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General Information

Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Copyright: - US National Park Service
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Description - Tennessee divides naturally into three "grand divisions" ‹ upland, often mountainous, East Tennessee, Middle Tennessee with its foothills and basin, and the low plain of West Tennessee.

Attractions - Tennessee is rich in U.S. history as well as natural history. In the central region of the state three nationally recognized Civil War battlefield sites exist: Fort Donelson National Battlefield, Shiloh National Military Park and Stones River National Battlefield and Cemetery. Natural landmarks within the region are the Tennessee River, which flows south from Kentucky, on the western perimeter of the region, into Alabama, then north again into eastern Tennessee. The Cumberland River flows through the northern reaches of central Tennessee, winding its way through Nashville. Natchez Trace Parkway is one of the biggest attractions in the area. It is an ancient pathway turned scenic highway that leads between Natchez, Mississippi and Nashville, Tennessee.

Eastern Tennessee is best know for the nationally administered properties in the region. The Big South Fork National River and National Recreation Area lies along the border with Kentucky, encompassing nearly 125,000 acres of scenic river valleys. Cumberland Gap National Historical Park also lies on the northern Tennessee border with most of the park in Kentucky. The eastern border of the state is protected from north to south. The Cherokee National Forest encompasses 625,000 acres of this area with the lands of Great Smoky National Park comprising the remaining border lands with North Carolina.

Recreation - Recreation opportunities in this state are as diverse as the landforms within it. National and state forest lands provide facilities for hiking, camping, picnicking and mountain biking. Several lakes lie within the state, natural and man-made, providing access to fishing, boating and swimming.

Climate - Tennessee has a temperate climate with short, mild winters. The average annual snowfall for the state is 12 inches. Spring comes in early March bringing flowering trees and shrubs, and warmer weather. Spring temperatures average between 45 and 70 degrees F. Summers full force arrives in the region by mid May, bringing warm weather and higher humidity. The mountains of eastern Tennessee are a great place to escape the hot summer temperatures as the higher elevation cools the air slightly. Cooling fall temperatures bring crisp air and brilliant foliage colors. Mid to late October is a good time to visit the region to experience the fall color change.

Location - Tennessee is located in the southeastern region of the United States. Kentucky lies north of Tennessee with Alabama and Georgia to the south. Traveling eastward from Tennessee you'll reach North Carolina and after crossing the Mississippi River to the west you'll reach Arkansas and Missouri.

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

Trip Reports:
Add your own trip Report! Newly re-released feature. One of the most popular features on Wildernet, trip reports allow you to share your experiences with others. This is an invaluable resource for determining what to expect on your outdoor adventure, so please participate! To prevent spamming, you must be a registered user of Wildernet in order to submit a trip report

Filed By: Carol Pratt (Maynardville, TN)
Number of People Encountered: 50+ ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Camped at Tremont Campground in Townsend Tennessee. Visited Cades Cove (30 minutes from campground). Saw lots of turkeys, deer and three sets of bears that were mothers with Cubs. Favorite place to camp on the Little River at Tremont Campground.

Filed By: ERNEL ARCANGEL FELIX (Santa Cruz-Monterey, CA)
Number of People Encountered: 50+ ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: The Smoky Mountain National Park is worth seeing. A place that I keep on coming back if time permits to visit the east coast again. It is a natural wonder where all are kept preseved in it's good fate, but the Helmlock trees, which are threatened by the adelgid beetle. Thanks to the park agency who has been taking time to protect this helmlock species by natural and artificial means. It has been always humid but it is worth seeing. It has almost all kinds of habitat - river, falls, mountains, etc. Fireflies show at night is majestic. Gatlinburg, Tennessee, where the park is located, is a very peaceful place to stay away from the busy metropolis. Come and see this place!

Filed By: Xander
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: LBL_Land Between the Lakes......... Guaranteed solitude. In the many years that I've been camping there, I've only encountered other hikers on the trails once. Advice----Don't try this park too close after a heavy rain. I did it once and had to hike an extra 16 mi over three days to get around the ponds that used to be the trails. Check out the Elk/Bison Prarie-you'll see where all the Elk going into the Smokies and Big South Fork are coming from.

Filed By: woodman
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Stone Door on Cumberland Plateau (near Sewanee TN)--8 or 9 mile loop from Stone Door down into gulf then up and back along rim--moderate trip down and along floor--but steep ascent will have you gasping--moderate return along rim with fabulous views of Savage Gulf.

Filed By: woodman
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Savage Gulf on Cumberland Plateau (near Sewanee, TN)--10 mile loop of SG Day Trail, North Rim and North Plateau trails--magnificent views from Rim trail--overlooks valley 100s of feet below. Relatively easy. Good half mile side trip to Savage Gulf falls.

Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: if you don't have a boat, Land Between the Lakes (LBL) is still a great place to go. visit my website for pictures and more info. www.kilter.outdoors.com

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More Information

Contact Information:
Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, P.O. Box 23170, 320 Sixth Avenue, North , Nashville, TN, 37202, Phone: 615-741-2158


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