Located in the spectacularly scenic Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is truly a national treasure and a travel destination that most anyone will appreciate. No matter if you love the out of doors or are simply looking for something different to occupy your time, you will definitely be able to find it here.
About the Great Smokey Mountains
Believe it or not, the Great Smoky Mountains are some of the oldest mountains in the world. Having been formed nearly 300 million years ago, they form the backbone of the Appalachian Mountains and provide this temperate climate with a bio-culture that is home to an incredibly variety of plants, animals and invertebrates. Over 17,000 species have been documented,
and it is suspected that there could be up to 100,000 more varieties that have yet to be recorded.
The sheer number of animal and plant species in this one area not only prompted the United States to declare this area as a National Park, but prompted the United Nations to designate the Great Smoky Mountains National Park as an International Biosphere Reserve.
A Short History of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
With so much biological diversity in one place, it was only a matter of time before the US decided that this particular area needed protection and declared it a National Park, but when the park was created it was not devoid of humans.
In fact, the Smoky Mountains have a long history of human presence dating all the way back to the Paleo Indians with European settlers making their way in during the 1800’s as well as loggers and Civilian Conservation Corps enrollees during the 1900’s. When the park was established in 1934 over 1,200 landowners had to leave their land. The park service has maintained over seventy of these structures as testament to the history of the area. But touring historic buildings is by no means the only thing to do in the Great Smoky Mountains.
Things to do in Great Smoky Mountain National Park
If you enjoy the out of doors, you are going to love Great Smoky Mountain National Park. From hiking and camping to mountain climbing, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, bird watching, bicycling and wildlife viewing, there is no end to the activities that you can enjoy.
With over 800 miles of hiking trails (including 70 miles of the world famous Appalachian Trail that extends from Maine to Georgia) Great Smoky Mountain National Park is a great favorite with hikers and outdoor enthusiasts of all types. In fact, the National Park Service maintains a large number of campsites in the area including RV hookups, tent sites, lean-to cabins for backpackers on the trails as well as cabins for those who prefer more civilized amenities.
No matter what your preference, Smoky Mountain National Park has what you are looking for when it comes to planning your out of doors summer vacation, and with a little advance planning, you too can enjoy all the wonders that the park has to offer.