Situated along the northeastern part of Tennessee’s border with North Carolina, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most popular national park in America, attracting almost 10 million visitors a year. There are few areas in the eastern United States which retain the pristine beauty of the natural wilderness. Much of the park has been unchanged since the Cherokee Indians called it home.
The mountains of the park offer ample opportunities for camping, but if you prefer a cozier night’s sleep, the town of Gatlinburg is situated at one of the park’s main entrances, offering a number of Great Smoky Mountains National Park hotels. It offers a range of hotels for every type of visitor. Come see the land sung of in countless country and folk songs, including many by area-native Dolly Parton who owns the Dollywood amusement park in nearby Pigeon Forge.
Hotels Near Great Smoky Mountains National Park
There are a smattering of hotels near Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Days Inn Gatlinburg on the River is close to the Smokies as well as the Ripley’s Aquarium. While snow may cut short a swim in the outdoor pool, the hot tub is always open, offering a great way to relax after a long day trekking the mountains. A little further down the road you can find the Kingwood Inn, just a few minutes walk from the Gatlinburg downtown strip. For all the comforts of home, stop in nearby Pigeon Forge for a stay at the RiverStone Resort & Spa. You can enjoy a day of golf or shopping while the kids romp around the onsite playground and games room.
The Park spans the states of Tennessee and North Carolina and is home to more than 17,000 species of plants and animals. More than 95 percent of the park is forest. Its scenery includes 1,600 flowering plants, 100 species of trees and shrubs. The most prominent mammals in the park are black bears, elk, and deer. The park is also home to over 39 species of reptiles, 43 species of amphibians, and more than 240 species of birds such as the wild turkey, red-tailed hawk, and Eastern bluebird. The best places to view wildlife are the open areas: Cades Cove and Cataloochee. The number of bird species residing in the park changes with the seasons. According to the National Park Service, you will hear more birds than you will see so bird-watching offers a unique but rewarding challenge.
In addition to the aforementioned wildlife, the park is home to more than 50 varieties of fish. Among the species of fish in the more than 2,100 miles of streams are trout, bass, suckers, darters, and shiners. Fishing is allowed only at Bear Creek in North Carolina and Lynn Camp Prong in Tennessee.
Other activities to partake in while you’re staying at any of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park hotels are horseback riding, bicycling, and auto touring on the park’s 384 miles of road. Some of the park’s roadways are paved, some are gravel. The park is open to visitors 24 hours a day and 365 days a year. Shopping, dining, and a wide array of Great Smoky Mountains National Park hotels are available in cities and town near the park. Tourist sites near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park are Andrew Johnson National Historic Site, Blue Ridge Parkway, Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, and Big Fork National River and Recreation Area.