Great Smoky Mountains National Park
America’s Most Visited Park
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the largest protected land areas east of the Rocky Mountains. With over 500,000 acres of forest, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park contains an enormous variety of plants and animals.
Families can enjoy hiking on the more than 800 miles of trails guiding them to cascading waterfalls, beautiful vistas, and quiet meadows. Miles of trails wind through deep forests, on high ridge tops, and along rushing streams. Quiet walkways serve as the perfect avenue for families to get out of the car and take an easy stroll into the wilderness.
Mountain roads take travelers off the beaten path for an unforgettable auto tour through some of the Smoky Mountains most interesting places. From the comfort of your car, you can take in some of Mother Nature’s best work. Many of these scenic roads have spots where you can pull off the road to take some treasured photographs!
Picnicking is an American tradition and no trip to the Smoky Mountains is complete without one. Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one obvious picnic destination. Some of the park’s official picnic areas can be found at Chimney Tops, Cades Cove, Cosby, Greenbrier, Look Rock and Metcalf Bottoms, all of which are open year around.
These locations generally have outdoor grills for charcoal cooking as well as plenty of picnic tables. All have outdoor pavilions (which must be reserved in advance and cost $20 per use) except Chimney Tops and Cades Cove.
Although Cades Cove’s official picnic area is located near the entrance to the 11-mile one-way auto loop, many cove visitors enjoy finding a scenic spot somewhere along the tour and then spreading out a blanket on the ground for a leisurely meal. In such cases, of course, no cooking of any kind is allowed. Regardless of where you picnic in the park, you need to observe all posted rules about garbage disposal and extinguishing grill fires. And, as always, never feed the bears or leave your food supplies where the bears can get to them.