Great Smoky Mountains Fast Facts
- Great Smoky Mountains National Park covers a total area of 521,495 acres
- The number of people visiting Great Smoky Mountains in 2016 was 11,312,786 *
- Great Smoky Mountains was made a national park on June 15, 1934
- The lowest elevation found in Great Smoky Mountains is 840 feet at Abrams Creek
- The highest elevation found in Great Smoky Mountains is 6,643 feet at Clingman’s Dome
- There is no entrance fee for Great Smoky Mountains National Park
- Great Smoky Mountains National Park lies in the Eastern time zone
- We last visited Great Smoky Mountains National Park in October 2017
Random Facts About Great Smoky Mountains
- Great Smoky Mountains National Park was officially established on June 15, 1934, although it was authorized back in 1926. The government did not want to spend much money on it, so it took time for private citizens, notably John D. Rockefeller Jr, who contributed $5 million to the government’s $2 million, to raise the money. People from Tennessee and North Carolina helped assemble the land needed.
- Plants are the defining point of the park. Variations in elevation, rainfall, temperature, and geology provide ideal habitat for over 1,600 species of flowering plants, including 100 native tree species and over 100 native shrub species. Another 450 species of non-flowering plants occupy the park as well. The color change of the foliage in October is world-famous, and draws more visitors to the park in one month than all but a handful of parks receive annually.
- The park is sometimes called the Salamander Capital of the World, with an astounding 30 species present.
- Black bears are the park’s signature species, and they occur in greater concentration here than anywhere else in North America.
- Great Smoky Mountains is the most visited of the national parks in the United States, with numbers approaching 10 million in recent years.
- Despite its immense popularity, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of few with no entrance fees. This provision was actually built into the park’s charter, mostly to allow for free travel across US-441, known as Newfound Gap Road within the park.
Where is Great Smoky Mountains National Park?
Great Smoky Mountains National Park is located along the border of western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee. There are cities of decent size on either side of the park. The town of Gatlinburg, Tennessee is just outside the north entrance to Newfound Gap Road. The town of Cherokee, North Carolina, within the Qualla Boundary of the Cherokee Reservation, lies outside the southern entrance to Newfound Gap Road. Further directions and maps can be found at Getting to Great Smoky Mountains.
More About Great Smoky Mountains
We have pages on all sorts of things about Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Choose from the menu above the map, or from right here. We have sections on Weather, Getting to the Park, Lodging, Camping, Hiking Trails, Road Guides, HD Video Clips, and pages to buy Books, Trail Maps, and DVD & Blu-ray. You could also check out the park’s Photo Gallery.