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aerial view of downtown Gatlinburg
August 22, 2013

Starry night over the mountains

There is nothing like stargazing in the Smoky Mountains, especially on those special nights when the sky is extremely clear. On these nights, The Smoky Mountains Astronomical Society (SMAS) and the Great Smoky Mountain National Park host “Star Parties”. These events are available to anyone who is interested in observing the spectacular night sky. The SMAS hosts star parties at four different locations, and the dates of the parties are based on moon phases. Cades Cove and the Newfound Gap Trailhead are two of the best places for stargazing in the Smokies.

Cades Cove

When the program is hosted at Cades Cove, several telescopes are set up for both experienced and amateur astronomers. When the skies are clear and the weather is calm, visitors can also see many constellations and celestial bodies even without the aid of a telescope. Members of the Astronomical Society are on hand to inform participants as to what exactly is going on in the skies above.

Newfound Gap Trailhead

Newfound Gap Trailhead is 6,000 feet above sea level and is void of street lights. There are no cities close enough to interfere with the sky at night. Once you reach the trailhead, go to the far end of the parking lot, dim the lights and wait for your eyes to adjust. You will start to see some eye-popping sights in the night sky. The moon at its peak is ten times brighter in the Smoky Mountains than the stars, so a full moon on top of the mountain is a spectacular sight to behold. However, if you prefer to just stargaze, a new moon is the perfect time to see the most stars.

After a night of stargazing in the Smoky Mountains, you can return to your cozy cabin. Conveniently located minutes away from the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, our cabins are the perfect place to stay over for a weekend of fun beneath the stars. Find the perfect lodging for your next trip to the Smokies by visiting our Cabins page!

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