Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee
The smoking blue mountains of the Appalachian Mountains
According to Acronymmonster, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is by far the most visited national park in the USA. Over nine million visitors come to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park every year. The densely wooded protected area is located in the eastern United States and is partly located in the US state of Tennessee and North Carolina.
The Great Smoky Mountains are part of the southern Appalachian Mountains. The area of the national park is 2,110 km². The Great Smoky Mountains National Park was founded in 1934. Even the Native Americans of the Cherokee called the Great Smoky Mountains “blue-smoking mountains”. The national park offers a rich variety of animal and plant species. New animal and plant species are constantly being discovered in the densely wooded region. At 2,025 meters, Clingmans Dome is the highest peak in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Apart from the nature of the beautiful forests, the numerous waterfalls and pristine streams within the protected region are well worth seeing.
Trail of Tears
The first white settlers came to the Great Smoky Mountain area in the 18th century. In 1830, then-US President Andrew Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act, a law that would have far-reaching consequences for Native Americans. As a result, the Cherokee resident in the Great Smoky Mountains area were driven out in the most brutal and inhumane way. The Cherokee ultimately had nothing to oppose to the superiority of the whites. The “Indians” were resettled in reservations created especially for them, in regions of no interest to white settlers. Relocating meant that Native Americans had to walk to their new homes. This inhumane act on the Cherokee, a death march, went as the ” Trail of Tears “.
The Cherokee had to walk hundreds of miles. Those who did not die on the way died in the reserve from diseases brought by Europeans. Few of the Native Americans survived the martyrdom. Some of the Cherokee managed to evade eviction. Their hiding place was in what is now the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The natives were not completely expelled from the area. Today there are still descendants of the Native Americans who lived in hiding at the time.
Progressive logging – destroyed nature
After the natives were driven out, a thriving logging industry developed in the Great Smoky Mountains. The development of America by the railroad created new and insatiable markets for the timber industry. This is how the wood was transported from the Great Smoky Mountains to distant regions of the young American confederation. Far-sighted contemporaries soon realized that logging would irretrievably destroy the valuable nature of the Great Smoky Mountains if logging continued at this rate. They allied themselves to protect the forests. By 1926 they had raised enough money to buy large tracts of the Smoky Mountains. The local white settlers and the timber industry then had to leave the protected area.
Plants in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The forest areas in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park are huge. Five types of deciduous and coniferous forests are distinguished within the protected area. In total, the national park has an unbelievable almost 130 species of deciduous and coniferous trees and 100 species of shrubs. The total number of plant species is estimated at over 4,000, including around 1,600 flowering plants. The Oconaluftee Open Air Museum is well worth seeing. You can see historical buildings (residential houses, barns, churches, schools and mills) from the time of the first settlement by white people. The national park has a total of around 80 historic buildings of this type. The two grain mills in the national park are only open seasonally. During the harvest season, you can watch corn flour being ground there.
Tiere im Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The number of mammals is estimated at over sixty. The black bear is quite common (nearly 2,000 specimens) in the Great Smoky Mountains. Other larger mammal species such as the red wolf and white-tailed deer also live in the sanctuary. Gray squirrels and chipmunks, as well as marmots in the mountainous regions, are widespread among small mammals. 240 species of birds have been counted in the protected region, as well as around 80 species of reptiles and amphibians. The waters of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park are home to 59 species of fish. To describe the protected area as very rich in species and extremely valuable.
Hiking trails and scenic drives
The forests of the ” Smokies ” are criss-crossed by countless hiking trails. Their total length is about 1,400 kilometers. It is particularly popular with Americans to take a tour on one of the scenic drives through the national park in their car. The Appalachian National Park has more than 600 kilometers of roads that can be used by cars. The speed limit in the sanctuary is 30 miles, which is almost 50 km/h. The scenic drives offer incredibly beautiful views over the national park, which is characterized by forests. Every year in autumn, the ” Indian Summer ” transforms the forests of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park into a colorful sea of bright colors.
Lots of space for leisure activities
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is very well suited for numerous leisure activities. In addition to driving, hiking, biking, fishing, rock climbing, horseback riding, wildlife viewing and camping are very popular. Camping outside of the supervised campsites is also possible in the hinterland of the national park. You need permission from the national park administration. Visitor centers are located in the communities of Sevierville, Gatlinburg and Townsend. Appalachian National Park is open year-round except for Christmas.
Sights in the national park
- Cades Cove
- Deep Dreek
- Clingmans Dome
- Off the Beaten Path
- Newfound Gap
- Roaring Fork
- Mount Sterling
- Fontana Dam
- Newfound Gap Road
- Mount LeConte
- Chimney Tops
- Laurel Falls
- Ramsay Cascades
- Abram Falls
- Mingus Mill
- Mountain Farm Museum
Campgrounds – Gr. Smoky Mountains NP
- Abrams Creek
- Balsam Mountain
- Big Creek
- Deep Creek
- Look Rock
- Cades Cove
Visitor Centers in the National Park
- Cades Cove
- Clingmans Dome