In August 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed an act creating the National Park Service. Since then, 391 destinations have been designated as national parks, monuments, seashores, battlefields and other recreational and cultural sites under the control of the National Park Service.
The Most Visited: Great Smoky Mountain National Park
The 500,000 acre Great Smoky Mountains National Park welcomes more visitors a year than any other park. Covering parts of Tennessee and North Carolina, the park is a recreation wonderland — if you can get away from the crush of cars, campers and RVs. Fishing, hiking, picnicking, cycling, swimming, camping and scenic drives are just a few of the endless activities available to visitors. An International Biosphere Reserve, the park is home to more than 4,000 species of plants. In the fall, the leaves change color in magical fashion.
One of Best Scenic Drives
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Gatlinburg, TN – Scenic Drives
This park is close to major population centers, but its lush greenery and pleasantly rounded peaks create a soothing aura of tranquillity. And, of course, there is the famous ?smoke? that seems to perpetually hang over the land here. Most of the park is at an altitude of 5,000-6,000 feet and there are about 20 peaks over 6,000 feet, making this one of the highest tracts of land in the east. The variety of plants and flowers that cover the mountains is extraordinary. Mountains without much cover are called, appropriately, balds.
From the guidebook “Great American Wilderness: Touring America’s National Parks”
One of America's Top Fall Foliage Views
Peak Views: Gatlinburg, TennesseeLeaf enthusiasts visiting Gatlinburg can enjoy the city’s small-town charm in the middle of the Smoky Mountains. With over 600 miles of hiking trails, there is plenty of room for exploration, including the Newfound Gap Road from which travelers can observe a brilliant tapestry of foliage at 1,400 feet above sea level. Peak foliage-viewing is from mid October to early November.
Tennessee is within a day’s drive of 65% of our nation’s population. There, you’ll find natural beauty, great music and vibrant communities ladled with a dose of Southern hospitality.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg
This 800- square-mile wonderland offers a treasure trove of outdoor opportunity for family members of all ages. Heavily forested, it’s well known for its plant and animal diversity, including a population of 1,500 black bears. Enjoy picnicking, hiking the nearly 800 miles of trails, horseback riding and fishing. Kids can earn a Junior Ranger badge and join one of the ranger-led programs designed for young people.