Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the most visited national park of United States is situated on an area of 522,419 acres approximately balancing the chain of mountains of Great Smoky Mountains which is a sub-part of the Blue Ridge Mountains originated from the larger Appalachian Mountain chain. Through the center of the park, the border between Tennessee and North Carolina passes. It was licensed by the United States Congress in 1934 and devoted by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1940. The park has been certified as the UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. Main entrances of the park are along the towns of Gatlinburg, Tennessee, Cherokee and North Carolina. First park whose entire costs were paid by the federal funds. The park was titled an International Biosphere Reserve in 1976. Many movies like Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier and parts of Disney’s popular 1950s TV series were filmed there. Initially, it was a home to the Cherokees till the frontiers people settled there. Travel Writer Horace Kephart and photographer George Masa have contributed a lot for the park’s development. Late Precambrian rocks consisting of metamorphosed sandstones, phyllites, schists and slate Cambrian sedimentary rocks are majorly found in the park. Weather of the park is very humid with abundant rainfall. Around 95 percent of the park is forested including large blocks of deciduous, temperate forests of North America. The park has an unusual diversity of biota. It has been noted that the park possess more than 200 species of birds, 66 species of mammals, 39 species of reptiles, 43 species of amphibians , 50 species of fish along with many lungless salamanders and amazing black bear population. It also includes 1400 species of flowering plants and 4000 non-flowering species. Popular destinations of the park include Cades Cove, Roaring Fork, Catalooche, Elkmnt, Mount Le Conte, and the Mountain Farm Museum and Mingus Mill at Oconaluftee making the park a main tourist attraction. Sugarlands Visitors’ Center and Oconaluftee Visitor Center are the major visitors’ centers located inside the park providing exhibits on wildlife, geology and history of the park. These also sell books, maps and souvenirs. U.S. Highway commonly known as Newfound Gap Road provides automobile access to many trailheads and overlooks. There are 5 paths which en route to the park’s summit namely Alum Cave Trail, trail to pinnacle of the Chimney Tops, Laurel Falls Trail and the Clingman’s Dome trails providing scenic views and unique natural attractions of the park. Elevations in the park range between 876 feet to 6,643 feet. Recreational activities like like backpacking, camping, hiking, cycling, simple sightseeing, fishing, horseback riding and bicycling are carried out in the park. According to a 2004 report of The National Parks Conservation Association, the park has been regarded as the most polluted national park. Its 75th anniversary was celebrated on September 2, 2009.
Photos of Great Smoky Mountains National Park