Great Smoky Mountains
What They Are about
Ridge upon ridge of forest straddles the border between North Carolina and Tennessee in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. World renowned for its diversity of plant and animal life, the beauty of its ancient mountains, and the quality of its remnants of Southern Appalachian mountain culture, this is America's most visited national park.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a world-renowned preserve of wildflower diversity—over 1,500 kinds of flowering plants are found in the park, more than in any other North American national park. You can see where to find many of these flowers on the Species Mapper. In fact, the park is sometimes referred to as the “Wildflower National Park.” From the earliest hepaticas and spring-beauties in the late winter to the last asters in the late fall, blooming flowers can be found year-round in the park.
Hikers enjoy the Smoky Mountains during all months of the year with every season offering is own special rewards. During winter, the absence of deciduous leaves opens new vistas along trails and reveals stone walls, chimneys, foundations, and other reminders of past residents. Spring provides a weekly parade of wildflowers and flowering trees. In summer, walkers can seek out cool retreats among the spruce-fir forests and balds or follow splashy mountain streams to roaring falls and cascades. Autumn hikers have crisp, dry air to sharpen their senses and a varied palette of fall colors to enjoy.
*Bears in the park are wild and their behavior can be unpredictable. Treat bear encounters with extreme caution!
*No more than two motor vehicles or one vehicle with trailer are allowed per campsite.
*All tents must be pitched on the pad, where provided.
*Campfires are permitted only in fire grates. You may collect wood in the park only if it is on the ground and dead. Beginning March 1, 2015 only heat-treated firewood that is bundled and certified by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) or a state agency may be brought into the park.
*Pets are allowed in the campground but must be confined or on a leash (6' maximum). Pets are not allowed on trails and should not be left unattended in the campground or your car. Please prevent excessive barking and properly dispose of pet waste.
*Dish water and bath water must be drained at utility sinks or dump stations, not on the ground. Do not wash or bathe in streams or at water fountains. RV sewage should be drained only at a dump station. Showers and utility hookups are not available in the park. Showers may be available in nearby towns.
*Quiet hours are in effect from 10 pm to 6 am. Generator use is prohibited from 8 pm to 8 am. Generator use and battery charging by engine idling is prohibited in generator free areas. During quiet hours, noise-producing equipment should be turned off and entry to the campground is limited to registered campers.
*Alcohol is permitted in campgrounds and picnic areas, provided the person in possession is at least 21 years old.
*Bicycle riders must comply with all traffic regulations and are restricted to public roads, parking areas, and designated routes. The use of inline skates, skateboards or scooters is prohibited.
*Fireworks, traps, and the use of chainsaws are prohibited.