located on the border between Tennessee
and North Carolina
The southern Appalachian mountains were heavily logged in the early
part of the 1900's and an effort to form a national park came into
being. The area that would become the Great Smoky Mountains National
Park was around 800 square miles of forested area, with diverse
plant and animal life. In 1934, the park was established and is now
visited by over 9 million people a year. The "smoky" part of the parks name comes from a natural fog that
settles over the mountains in the early mornings, giving the peaks
the look of being wreathed in fire.
The park has a number of good campgrounds for those who like both
tent and trailer camping. Some of the larger campgrounds include
Cades Cove (a former Appalachian community), Elkmont, Smokemont,
and Cosby. A more remote campground and a personal favorite is
Balsam Mountain, a more remote campsite that lies on a ridge in
a fir tree grove.
Over 900 miles worth of hiking trails wind their way through the park,
with waterfalls, caves, and other natural wonders to observe. The
Appalachian Trail runs through the park and is accessable from a number
of points within its confines.
For those who want to enjoy the natural beauty of the area during the
day, but prefer a little more distance from nature at night, the local
towns of Gatlinburg, TN, Pigeon Forge, TN, and Cherokee, NC offer
visitors the farthest thing from natural beauty within minutes of