Great Smoky Mountains

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Great Smoky Mountains


Stretching across the borders of Tennessee and North Carolina, the Great Smoky Mountains form the highest peaks of the Appalachian Ranges- an expanse of land so breathtakingly beautiful that it has few parallels anywhere in the world. This is a land of chestnut, black cherry and spruce forests; of gushing streams and crystal brooks; of waterfalls and towering peaks. Visitors to the Smokies are rewarded by spectacular views of the countryside- swathed in wildflowers during the spring, turning to a heady riot of red, gold and brown during the fall. Hike along a mountain trail; go trout fishing, white-water rafting or canoeing down one of the rivers of this area. Walk your way through, and you'll see foaming waterfalls- the Abrams Falls and the Laurel Falls are the most popular, while the Ramsay Cascades are the tallest. You'll feast your eyes on the mountains themselves- Clingmans Dome, the highest peak in Tennessee; Mt LeConte, and a host of lesser-known but equally picturesque peaks. Nestled within these mountains are many reminders, too, of days gone by. Farmhouses and homesteads built in the early 19th and 20th century still offer, two centuries down the line, a good insight into the life of the early settlers in the Smokies. And that's not all; you're also likely to see some of the forest life of the Smokies: black bear, white-tailed deer, elk, red wolf, raccoon, opossum, bobcat, fox, weasel, mink, and a wide variety of rodents. Snakes- including the deadly rattlesnake- and birds such as grouse and wild turkey are also fairly common. Winding through grassy glens and along brooks, the trails lead through some of the most gorgeous parts of the park. If you're not quite up to the strain of doing a trek yourself, go along on a llama hike- these animals may look surly, but they're great when it comes to carrying tourists to the highest points of the area!

Best time to visit

The National Park is open throughout the year, and except for deep winter, any time is a good time to visit the Smokies. Late April and early May see the mountains cloaked in colourful wildflowers, while October is a great time to see the stunning beauty of an Appalachian autumn. Whenever you go, keep in mind that the weather in the Smokies is thoroughly unpredictable, and a warm day can turn into a squally, wet or even snowy one without a minute's notice! Wear sufficient clothing- preferably in layers- and carry protection against rain.


Easily the best way of seeing the park is to take a walk down one of Great Smoky Mountains' approximately 1300 km of hiking and cycling trails!


Entry is free for visitors to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The only charges levied are for the use of lodging facilities, for tours, and special licences for fishing or other outdoor activities.

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