National Park Cliff Notes: Great Smokey Mountains NP – North Carolina & Tennessee



Straddling the border between Tennessee and North Carolina, Great Smokey Mountains National Park protects a serene section of the greater Appalachian Mountain Range.


The Smokies get their name from the low lying clouds which frequently flow through their valleys an pulse over their peaks. The interior of the park is accessed by driving the winding New Found Gap Road which vertically divides the park between east and west. If you’re feeling charitable, keep an eye out for Appalachian Trail hikers who need a ride in to Gatlinburg to resupply. I gave a seasoned hiker named Ryan a lift into town, and the stories, sights, and smells made for an engaging sensory experience.


Great Smokey Moutains Loc

Must See:

Detour from New Found Gap Road to Clingman’s Dome for an elevated 360 degree view over the sweeping mountain landscape.


Off the Beaten Path:

Consider hiking a section of the Appalachian Trail. For instance, Charlies Bunion is a popular 8 mile round trip hike, or if you can coordinate being picked up, take a 3 night backpacking trip from Newfound Gap northeast to Big Creek.


Next Time:

I’d like to drive the less traveled roads in the park such as Balsam Mountain Road and Little River Road.


For more information on my visit, check my post.


Park Information:

National Park Service Website / Map


Google Maps


Smokemont Loop Trail river crossing.

Bradley Fork Trail.

Elk off of Newfound Gap Road South.



Bradley Fork Trail.

Tree bark.

Bradley Fork Trail.

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