America’s most visited national park, Great Smoky Mountains National Park features diverse plant and animal life, beautiful ancient mountains and fascinating remnants of Southern Appalachian mountain culture. And lucky for you, there is no shortage of ways to enjoy this gorgeous natural setting, whether you prefer adrenaline-pumping outdoor adventures or soothing settings for soaking up the natural beauty. Take a look at just some of the options you have to look forward to and visit the park’s website to learn more about each one. Otherwise, simply head to the Gatlinburg Welcome Center or the Sugarlands Visitor Center to start your adventure.
Most of the national park’s treasures can be enjoyed from its many roads and trails. Whether you prefer a peaceful stroll, jog, bike ride or even drive, you can enjoy spectacular views and close-up looks at the lush, vibrant flora and fauna.
The only thing better than enjoying a beautiful setting is doing it with food! There are countless scenic spots for enjoying a picnic in the park, including designated picnic sites and larger picnic pavilions. These convenient spots feature tables, grills and other handy facilities.
With over 700 miles of fishable streams to explore, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is an angler’s paradise. Local guide services are available to help you find the best spots, and plenty of information can be found on the park’s website. Make sure to get a fishing license before you go.
The Great Smoky Mountains have been around a long time, and they’ve played a big part in preserving Appalachian culture. The park holds 80 historic structures, including log cabins, barns, churches, schools and grist mills. Plan a tour that passes by the best of them and get a glimpse into the area’s past.
Horseback riding is a great way to connect with nature, and you’d be hard pressed to find a more beautiful setting than the Smokies. A number of stables are located throughout the park that can help get you saddled up, and guided tours are also available.
If you’re in the mood for something a little more exciting, grab a paddle and head to the Pigeon River for some whitewater rafting. Several options are available, ranging from class I to class IV rapids, meaning there’s something for everyone.
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