The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the most pristine natural areas in the eastern United States. It’s a treasure trove of natural wonders, offering breathtaking mountain scenery, flowing rivers and streams, and ancient hardwood forests. The park provides a natural habitat for more than 10,000 species of plants, animals and invertebrates. In fact, it is a designated International Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site.
Here’s a bit of Smoky Mountain trivia to help your next trip more enlightening:
- The Smokies are actually among the oldest mountains in the world. These mountains formed when drifting continents collided 200-300 million years ago. Encompassing 520,976 acres, these mountains are one of the largest protected land areas east of the Mississippi River.
- The Smokies are part of the Appalachian Mountains stretching along the eastern coast from Georgia to Canada. The Cherokee named the land Shaconage or “the place of blue smoke.” The Smokies are part of the Blue Ridge Providence, named for their bluish haze.
- With elevations ranging from 875 feet to 6,643 feet, the Smokies are among the tallest mountains in the Appalachian chain. There are 16 peaks rising upwards from 5,000 feet. Clingman’s Dome is the park’s highest summit. This 6,643 foot peak is the third tallest peak east of the Mississippi River. Clingmans Dome is also the highest point of the Appalachian Trail.
- There are more than 150 species of native trees in the Smokies, more than in any other North American National Park. The park is approximately 95% forested. In fact, it is one of the largest deciduous, temperate, old-growth forests in North America. At least 1,600 additional flowering plant species and at 4,000 species of non-flowering plants have been identified in the park.
- A wide variety of animals make their homes in the Great Smoky Mountains, including the popular black bear, a smaller and less aggressive cousin of the grizzly bear. The park is also home to elk, lungless salamanders and more than 200 species of birds, 66 types of mammals, 50 native fish species, 39 varieties of reptiles, and 43 species of amphibians.
- The world famous Appalachian Trail runs 73 miles through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Each year, thousands of hopeful “thru hikers” make their way from Georgia to Maine. See these intrepid backpackers crossing Newfound Gap Road in the springtime.
- The Great Smoky Mountains National Park was established in 1934. At the time, it was the first national park on the east coast.
Each year, record-breaking numbers of people travel to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park for family vacations. When you visit the Smokies, make time to explore the vast history of the region as you take in the beauty and have a good time.
If you’re planning a visit to the national park, why not book a cabin in the mountains? Let American Patriot Getaways help you plan the trip of a lifetime.