The Smoky Mountains are the Southeast’s premier tourist destination. Scattered along the Tennessee-North Carolina border, the Smokies offer some of the most scenic vistas and picturesque panoramas in the world, as well as hundreds of miles of hiking trails and plentiful tourist attractions. But despite what you think you know about the Smoky Mountains, they are a seemingly bottomless trove of fascination and spectacle. Here are some facts about the Smoky Mountains you might not already know:
1. The Great Smoky Mountain National Park is the most visited national park in the country, despite being only 19th largest in size. In 2014, more than ten million people enjoyed the park, an 8% increase over 2013’s count.
2. The Smokies’ Fontana Dam, a 480-foot hydroelectric dam that impounds Fontana Lake along the Little Tennessee River, is the largest dam in the eastern United States.
3. The Great Smoky Mountain National Park is one of the country’s top destinations for weddings, with nearby Gatlinburg bearing the distinction of The Wedding Capital of the South. The mountains are home to countless charming wedding chapels that are perfect for hosting the happiest day of your life. When you stay at Timber Tops, you can even get married right in your cabin!
4. Clingmans Dome is the highest peak in the Smokies, but just by a hair. At a mere 20 feet shorter, the runner-up is the lesser-known Mount Guyot, named after 19th
century Swiss geologist and surveyor Arnold Henry Guyot. Guyot was well known in the Smokies for mapping the entire Appalachian chain by climbing each individual peak and calculating its altitude using a barometer.
5. Though lower in altitude than both Clingmans and Guyot, Mount Le Conte is technically the tallest. From base to peak, the mountain rises 5,301 feet!
6. The Smoky Mountains are home to both Dolly Parton’s childhood home and its former resident’s illustrious theme park, Dollywood. The two tourist attractions are located just minutes from one another, with the former situated at the unpaved, very tail-end of Locust Ridge Road.
7. Franklin Delano Roosevelt dedicated the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in 1940, just as the rest of the world was launching into the Second World War. Of course, the U.S. would enter the war the very next year, but in the meantime, we like to think FDR and friends were probably enjoying a nice hike through Cades Cove!
8. Which faraway exotic locale would you imagine has the most diverse salamander population in the world? Bora Bora? Indonesia? Guinea? Surprisingly enough, the answer is…none of the above! With more than 30 different species of salamander, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park has the distinction of being the Salamander Capital of the World. In fact, on any given day, these amphibious little guys represent the majority of the park’s vertebrate population – including humans!
Of course, these are just a few little-known facts about the Smoky Mountains. Every visit to the mountains teaches something new and extraordinary. With so much history and natural appeal, it’s no wonderwhy Timber Tops Luxury Cabin Rentals makes its home here. And with Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge cabins capable of hosting up to 50 people, Timber Tops is the perfect choice for your Smoky Mountain getaway. Come stay with us, and experience all the Smoky Mountains has to offer!
Thank you to Sam Ellis for contributing this article.