Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Nashville
Overview of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
- Nine million visitors come to Great Smoky Mountains National Park every year to see the rolling forested hills, observe diverse plant and animal life, discover the Cherokee homeland and learn about the Southern Appalachian Mountain Culture. Just three hours from the all the music and excitement of Nashville, the Smokies offer a trip into nature's solitude as well as opportunity for recreational opportunities.
- Great Smoky Mountains National Park has five types of forests, lending it a unique combination of diverse flora and fauna. There are 130 species of trees and 4000 other plant species in the Smokies. The 65 mammal species include deer, coyote, bobcats, foxes, bats, and bears. The mountains and forests are also home to 230 species of birds and plenty of reptiles and amphibians. There are several ways to observe park wildlife, including hiking, biking, horseback riding and ranger-led walks.
Activities at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
- For bicyclists, Cades Cove Loop Road is the perfect route to enjoy both wildlife and the 19th century settler home sites. This 11-mile road is closed to vehicles on Wednesday and Saturday mornings to allow cyclists and pedestrians more enjoyment of the area. Biking is also allowed on the Greenbrier and Tremont Roads, as well as Gatlinburg Trail, Oconaluftee River Trail and the lower Deep Creek Trail.
- With over 2,000 miles of streams that are naturally at capacity for most of the year, the Smoky Mountains offer ideal fishing conditions. There are remote, headwater and trout streams, as well as large, cool water smallmouth bass streams.
- Horseback riding is another popular park activity, with both drive-in horse camps and three horse rental stables throughout the park. There are 550 miles of trails for horseback riding.
- In addition to all the recreation opportunities in the Great Smoky Mountains, there are several daily ranger-led programs for education on a variety of topics. See a grist mill demonstration, go on a Cataract Falls Walk, or learn about the settler lifestyle on a Down on the Farm walk. Kids will especially enjoy the Cades Cove Hayrides in the fall.
Lodging & Camping at Great Smoky Mountains National Park
- Lodging within the park is available at 10 developed campground locations, endless back country spots and also at LeConte Lodge on top of Mt. LeConte. Campgrounds have no showers or electrical hookups, but do provide fire grates, picnic tables and water. LeConte Lodge is accessible only via a 5-mile hiking trail, and reservations are often required one year in advance.
- From the majestic, ancient Smoky Mountains to the exciting recreational opportunities and educational interpretive programs, Great Smoky Mountain National Park is one of the nation's treasures. Visitors to Nashville and Gatlinburg won't want to miss it!