Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

  US National Parks

VISIT Great Smoky Mountains National Park:

The Great Smoky Mountains is the most visited National Park in the US for over four decades. Entrance to the park is free, and the town of Gatlinburg, TN is full of stores, restaurants, and activities for the whole family.

Places to Stay While Visiting The Smokies

You should have no trouble finding a place to stay here. The area surrounding Gatlinburg is littered with hotels, cabins, Airbnbs and plenty of other options to spend your nights nestled in the wilderness.

We found a small cabin that easily fit the five of us that was about 15 minutes from downtown. The traffic was light at first, although it could get a little busy once in the heart of the city. here is the distance of local towns to the Gatlinburg Visitor’s Center:

  • Gatlinburg, TN (4 miles away)
  • Pigeon Forge, TN (10 miles away)

Park Details

Great Smoky Mountains National Park was established on May 22, 1926, and has a total area of 522,427 acres (816 square miles, or 2,115 square kilometers).

Address 107 Park Headquarters Road, Gatlinburg, TN, 37738
Phone865 436-1200
HoursIt is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year
Entrance FeeFree
Learn MoreOfficial Website

When to Visit: Weather vs. Peak Visitation

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the 2nd most visited park in the country.

We crunched 30 years of historical weather and/or park service data to find the best months to visit Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We looked for the optimal temperatures, the least amount of snow and rain, and stayed away from peak visitation months if we could help it. All this data then helped us paint a picture as to what the absolute best time to visit Great Smoky Mountains National Park is.

Our data shows the best months to visit Great Smoky Mountains National Park are April, May, June & September.

Park Visits525,801502,459931,0601,169,4691,363,1831,539,2471,730,9871,398,1611,355,5991,633,5471,155,227833,071
Avg Temp434552606773767571625345
Max Temp586066737781828279736660
Avg Temp262935435159626156463629
Min Temp4814243547545340281910
Temperature values in °F; Precipitation in Inches

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Road Trips

Many family vacations consist of stringing one or more national parks together during a week-long trip. Creating these types of trips is our specialty! Here are the road trips we've created where Great Smoky Mountains National Park is visited.

Trip NameTrip MilesTrip Days
The Full Blue Ridge Parkway Road Trip7138
Mammoth Cave & Smoky Mountains5368
DC, Shenandoah, New River Gorge to Great Smoky Mountains7679

Other Nearby National Park Sites

From national monuments, to historic sites to seashores and more, here are the other parks closest to Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Andrew Johnson National Historic Site51 mi
Cumberland Gap National Historical Park64 mi
Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site67 mi
Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area85 mi
Obed Wild and Scenic River90 mi
Cowpens National Battlefield104 mi
Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park110 mi
Mill Springs Battlefield National Monument117 mi
Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area125 mi
Kings Mountain National Military Park126 mi

Nearby Campsites & RV Parks

If you are looking to pitch a tent or park an RV at a campsite near Great Smoky Mountains National Park, here is a list of the closest campsites in the surrounding area. They all have slightly different amenitites, so its best to check them all out instead of just chosing the first on the list.

NameDetailsMiles Away
Elkmont - Great Smoky Mountains National ParkGatlinburg, TN more 3 miles
Cades Cove - Great Smoky Mountains National ParkTownsend, TN more 15 miles
Smokemont - Smoky Mountains National ParkBryson City, NC more 15 miles
Deep Creek - Great Smoky MountainsBryson City, NC more 16 miles
Sevier County Park - Douglas ReservoirSevierville, TN more 18 miles
Cosby - Great Smoky Mountains National ParkGatlinburg, TN more 19 miles
Douglas Dam TailwaterSevierville, TN more 19 miles
Douglas Dam HeadwaterSevierville, TN more 19 miles
TsaliBryson City, NC more 19 miles
Cable CoveFontana Villag, NC more 21 miles

Nearest Ski Resorts

For those of you who are the diehard outdoors type, visiting a national park on a ski trip can be quite the adventure. Here are the ski resorts within 100 miles of Great Smoky Mountains National Park:

NameLocationSummitDifficulty ScoreDistance
Ober GatlinburgGalinburg, TN3,300 ft34%2 mi
CataloocheeMaggie Valley, NC5,400 ft28%25 mi
Sapphire ValleyCashiers, NC3,450 ft15%47 mi
Wolf RidgeMars Hill, NC4,700 ft31%61 mi
Sugar MountainBanner Elk, NC5,300 ft33%98 mi
Beech MountainBanner Elk, NC5,505 ft38%100 mi

Nearest Airports

When visiting a National park, many people are faced with either a very long drive across country, or a much shorter flight. For those of you looking to fly into Great Smoky Mountains National Park, we've listed the closest airports in the area.

Large Airports

A large airport has scheduled major airline service with millions of passengers per year. This type of airport always accepts international flights. Here are the closest large airports to Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Charlotte Douglas International AirportCLTCharlotte, NC149 mi
Hartsfield-Jackson International AirportATLAtlanta, GA150 mi
Nashville International AirportBNANashville, TN178 mi
Louisville Muhammad Ali International AirportSDFLouisville, KY211 mi
Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International AirportCVGCincinnati / Covington, KY241 mi
Raleigh-Durham International AirportRDURaleigh/Durham, NC266 mi
Savannah Hilton Head International AirportSAVSavannah, GA279 mi
Medium Airports

A medium-sized airport has scheduled regional airline service. This type of airport may or may not accept international flights. Here are the closest medium-sized airports to Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

McGhee Tyson AirportTYSKnoxville, TN27 mi
Asheville Regional AirportAVLAsheville, NC58 mi
Tri-Cities Regional TN/VA AirportTRIBristol/Johnson/Kingsport, TN83 mi
Greenville Spartanburg International AirportGSPGreer, SC92 mi
Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport (Lovell Field)CHAChattanooga, TN104 mi
Athens Ben Epps AirportAHNAthens, GA120 mi
Concord-Padgett Regional AirportUSAConcord, NC160 mi

Credits: Campground data provided by Map shapes from CartographyVectors. Weather data from NOAA. Airport data from Images from Unsplash, Flickr and Parks&Trips. All data has also been updated and augmented by Parks&Trips.

Author Image
Chris Cagle

I love traveling the United States. I hunt down fantastic places to visit in the summer and great slopes to ski down in the winter. The first national park I ever visited was the Smokies, but since then, I've been to dozens. However, my favorite by far has been Zion.