Tall mountain peaks and an abundance of wildlife have helped make Great Smoky Mountains National Park one of the top tourist attractions in the United States.
Located in the southern Appalachian Mountains of Tennessee, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is known for its scenic drives and stunning hiking trails. The drives within the park cover over 400 miles and you'll have the opportunity to travel through the heavily wooded areas of the park plus meadows where you might spot some animals and then up through the mountains for cliff top views. The hiking trails range from easy to difficult, and you can trek to waterfalls or look-out points. The trails to Grotto and Rainbow waterfalls are especially popular due to their scenery. There are also multi-day hikes with opportunities to camp along the trail, the most famous of which is the Appalachian Trail. Covering 2,180 miles, the Appalachian Trail is one of the top (and most strenuous, if you do the whole thing) hikes in the world, and you'll be rewarded with backcountry beauty at the end.
Animal lovers will also enjoy traveling through Great Smoky Mountains National Park. There are over 17,000 species who call the park home, though most visitors are hoping to spot one of the over 1,500 bears that live in the park.
There are several entrances to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Most visitors access the park through one of its three main entrances: Gatlinburg or Townsend in Tennessee or Cherokee, North Carolina. There are always parts of the park that are open to visitors 24 hours a day, though some areas are closed during the winter months. Entrance to the park is free.