Receving 8-10 million visitors a year makes Great Smokey Mountains National Park the most visted park in the National Park Sysytem. It encompasses 814 square miles, making it one of the largest protected areas in the eastern United States. The main park entrances are located along U.S. Highway 441 (Newfound Gap Road) at the towns of Gatlinburg, Tennessee, and Cherokee, North Carolina. It was the first national park whose land and other costs were paid for in part with federal funds; previous parks were funded wholly with state money or private funds.
View toward Gatlinburg TN from the park
View from the top of Clingman's Dome
Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a hiker's paradise with over 800 miles of maintained trails ranging from short leg-stretchers to strenuous treks that may require backcountry camping. But hiking is not the only reason for visiting the Smokies. Car camping, fishing, picnicking, wildlife viewing and auto touring are popular activities.
Cades Cove Barn
The park has a number of historical attractions. The most well-preserved of these (and most popular) is Cades Cove, a valley with a number of preserved historic buildings including log cabins, barns, and churches. Cades Cove is the single most frequented destination in the national park. Self-guided automobile and bicycle tours offer the many sightseers a glimpse into the way of life of old-time southern Appalachia. Other historical areas within the park include Roaring Fork, Cataloochee, Elkmont, and the Mountain Farm Museum and Mingus Mill at Oconaluftee.
Trail to Laurel Falls
I had just started taking a couple photos and picked up my tripod to change locations. I was walking on some sloping rock that was wet and moss covered. My feet went out from under me so fast I had no chance to catch myself. I rotated my body instinctivly to try and protect my camera. I hit directly on my left shoulder full force. (camera and tripod on same shoulder) This caused some bad things to happen! I smashed my Canon 40D, Canon 16-35mm L series II lens, and my tripod. I really torn up my shoulder pretty bad, although I was way more concerned about my equipment.. Watching my 16-35 lens bouncing across the rocks was more painful at that moment than my shoulder which was numb. Luckily I did not go over the next falls as that was a really far drop.
Road through the park