50 Facts about Great Smoky Mountains National Park
1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park was established in 1934.
2. Great Smoky Mountains National Park straddles the ridge line of the Great Smoky Mountains, part of the Blue Ridge Mountains, which are a division of the larger Appalachian Mountain chain.
3. The Appalachian Trail passes through Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
4. Great Smoky Mountains National Park runs through Tennessee and North Carolina.
5. The Park was officially dedicated by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1940.
6. The park consists of 522,419 acres.
7. Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited national park in America. There have been nearly 1/2 billion visitors since 1934.
8. The park has about 2,115 miles of streams within its boundaries.
9. The highest peak in the park is Clingmans Dome at 6,643 feet.
10. What is now Great Smoky Mountains National Park was part of the homeland of the Cherokee Indian tribe.
11. For the first time ever, all streams in Great Smoky Mountains National Park are open for fishing on March 6, 2017.
12. During the Great Depression, the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Works Progress Administration, and other federal organizations made trails, fire watchtowers, and other infrastructure improvements to the park and Smoky Mountains.
13. Parts of Disney's hit 1950s TV series, Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier was filmed inside Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
14. One of the most visited areas of the national park is Cades Cove.
15. Sixteen mountains inside the park reach higher than 6,000 feet.
16. More than 10,000 species of plants and animals are known to live in the park, and estimates as high as an additional 90,000 undocumented species may also be present.
17. Over 100 species of trees grow in the park.
18. U.S. Highway 441 (Newfound Gap Road) crosses through the park, providing driving access to many trailheads and overlooks, including Newfound Gap.
19. The park has a number of historical areas which contain log cabins, barns, and churches.
20. The park has several operating grist mills.
21. There are 850 miles of trails and unpaved roads in the park for hiking, including 70 miles of the Appalachian Trail.
22. There are 3 shelters for backpacking trips.
23. The most popular activities in the park are hiking, sightseeing, and fishing.
24. There are 12 popular waterfalls in the national park.
25. There is no fee to visit Great Smoky Mountains National Park and there never will be.
26. Wildlife that live inside Great Smoky Mountains National Park include black bear, elk, Eastern cottontail rabbit, red wolf, groundhog, red fox, coyote, bobcat, river otter, white-tailed deer, gray fox, wild turkey, and wild boar.
27. Bicyclists and pedestrians have free reign of the Cades Cove Loop Road on Saturdays and Wednesdays until 10 AM from May to September. The road is closed to motor vehicles during that period of time. Bike rentals are available from April through October and again in December.
28. The Appalachian Trail crosses Clingmans Dome, marking the highest point along its 2,178-mile journey from Georgia to Maine.
29. More than 13,000 members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians live in the 56,000-acre Qualla Boundary, the Eastern gateway to Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina.
30. Llamas are used to carry supplies to LeConte Lodge atop Mt LeConte.
31. LeConte Lodge, built in 1926, has no electricity, telephones or running water.
32. The park is known as the “Salamander Capital of the World” since approximately 30 species of salamander can be found here.
33. Sitting on the Southwestern boundary of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Fontana Dam (480-feet) is the tallest dam in the Eastern United States.
34. There are approximately 1,500 species of wildflowers inside Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
35. Fall is the most popular visitation time in Great Smoky Mountains National Park when leaves change to their brilliant colors of orange, gold, and red. This occurs from mid-October through the first week in November.
36. Approximately 550 miles of the hiking trails in Great Smoky Mountains National Park are open to horses.
37. The park holds several festivals throughout the year, including Music of the Mountains, Festival of Christmas Past, and Old Timers Day.
38. John D. Rockefeller, Jr. contributed $5 million for the creation of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
39. Picnic areas with BBQ grills, restrooms, and rivers are located throughout the park.
40. There are more than 100 backcountry campsites in the park.
41. The Great Smoky Mountains are among the oldest mountains in the world.
42. There are 78 historic structures located throughout the park.
43. Great Smoky Mountains National Park is within a day's drive of two-thirds of the nation's population.
44. The park conducts an annual Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage.
45. Churches inside Cades Cove did not hold services during the Civil War because the loyalties of their members were divided.
46. In the pioneer days, apples were a useful crop from which the mountain women made dried apple shortcake, apple fritters, apple butter, apple cobbler, applesauce, apple pie and pan-fried apples.
47. Tremont Institute, located inside the park, conducts seminars, hiking trips, and educational courses throughout the year.
48. Great Smoky Mountains National Park is open 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. Some secondary roads are closed during the winter months, including Clingmans Dome Road. Most secondary roads reopen in early to mid-April. Main roads are sometimes closed during inclement weather such as ice and snow.
49. Since 1931, 499,921,597 people have included America’s most visited national park in their vacation plans.
50. The main park entrances are located along U.S. Highway 441 (Newfound Gap Road) at the towns of Gatlinburg, Tennessee, and Cherokee, North Carolina. Other entrances are located in Townsend TN and Wears Valley TN.
51.Logging was once a major industry in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.