3 Cool Things to Know About Great Smoky Mountains National Park

A large sign welcomes visitors to the entrance of Great Smoky Mountains National Park

If you are looking for more things to do during your stay at our Gatlinburg condos, take a short drive to Great Smoky Mountains National Park! It is a popular attraction in the area and the most-visited national park overall. Read on to learn more about it before you visit! Here is a list of 3 cool things to know about Great Smoky Mountains National Park:

1. It Has More Than 850 Miles Of Hiking Trails

One popular thing to do at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is hike. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned hiker, it is easy to find the perfect route. This is because there are more than 850 miles of hiking trails in the park. One easy route is the Sugarlands Valley Nature Trail! It has a round trip distance of 0.5 miles, and the flat terrain is American Disability Association-approved. While you’re walking, keep an eye out for old chimneys and stone fences. On the other hand, a more challenging trek is the Baxter Creek Trail. It is very steep and climbs over 4,100 feet in 6.2 miles. As for distance, The whole trail is around 12.4 miles round trip. At the end, enjoy stunning views from the Mt. Sterling Fire Tower.

2. It Was Once A Thriving Settlement

john oliver cabin in cades cove Before the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was a beloved tourist attraction, it was a thriving settlement where people lived off the land. Some of the earliest settlers arrived in the 1800s, while the last moved away when the park was established in 1934. You can see all of their legacies in big and little remnants throughout the park. For example, the John Oliver Cabin is in Cades Cove. It is the oldest human structure in the park. Visitors can walk to the cabin or see as they drive along Cades Cove Loop Road! Another one is the Alfred Regan Place on the Roaring Fork Nature Trail. It has a tub mill nearby, which uses the power of water to turn wheat and corn into flour and cornmeal. There are plenty of other homesteads throughout the park, each of which is fascinating to see. Visitors are even able to walk through some structures.

3. Its Name Has An Interesting Origin

If you’re wondering how this popular tourist attraction got its name, we’re here to tell you that it has an interesting origin. The Cherokee Indians were some of the first residents of the Smoky Mountain area. They built a community and took pride in the land. The tribe called the mountains “Shaconage.” This means “place of blue smoke.” The seemingly smoky atmosphere is not caused by a fire. Rather, it comes from natural processes. Special plants release a gas called a volatile organic compound, or VOC for short. The gas then mixes with the fog and turns it blue!

We hope you enjoyed learning some cool facts about Great Smoky Mountains National Park! Want to know about even more attractions in the area? Check out our list of free things to do in Gatlinburg!