20 Must-Know Great Smoky Mountains National Park Facts

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the country’s most visited national parks. The park is located in Tennessee and North Carolina and has about every sort of terrain you can think of! The Smoky Mountains provide something for everyone. Camping, cycling, hiking, and even kayaking are popular activities in the park. Are you interested in learning more about this well-known national park?

Nature, history, and beauty abound in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We understand how fascinating it is to learn more about this lovely region, and we’d like to share some interesting information with you! Here are some interesting facts about the Great Smoky Mountains that you may not know:

1. Clingmans Dome is the highest point in the Smoky Mountains

The highest peak in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee, and along the Appalachian Trail is Clingmans Dome.

It has a height of 6,643 feet (2,024 meters).

At the top of the observation platform, you can view almost 100 miles out on a clear day.

The trek to the summit is less than a mile long, yet it is tough due to the steepness.

From this vantage point, the mountain vistas are extremely beautiful.

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2. There are 1500 black bears

According to biologists, the national park is home to 1,500 black bears.

That equates to around 2 bears per square mile in terms of population density.

Black bears may be black, brown, or even white, but in the Great Smoky Mountains, you’ll usually see black bears.

Plants, berries, nuts, fish, and other small animals are all eaten by these omnivores.

During the winter, they hibernate and may be seen at Cades Cove or along a hiking route.

Read: 16 Smoky Mountain Vacation Ideas To Try Out

3. Plants are the source of smokiness.

In the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, a beautiful sunset was captured.

You may be wondering what makes the Smokey Mountains so smoky.

The “smokiness” is really a blue-colored fog produced by the national park’s vegetation.

Volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, are emitted by the plants.

When there are a lot of VOCs, they combine to form a vapour, which forms a fog.

Because there are millions of plants in the region, the Smokies seem to be smokey!

Read: 10 Best Campgrounds In Smoky Mountains

4. The World’s Salamander Capital

The national park is home to nearly 17,000 identified plant and animal species.

Scientists are constantly uncovering new information.

One interesting fact about the Great Smoky Mountains is that it is known as the world’s unofficial salamander capitol.

The park is home to around 30 distinct salamander species.

In the region, there are 24 different species of lungless salamanders.

These critters exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide via the walls of microscopic blood capillaries in their epidermis and the linings of their mouths and throats.

Salamanders are often found along waterways and beneath rocks.

5. Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited national park in the United States.

The first fact about the Great Smoky Mountains is that it is America’s most visited national park.

In 2019, over 12.5 million people visited, which is the highest number ever.

This national park’s appeal originates from the fact that it is within acceptable driving distance of 60% of the US population.

The Great Smoky Mountains are accessible in less than 24 hours from two-thirds of the nation.

Because of all the excellent sights and enjoyable activities available, it’s also a terrific spot for families.

Another reason the national park is one of the most popular is because it is one of the few free parks in the United States.

It is not necessary to pay an admission fee to visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

If you want to contribute, you may deposit money in one of the donation boxes located around the park or give online at Friends of the Smokies.

Every year, about 11 million people visit the national park, making it the most frequented in the country.

One of the main reasons for the park’s popularity is because, unlike many other national parks in the west, there is no entrance charge.

The grandeur of the Smoky Mountains may be enjoyed for free!

6. Size of the park

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is spread out throughout Tennessee and North Carolina, covering about 244,000 acres in Tennessee and 276,000 acres in North Carolina.

This translates to more than 800 square miles, or 520,000 acres.

You’re just a short drive from the Tennessee side of the park when you stay with us in Pigeon Forge!

7. Flowers and animals, you can find in the park

cove of the deer cades the park is designated as an International Biosphere Reserve and is home to over 4,000 plant species and 140 tree species spread over five woods.

Black bears, bobcats, cottontail rabbits, coyotes, groundhogs, red fox, red wolves, river otters, and wild boar are among the park’s 65 animal species.

The park’s bear population is estimated to be approximately 1,500.

The park is also renowned as the unofficial salamander capital of the world since it is home to over 30 different kinds of salamanders.

Visitors enjoy observing the various fauna as well as the beautiful flora and wildflowers.

8. Altitude of the park

Did you know that the Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s highest altitudes get an average of 85 inches of rain every year?

Every year, these same places get roughly 69 inches of snow, which translates to 6 feet!

9. Amazing waterfalls in the park

The national park is noted for its many waterfalls, which may be reached by hiking or driving.

There are multiple waterfalls that you can discover in the Great Smoky Park to visit and explore.

Some of the most prominent waterfalls out of them include the Grotto Falls, Mingo Falls, Mouse Creek Falls, Hen Wallow Falls, Rainbow Falls, Tom Branch Falls, Ramsey Cascades, and Laurel Falls. 

10. Visibility of the park

Visitors may see distances of up to 25 miles distant on average.

However, owing to meteorological conditions, visibility changes, resulting in high humidity levels that might seem as fog or mist.

In either case, you’ll have a spectacular view!

On a clear day, visitors may view as far as 100 miles from the top of the Clingmans Dome Observation Tower!

11. Forest fires are not uncommon at the park

Every year, around two fires are started by lightning.

Rangers normally tolerate small fires since they benefit the local environment and do not imperil significant areas of the park at any one time.

Throughout the park, rangers undertake controlled burning in limited areas.

12. Hiking trails and roads available in the park

Around 400 kilometers of roads run through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

The bulk of the roads are paved.

Gatlinburg, Tennessee and Cherokee, North Carolina are connected by a 32-mile stretch of road that runs through the park.

Mountain streams, picnic places, and magnificent viewpoints may be found along Newfound Gap Road.

Hikers have access to more than 800 kilometers of trails.

Many popular round-trip hiking paths range in length from 3,000 feet to 16 miles round-trip.

13. Historical buildings you can see in the park

The property belonged to different towns where many people resided before it became a national park.

In the park today, there are around 100 historic structures dating back to the 1800s.

Guests may visit the Mountain Farm Museum at the Oconaluftee Visitor’s Center.

The complex, which was formerly a farmstead, includes a barn, blacksmith shop, and farmhouse, as well as an apple house, hen house, and springhouse.

Barns, cottages, and churches, as well as farmhouses and schools, are among the structures strewn across the park.

14. The founders of the park

The park’s construction needed funding, which John D. Rockefeller Jr. contributed in the amount of $5 million.

The initiative was funded with $2 million from the US government.

Private residents from Tennessee and North Carolina banded together to buy the park’s property bit by section.

15. There is no entrance fee to the park

The fact that there is no admission charge is one of the most fascinating aspects about the Smokies.

There is an admission fee for several other national parks in the United States.

If you’re wondering why the Great Smoky Mountains National Park doesn’t charge admission, it’s because of a road.

To link the two states, Tennessee and North Carolina collaborated on the construction of Newfound Gap Road.

This is one of the few highways that goes through the national park, and when the land was being made into a park, the federal government approached these two states and requested the road’s rights.

North Carolina gave their deed to the government, but Tennessee claimed they would only give it to the government provided passengers were never charged a toll.

That’s why you receive free admission to the park!

16. Plants are to blame for the smokiness.

With a name like the Great Smoky Mountains, you’re certainly curious as to why the mountains are so smoky.

You’ll be shocked to find that all of the plants are responsible for the legendary fog!

VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, are released by plants, and at high quantities, they produce a blue fog.

As a result of all the plants in the region, the smokiness is created!

17. The World’s Salamander Capital

The Smokies are recognized as the world’s Salamander Capital.

In the Great Smoky Mountains, there are around 30 different species of salamanders.

It is recognized as the world’s salamander capital since no other site has as many species of salamanders in one location.

Look for these animals in damp, dark locations if you want to view them.

Any brook or waterfall in the park would be a wonderful place.

18. The Most Visited Park in the United States

The most visited park in the United States is the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

It is the most popular for a variety of reasons.

Almost 60% of the nation can drive to the park in a single day.

Almost every other national park has an entrance fee, but as we previously said, there is no charge to enter the Smokies, which is perhaps why it is so popular!

Cades Cove is the most visited part in the national park.

Cades Cove is an 11-mile asphalt circle that brings tourists across a mountainous valley.

You have the option to stop and get out of your automobile, or you may continue driving.

Although there’s no guarantee you’ll see any animals when you visit, this part of the park is regarded for being a good site to watch wildlife.

However, historic structures may be seen all throughout the circle!

Do you want to go on any additional Smoky Mountain drives?

These gorgeous roads in the Smoky Mountains are a must-see!

20. Clingmans Dome is the tallest point in the area.

There are multiple high points in a mountain range.

Clingmans Dome is the highest peak in the Great Smoky Mountains.

It has a height of 6,643 feet and is located along the Appalachian Trail.

The trek up a paved route to this observation tower is just 1-mile roundtrip.

It’s a popular tourist destination.

Final words

It’s time to explore the Great Smoky Mountains National Park now that you’ve learned all there is to know about it. There is lots to do in the Smoky Mountains, whether you want to go hiking to one of the beautiful waterfalls, take a picturesque drive along the Cades Cove Loop, or go fishing. Not only will you be close to the park when you stay in our Pigeon Forge condos, but you’ll also be close to all of the top activities in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. Dinner performances, museums, theme parks, and more are all available! If you are impressed by these facts, you can come up with the decision to visit the park without keeping any second thought in mind.

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