Great Smoky Mountains Fast Facts
How big is Great Smoky Mountains National Park?
Great Smoky Mountains covers a total area of 521,495 acres or 815 square miles.
How many people visit Great Smoky Mountains National Park?
14,161,548 people visited Great Smoky Mountains in 2021. A table showing all years can be found at Great Smoky Mountains Visitation Stats.
When was Great Smoky Mountains National Park created?
Great Smoky Mountains was made a national park on June 15, 1934.
What are the highest and lowest elevations in Great Smoky Mountains National Park?
Great Smoky Mountains’ lowest point is 840 feet at Abrams Creek. The highest point in Great Smoky Mountains is 6,643 feet at Clingmans Dome.
What time zone is Great Smoky Mountains National Park located in?
Great Smoky Mountains is in the Eastern Time Zone.
How much does it cost to enter Great Smoky Mountains National Park?
There is no entrance fee for Great Smoky Mountains National Park. However, a parking fee begins in 2023.
Five Random Facts About Great Smoky Mountains
Great Smoky Mountains is the most visited of the national parks in the United States, with numbers exceeding 10 million in recent years.
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.
Black bears are the park’s signature species, and they occur in greater concentration here than anywhere else in North America.
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.
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.