Cades Cove Sunrise. Taken by photographer Russ Cranson
Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Beauty. From where you are to here measures the distance between you and your best adventure. Roam farther. Raft. The sounds of rushing water and your own belly laughs. Hike. Like nothing you’ve done before. The “Peaceful Side of the Smokies." Renowned for its diversity of plant and animal life, these ancient mountains preserve the quality of Southern Appalachian culture.
A wondrous diversity, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, accomplishing this by utilizing alternative energy sources and improving building structures, protecting the bio-integrity of the Park, increasing climate change education and outreach through interpretive programming, projects and exhibits.
Horseback riding, inner tubing, backpacking are just a few of kids favorite activities in our picturesque Park. It's fun to learn about the history of the towering hardwood forests. Ranger-led interpretive talks include tours of historical buildings, museums, and working gristmills. Keep an eye out for salamanders! The Park is known as the "Salamander Capital of the World."
The Park holds one of the most remarkable collections of historic log buildings in the eastern United States. More than 90 structures populate the park: houses, barns, outbuildings, churches, schools and mills. See the significant structures at Cade's Cove and along Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. Self-guiding auto tour pamphlets are available at both places for closer study.
Spring in the Smokies is lovely, with March through May also bringing a share of rapidly changing weather. Sunny skies can give way to snow flurries. Temperatures in lower elevations have a mean high of 61F, lows of 42F. June through August means heat, haze, humidity with the 90s as the high in lower elevations. Fall brings clear skies and cooler weather, with first frosts in late September. Winter is surprisingly moderate at lower elevations, with snow occurring higher up.