If you haven’t visited Tennessee’s Smoky Mountains yet, there are countless reasons why it should definitely go on your travel bucket list. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is famous for its diversity of plant and animal life. The area encompasses more than 100 native species of trees, more than 100 cascades and waterfalls, and a variety of species of wildflowers and wildlife. The Smoky Mountains offer visitors unbeatable, lush nature including the stunning Fontana Lake, and incredibly scenic hiking and driving routes. The best part is that most of the spectacular attractions in the Great Smoky Mountains are free, which is perfect for travellers on a budget.
The Smoky Mountains are the perfect place to see fall foliage in autumn, especially considering the area’s diverse variety of species of trees. Sugar maples, scarlet oaks, and hickories change into bright gold, red, and purple shades. More than 1,500 species of flowering plants can also be found in the park, including endangered and rare plant species. Stunning wildflowers bloom year-round, and the colors are a sight to see. As far as wildlife go, you’ll see a variety of birds, reptiles, and the park’s most well-known inhabitant, the American black bear.
Below are the 5 incredible things to see and do in Tennessee’s Smoky Mountains:
Over 100 beautiful cascades and waterfalls can be found inside Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and Abrams Falls is one of the notable falls to see while you’re visiting. Even though Abrams Falls are only 20 feet high, they pump out such a massive volume of water, they’re incredibly stunning and the mass amounts of water have created a long, deep pool at its base. The Abrams Falls hike is 5 miles round-trip, and while it’s only moderately difficult for experienced hikers, novices may find it more difficult, so it’s best to hike to these falls with plenty of good equipment and supplies. The scenery along the trail to Abrams Falls includes stunning wildlife, river crossings, ridge views, and lush greenery.
Cades Cove is an isolated valley located in Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and the popular attraction brings in over two million visitors per year because of its scenic mountain views, pioneer homesteads and abundant displays of diverse wildlife. Cades Cove offers a scenic drive in the form of an 11-mile loop with picturesque scenery and guaranteed wildlife sightings. Your best chance to see a black bear or other wildlife is Cades Cove. Wildlife are attracted to Cades Cove because of its plentiful sources of food and water. You might see bears, elk, foxes, deer, and rare species of birds.
Rent a Cabin
Rustic cabins and charming cottages are popular and plentiful in the Great Smoky Mountains region. Outside of the park, the most popular areas to stay in are mountain towns such as Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and Sevierville. Gatlinburg rental cabins are a popular choice, and they usually have relaxing porch swings with awesome views of the Smoky Mountains. These cabins also usually offer a cozy fireplace, a full kitchen, a hot tub, games room, and home theatre room.
Clingmans Dome is the highest point in the park at 6,643 feet, and since it boasts the best overall views and a spectacular sunset, it’s not to be missed. It’s worth the steep trail to get to it, especially on a clear day for unobstructed, amazing views of the Great Smoky Mountains and beyond. There is an observation tower at the top.
The Appalachian Trail is the longest hiking trail in the world, spanning across 14 states from Maine to Georgia, including Tennessee, Vermont and New York. At a whopping 2,190 miles in length, it can take up to 7 months to complete this famous trail. If you opt to take on this trail, you’ll be rewarded with notable viewpoints including Shuckstack Mountain, Clingmans Dome, Charlies Bunion and Mount Cammerer.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park consumes over seventy miles of the Appalachian trail, and the section that runs just below the summit of Clingmans Dome in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park happens to be the highest point on the trail at 6,643 feet. The Appalachian Trail is known for its abundance of flora and fauna, as it’s home to thousands of species of plants and animals, including thousands of very rare species that are notable to come across.
Article Submitted By Community Writer