The Smoky Mountains are a range of mountains located along the border between North Carolina and Tennessee, in the southeastern region of the United States. The mountain range derived its name “Smoky” from the natural fog that is seen most often after a rainstorm or in the early morning hours. The smoky plumes develop as the humid, warm air from the Gulf of Mexico rapidly cools in the higher elevations of the Great Smoky Mountains. Over the years, many photographers and painters have enjoyed capturing the special beauty of this mountain range. Here is everything you need to know about hiking in the Smoky Mountains:
History of the Smokies
The Great Smoky Mountains are part of the Appalachian mountain chain that extends all along the eastern corridor of the United States. The bucolic beauty of the Smoky Mountains has been protected by the establishment of a national park in 1934. Because of its accessibility and gentle beauty, Smoky Mountain National Park is the most visited national park in the United States with almost 10 million visitors a year. With trails for every age and skill level, thousands of people come to the Smokies every season to hike through the park. Experience the beauty and history of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park for yourself on your next trip!
What to Do in the Smokies
Many visitors to the park enjoy a variety of recreational activities throughout the year. For example, in the spring and summer months there are a number of attractions and activities in Gatlinburg, including white water rafting. The rivers and streams in the Smoky Mountains broil and cascade with great energy. Some of the Gatlinburg rafting trips are appropriate for beginners, and other trips are more geared for experienced white water rafters.
Other Gatlinburg, Tennessee attractions include hiking, birding and camping. The foliage is incredible in the fall with the many resplendent leaves gently swaying in the warm fall air. There are also a number of Pigeon Forge, Tennessee attractions including hiking wide vistas, spelunking and rock climbing. In the spring, the attractions in Gatlinburg include exquisite walks among the many colored wildflowers.
When to Go Hiking
Next time you are here, make sure and go hiking in the Smoky Mountains. 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.