There’s a reason the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited national park in the country. The sprawling landscapes, the scenic views, the diverse wildlife — nothing beats the sheer natural beauty of the Smokies. We’re proud to call this place our home, and we never take that for granted.
In the Smokies high country, over 85″ of rain falls on average each year, feeding thousands of miles of rushing mountain streams and rivers that flow through the park. The park abounds with the two ingredients essential for waterfalls—water and an elevation gradient. Waterfalls dot the waterways throughout the park, attracting over 200,000 visitors each year to the park’s better known falls.
Take a picture or just soak in the moment. The Smoky Mountains offer some of the nation’s best hiking trails, many of which culminate in spectacular views of East Tennessee.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park contains some of the largest tracts of wilderness in the East and is a critical sanctuary for a wide variety of animals. Protected in the park are some 65 species of mammals, over 200 varieties of birds, 67 native fish species, and more than 80 types of reptiles and amphibians. The symbol of the Smokies, the American Black Bear, is perhaps the most famous resident of the park. Great Smoky Mountains National Park provides the largest protected bear habitat in the East. Though populations are variable, biologists estimate approximately 1,500 bears live in the park, a density of approximately two bears per square mile.
Surrounded by warm lowlands, the cool, moist, climate of the park’s highest elevations creates islands of habitat suitable for animals commonly found in more northern areas, allowing them to live far south of their present primary ranges. Northern species such as the northern flying squirrel, red squirrel, and rock vole thrive at high elevations, while the Northern Saw-whet Owl, Canada Warbler, Common Raven, and other birds reach their southern most breeding point here in the park.