Great Smoky Mountains Travel Guide

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The Great Smoky Mountains, located along the Tennessee and North Carolina border, are part of the Appalachian Mountains and offers visitors a wealth of hikes and paddling trips. If this is your first time visiting the mountain range, often simply called the Smokies, consider stopping at a National Park Service station for a chat with a park ranger, who can serve as your Great Smoky Mountain travel guide to the abundance of hikes, paddling trips, and other outdoor adventures the park offers.

Things Not to Miss in the Great Smoky Mountains

• When you visit the Great Smoky Mountains, make it a point to wake up early at least one morning to witness the range “smoking”: the fog that gives the range its nickname hangs low in the early hours and is very picturesque.
 • Both for your safety and your enjoyment, keep an eye out for local fauna, like white-tailed deer, elk, and black bears.
 • Hike the park’s many trails that’ll take you to beautiful waterfalls, past wildflower fields, and through the old growth forests.

When to Go to the Great Smoky Mountains

The range, towering above its surrounding region, has a high annual precipitation, including quite a bit of snow, which can cause unexpected road closures that make Smoky Mountain travel difficult.

Spring, when all the snow has melted except on the mountain peaks and flowers are in full bloom, is the nicest time to travel to the Great Smoky Mountains. The fall is also a great time for a visit, when the leaves change.

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