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Photo by @von_co
Located between the states of North Carolina & Tennessee, lies Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Full of lush forests, mountain springs, & spacious lakes, Great Smoky Mountains National Park has become our nation’s most visited national park, drawing in over 11 million visitors every year. Even though these numbers may seem large, the size of this national park allows visitors to explore the outdoors without large crowds. Here are some of our favorite hikes and must-see spots in America’s most visited national park.
When Should I Be Visiting Great Smoky Mountain National Park?
Visiting Great Smoky Mountain National Park can be done anytime during the year, as the park is open year-round. Visiting during spring and summer provide ideal temperatures and clear skies. Although summertime can be the most popular time to visit, the best time to visit falls between August and December. Visiting between these months will allow visitors to experience the fall foliage, a natural event where tree leaves change colors. The best places to see this autumn phenomenon are at Clingmans Dome & Blue Ridge Parkway. Don’t get us wrong, as the fall foliage can be seen all over the park. These two spots just provide exceptional views that we think are worth checking out.
Where to Stay When Visiting Great Smoky Mountains National Park:
Great Smoky Mountains National Park has over 5 different campgrounds for visitors to choose from. Each has its own unique terrain and will provide visitors with a different experience. Finding one suitable for your needs is essential when planning your trip. Many people visit this National Park to do one thing. Hike the Appalachian Trail. Spanning over 2,000 miles, this trail is one of the longest hikes in the world. Starting in Maine and ending in Georgia, this trail cuts directly through the Great Smoky Mountains. For visitors looking to hike along the trail, Cosby Campground is the one for you. Surrounded by rivers and forests, this campground is only a few miles from the Appalachian Trail. If being near the Appalachian Trail is not a necessity for you, there are plenty of other beautiful campsites. Our favorites include Deep Creek & Smokemont. Other campsites can be found here.
Visiting Great Smoky Mountains National Park gives visitors the experience of their lifetime. Popular activities include hiking, driving, fishing, horseback riding, biking & much more. The National Park also has a variety of unique animals such as salamanders, black bears, & fireflies. Bringing your camera and camera strap is a must. Some of the best places to capture views of the park include Clingmans Dome (highest point in the park), Mingus Mill, & Cades Cove. Just remember to be patient when photographing! Unique opportunities will come to you!
Hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park:
Appalachian Trail - Hiking this trail does not have to be as grueling as you can make it. Portions of the trail can be accessed near Cosby Campground & Charlies Bunion (8-miles).
Clingmans Dome (1-mile) - Walk among the highest point in the park on this 1-mile loop.
Mount Crammerer (15-miles) - This full-day hike will give visitors a variety of views as well as a watchtower to explore upon completion. This hike ranks as one of the best hikes to do in the park.
Abrams Falls Trail (2.5-miles) - Looking to see waterfalls? Be sure to take this short trail to Abrams Falls. This hike can become very popular during summer, so be prepared for crowds.
Visiting Great Smoky Mountain National Park is a unique experience that gives visitors a variety of scenery to see. If you are looking to get great pictures of the fall foliage, be sure to visit during the fall time. Remember to bring your handy camera strap, and have fun exploring the outdoors of North Carolina & Tennessee!
Written by @visualsbyry