Day Use Areas in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park
The Park has specific sites set aside for picnicking. Chimneys, Deep Creek, Cades Cove, and Cosby, remain open year-round. Other sites include Greenbrier, Big Creek, Collins Creek, Balsam Mountain, and Look Rock. Most picnic areas in the Park have pavilions.
Recorded Phone Information
Great Smoky Mountain National Park 865-436-1200
For additional information:
Directions to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park:
Several major highways lead to the Park. The following routes provide access to the three main entrances.
Directions from Tennessee to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park
From the east ( I-81): take I-40 to Exit 407 (Sevierville) to TN Route 66 South, and continue to U.S. 441 South. Follow U.S. 441 to Park.
From I-40 in Knoxville: exit 386B U.S. Highway 129 South to Alcoa/Maryville. At Maryville proceed on U.S. 321 North through Townsend. Continue on TN Highway 73 to the Park.
Directions from North Carolina to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park
From I-40: take U.S. Route 19 West through Maggie Valley. Proceed to U.S. 441 North at Cherokee. Follow 441 N into the Park.
Directions from Georgia to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park
From Atlanta it points south: follow U.S. 441 and 23 North. U.S. 441 North leads to the Park.
The nearest major airport in Tennessee is McGhee-Tyson (TYS) in Alcoa, 45 miles west of Gatlinburg. North Carolina's, Asheville Airport is 60 miles east of Cherokee. There is no train or bus service.
It is important to be well versed before exploring the backcountry. Here are a few basics to help you get started:
• Always hike with another person.
• Always bring a small flashlight.
• Always bring water.
• All water taken from the backcountry should be treated.
• Let someone know your route and return time.
• Wear appropriate shoes and clothing.
• Carry a small first aid kit.
Be sure to allow plenty of time to complete your hike before dark. As a rule of thumb, hikers in the Smokies travel about 1.5 miles per hour. Many people travel slower. Sunset times vary from just after 5:00 p.m. in December to almost 9:00 p.m. in June.
Pepper Spray: Bear pepper spray may be carried by hikers within Great Smoky Mountains National Park for the strict purpose of protection against bodily harm from aggressive wildlife. It should not be applied to people, tents, packs, other equipment or surrounding area as a repellent. Bear pepper spray is a chemical formula designed specifically to deter aggressive or attacking bears. It must be commercially manufactured and labeled as "Bear Pepper Spray" and be registered with the Environmental Protection Agency and individual states. Bear spray must contain between 1% to 2% of the active ingredients capsaicin and related capsaicinoids.
Be informed on the weather and be prepared for quickly changing conditions. Always check current weather conditions.
for more information:
Great Smoky Mountain National Park
107 Park Headquarters Road
Gatlinburg, TN 37738
865-436-1200 - recorded information
You may also call the Backcountry Information Office at (865) 436-1297 for information to plan your hiking or backpacking trip. The office is open daily from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time). In addition to answering your backpacking questions, the experienced backpackers in the Backcountry Information Office can provide you with tips to make your trip safe and enjoyable.
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