
Calhoun's Best fried chicken I've ever had, ribs are fantastic, and the mac and cheese is delish!
1004 Parkway, Gatlinburg TN — (865) 868-1500
Texas Roadhouse Ask for Matthew... He is the best waiter in this place...!!
1019 Parkway, Gatlinburg TN — (865) 430-4284
Cherokee Grill You must try the mac and cheese! it is the best ever!
1002 Parkway, Gatlinburg TN — (865) 436-4288
Howards Restaurant Anthony suggested the burgers for lunch they were awesome! Fiancé got the grilled chicken which was also delicious! Worth stopping in for at lunch.
976 Parkway, Gatlinburg TN — (865) 436-3600
Bearland Grill & General Store The French toast is made to order & that's good. Got cussed out for not giving partner two ruffs.
Mellow Mushroom Check out the custom artwork all over the store!
Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Mama makes the best bread pudding! At least that's what mama always said...
900 Parkway, Gatlinburg TN — (865) 430-3034
Hofbrauhaus Restaurant and The Cheese Cupboard Check out their expansive German beer selection.
Donut Friar Any true fan of Gatlinburg gets their donuts here. Especially good when sitting on your motel/hotel balcony, listening to the waters of the creek.
Tom & Earl's Back Alley Grill I love this bar! Not usually crowded, great drinks, nice patio and food is good too.
Pancake Pantry French Toast is amazing. Seriously.
628 Parkway, Gatlinburg TN — (865) 436-4724
New Orleans Sandwich Company Fat Tuesday Ferdie Sandwich dressed = YUM!
Geno's Pizza & Subs Food was very good. The employees were really nice. My wife and I went in late, looking for a good pizza place around town. Our kids are extremely picky eaters and they loved the pizza.
385 E Parkway, Gatlinburg TN — (865) 430-9300
Hungry Bear BBQ Delicious! Loved it
490 E Parkway, Gatlinburg TN — (865) 325-1084
Mountain Perks Black Widow coffee has the perks!
9 Depot St, Bryson City NC — (828) 488-9561
Anthony's Italian Resturant Only bad thing is the stupid tourists. They come in expecting other customers to wait on them like they employee's.
103 Depot St, Bryson City NC — (828) 488-8898
The Iron Skillet Chicken wrap... Can ask for buffalo... Awesome. Friendly staff. Bright atmosphere. A+
Little House of Pancakes All you can eat pancake is HUGE!
807 E Parkway, Gatlinburg TN — (865) 436-4784

Other Activities

Visitors to Great Smoky Mountains National Park have a multitude of options when it comes to ways to explore the park. Whether hiking, biking, camping, fishing, horseback riding, picnicking or simply enjoying the scenery from the road, Great Smoky has plenty of opportunities for visitors to enjoy all that the park has to offer. For visitors looking for other adventures in the area, check out the nearby options for mountain biking and rock climbing in the area.
Festival Camping Basics: May 31 - Knoxville REI
Headed to Bonnaroo and looking to have the best camp set-up for the weekend? This class is for festival goers or those interested in setting up the ultimate Car Camping site! Details
National Trails Day: Jun 3 - Sugarlands Visitors Center
Show your support for National Trails Day at a fun day of work on the Appalachian Trail in the Smokies hosted by the Smoky Mountain Hiking Club! Details
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Featured Hike
Trail
Featured Hikes
Trails

Gems in Great Smoky Mountains National Park - 13

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Featured Hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park - 23

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Trails in Great Smoky Mountains National Park - 183

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15.6 mi 25.1 km
#1 Hazel Creek Trail
Robbinsville, NC
15.6 mi 25.1 km Robbinsville, NC
Unknown
Update
6.6 mi 10.6 km
#2 Baxter Creek Trail
Cove Creek, NC
6.6 mi 10.6 km Cove Creek, NC
Minor Issues
Update
Fallen Trees - Dozen or so decent snags to crawl over/under. Construction to build a small solar farm at the fire tower. The spring just down fro...
27 days ago
Cove Creek, NC
94.1 mi 151.4 km Cove Creek, NC
Unknown
Update
Wildwood, TN
0.8 mi 1.3 km Wildwood, TN
Unknown
Update
5.4 mi 8.7 km
#5 Boulevard Trail
Gatlinburg, TN
5.4 mi 8.7 km Gatlinburg, TN
Unknown
Update
Newport, TN
0.6 mi 1.0 km Newport, TN
All Clear
Update
Mostly Dry
55 days ago
0.6 mi 0.9 km
#7 Cosby Nature Trail
Newport, TN
0.6 mi 0.9 km Newport, TN
Unknown
Update
Gatlinburg, TN
0.5 mi 0.8 km Gatlinburg, TN
All Clear
Update
Dry
63 days ago
Bryson City, NC
0.8 mi 1.3 km Bryson City, NC
Unknown
Update
Robbinsville, NC
102.3 mi 164.7 km Robbinsville, NC
Minor Issues
Update
Muddy
34 days ago
Wildwood, TN
4.3 mi 7.0 km Wildwood, TN
All Clear
Update
Some Mud - Trails clear.
19 days ago
Cherokee, NC
5.8 mi 9.3 km Cherokee, NC
Unknown
Update
8.9 mi 14.3 km
#13 Eagle Creek Trail
Robbinsville, NC
8.9 mi 14.3 km Robbinsville, NC
Unknown
Update
Wildwood, TN
3.6 mi 5.8 km Wildwood, TN
Unknown
Update
14.0 mi 22.5 km
#15 Thomas Divide Trail
Cherokee, NC
14.0 mi 22.5 km Cherokee, NC
Unknown
Update
4.1 mi 6.6 km
#16 Boogerman Trail
Cove Creek, NC
4.1 mi 6.6 km Cove Creek, NC
Unknown
Update
Gatlinburg, TN
3.7 mi 5.9 km Gatlinburg, TN
Unknown
Update
4.1 mi 6.6 km
#18 Jonas Creek Trail
Bryson City, NC
4.1 mi 6.6 km Bryson City, NC
Unknown
Update
Gatlinburg, TN
2.4 mi 3.8 km Gatlinburg, TN
Unknown
Update
11.7 mi 18.9 km
#20 Noland Divide Trail
Bryson City, NC
11.7 mi 18.9 km Bryson City, NC
All Clear
Update
Some Mud - It's been a wet spring and it rained some while I was running. The trail was mostly great, a few wet/muddy places, but I never got my sh...
15 days ago

Photos of Great Smoky Mountains National Park - 696

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