Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Established in 1934, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the busiest park in the United States, annually attracting approximately 10 million visitors. The park, which covers 800 square miles of mountainous terrain in both North Carolina and Tennessee, typically draws 60,000 visitors on a weekend day in the summer.


Many of those visitors experience the park on a scenic highway that stretches for several hundred miles, and traffic may be bumper-to-bumper on especially busy summer days. But Great Smoky Mountains National Park is more than roadways, as it includes 800 miles of hiking trails that range from a half-mile to 70 miles long. Those who want a more isolated park visit may prefer to hit the hiking trails, which are not nearly as busy as the highway roads. More than 1,600 species of flowering plants bloom inside the park, which was designated an International Biosphere Reserve in 1976 and a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1983.

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Author: Voices of East Tennessee

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