A Visit to The Great Smoky Mountains

The Great Smoky Mountains are a part of the Appalachian Mountain chain. You will find it beginning just west of Knoxville, Tennessee and stretching to the area just east of Asheville, North Carolina. Georgia claims a portion of the Great Smoky Mountains just south of the North Carolina border. The Great Smoky Mountains have made the news recently due to the incident of a black bear attack. And it is the season for bears in the Smokies.

Dollywood by Kris Harris King via wikimedia commons

Regardless of black bears, the Great Smoky Mountains are a great place to visit and spend a portion of your vacation travel time.  You may have heard of Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, Tennessee, two of the better known tourist destinations. Pigeon Forge is the home to Dollywood, the amusement park owned in part by singer Dolly Parton. Over three million guests a year visit Dollywood.

Gatlinburg’s Ober Gatlinburg is Tennessee’s only ski resort. You will find many specialty shops in Gatlinburg along with a number of tourist attractions to help you spend your time and money while visiting the city.

Gatlinburg is also a gateway to The Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The area of the park is 522,419 acres and is one of the largest protected areas in the eastern United States. You will find the Appalachian Trail winding through the center of the park. There is much to see and do in the park itself. You will find campgrounds, lodging, hiking trails, horseback riding, fishing, waterfalls and you will want to visit in the fall to enjoy all the fall colors.

Downtown_Gatlinburg by Blinutne via wikimedia commons

If you travel through the National Park you will exit near Cherokee, North Carolina. Cherokee, N.C. is the headquarters of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians. You will find many attractions related to the culture of the Native American. Among these are the Museum of the Cherokee Indian and the Oconaluftee Indian Village. For something a little more modern, you may wish to visit the Harrah’s Cherokee Casino.  The casino which opened in 1995 has vastly changed the economy of the area for the better.

You will find things to do and places to stay in nearby Bryson City. Bryson City is a peaceful little mountain town, but you will find kayaking on the Nantahala River, fishing and boating available on Fontana Lake. There are also railroad excursions available. If you are looking for a place to stay, you will find bed and breakfasts and country inns. There are mountain cabins, hotels, motels, camping, and mountain resorts.

Bryson-city- by Brian Stansberry via wikimedia commons

The Great Smoky Mountains are a special place to visit and a wonderful place to take a drive through beautiful mountains. Whether you spend your time in the Tennessee or the North Carolina areas, you will find much to see and do. Now might just be a good time to plan that trip to the mountains!