The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a national treasure and a nature preserve unlike any other in the United States. Here are some interesting facts and things to know about the park:
1. They’re some of the oldest mountains in the world!
Did you know that the Great Smoky Mountains were formed about 200-300 million years ago? This makes them among the oldest mountains in the world!
2. There’s dozens of waterfalls in the national park.
There are many places to view amazing waterfalls in the Smoky Mountains, including Abrams Falls, Grotto Falls, Hen Wallow Falls, Indian Creek/Toms Branch Falls, Juney Whank Falls, Laurel Falls, Mingo Falls, Mouse Creek Falls, Rainbow Falls and Ramsey Cascades. These are just among some of the most popular. There are others throughout the park you won’t want to miss, too!
3. There’s 800 square miles of land that makes up the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park encompasses approximately 244,000 acres in Tennessee and 276,000 acres in North Carolina for a total of 520,000 acres, or more than 800 square miles. Also, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, so you can visit anytime you want!
4. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is home to a huge diversity of plants and animals.
The Great Smoky Mountains is home to over 4000 plants, 140 species of trees and over 1600 bears. Other animal species in the park include the Eastern cottontail rabbit, red wolf, groundhog, red fox, coyote, bobcat, river otter, white-tailed deer and wild boar. In addition, the Smokies are also known as the “Salamander Capital of the World” since approximately 30 species of salamander can be found here.
5. It’s the most visited national park in the United States!
Established in 1934, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the largest national park East of the Rocky Mountains. The park is also one of the only national parks without an admission fee. The Park is also the most visited national park in the United States, receiving 9-10 million visitors annually.
6. The Smokies include part of the Appalachian Trail.
A 70-mile stretch of the 2,178-mile Appalachian Trail winds through Great Smoky Mountains National Park. In addition to the Appalachian Trail, the park features more than 850 miles of hiking trails. Some of the most popular hiking trails in Great Smoky Mountain National Park include Abrams Falls Trail (5 miles round trip), Alum Cave Trail (11 miles round trip), Andrews Bald Trail (3.6 miles round trip), Boulevard Trail (16 miles round trip), Chasteen Creek Falls Trail (4 miles round trip), Chimney Tops Trail (4 miles round trip), Grotto Falls Trail (3 miles round trip), Hen Wallow Falls Trail (4 miles round trip), Indian Creek Falls Trail (2 miles round trip), Laurel Falls Trail (2.5 miles round trip), Ramsey Cascades Trail (8 miles round trip) and Sugarlands Valley Nature Trail (3,000-foot loop).
7. The Smokies are filled with lots of history.
Cades Cove is a 4,000-acre scenic valley that boasts preserved pioneer homesteads, a campground and hiking trails. It is the most visited area of Great Smoky Mountains National Park and one of the most historic areas in the park, too.