If you’ve ever stayed with us before, you have probably visited the Great Smoky Mountains. As one of the most popular national parks in the country, we thought you should know more about this beautiful area, especially since we are right next door! Here are 6 facts you should know about the Great Smoky Mountains:
1. There are 1,500 black bears in the national park.
In the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, there are about 1,500 black bears. This is the most concentrated amount of black bears in the whole country. That’s about 2 black bears per square mile! You’re likely to see these creatures in Cades Cove or while you’re out hiking. Just remember it is illegal to be closer than 50 years to a black bear.
2. The Great Smoky Mountains are the salamander capital of the world.
One really cool fact is the Smokies are known as the salamander capital of the world. There are more species of salamanders in the national park than anywhere else. About 30 species live in this area, and about 26 of them are lungless, meaning the salamanders breathe through their skin. You are likely to find salamanders near creeks, under rocks, and in other damp, moist areas.
3. About two thirds of the country can drive to the Smokies in a day.
A major reason why the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is so popular is it is within a day’s driving distance of two thirds of the United States population. If you’re that close to an amazing place with a ton of activities, natural beauty, and national treasures, then you have to visit!
4. Over 70 historic buildings are still standing.
Preserving history is important in the Smokies. Over 70 cabins, barns, and other historic buildings are still standing in the national park. They have been restored and maintained so people can enjoy them for many years to come. Most of these buildings are in Cades Cove. You’ll find Oliver family cabins, barns, a grist mill, three churches, and much more in this area. Another place where you’ll find historic buildings is along the Roaring Fork Motor Trail.
5. There’s no entrance fee to get into the park.
Unlike many of the national parks in the United States, the Great Smoky Mountains don’t have an entrance fee to get in. The park actually is funded by donations, and there are plenty of donation boxes in the park. You can also donate at Friends of the Smokies on their website. It’s actually because of Tennessee why there’s no entrance fee. When Newfound Gap Road was ceded over to the government, Tennessee said they would only do it if no fees were ever imposed on people.
6. Plants cause the “smokiness” of the Smoky Mountains.
You probably know the Smoky Mountains are named after the bluish smoke you can see early in the mornings. But did you know that plants cause this smoke to appear? They release something called volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. In high concentrations, VOCs create a fogginess. And since there are millions of plants in the Smokies, that’s why there’s smoke!
Learning about the Great Smoky Mountains is so much fun! But not as much fun as visiting and experiencing it in person! Ready to come see the Smokies in person? Look through our cabins in the Smoky Mountains and start planning your next trip today!