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Wildflower National Park
Between North Carolina and Tennessee, Great Smoky Mountains National Park stands to inspire. Incredible biodiversity and culture are tucked within this section of the Southern Appalachian Mountains. That is perhaps why it is the most visited park in the United States—over 14 million people visited in 2021 alone.
Look to the forest floor to find wildflowers that bloom year-round. With more than 1,500 species, Great Smoky Mountains ranks number 1 in wildflower diversity, granting this park its nickname, “Wildflower National Park.” Look up to discover the expansive crest of the Great Smokies. It is comprised of a series of peaks that rise above 5,000 feet for over 36 miles! Look ahead to get lost in a canopy of green and 2,000 miles of streams and rivers. Wherever your eyes land, nature is there to revitalize you.
Cades Cove is an ethereal valley surrounded by mountains. The expansive, grassy plains offer stunning views and the best wildlife viewing opportunities.
Seeing a rainbow isn't often a guarantee. In the Great Smokies, hiking to Rainbow Falls on a sunny afternoon gets pretty close. Mist from this 80-foot high waterfall interacts with sunlight to produce a must-see rainbow.
Off the Beaten Path
Peregrine Peak via Alum Cave Bluff Trail delivers all the highlights of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Rocky creek beds, scenic vistas, patches of wildflowers, and the popular Arch Rock tunnel are all featured on this 4.5-mile trek.
In many ways, National Parks represent multifaceted moments in history. The Road to Nowhere represents one of them. There is a road that extends a mere 6 miles before ending at a tunnel in Bryson City, North Carolina. The creation of Fontana Lake (or Fontana Dam) in 1944 displaced hundreds of people and buried the Old Highway 288 beneath its waters. A new road connecting those communities to Great Smoky Mountains National Park was never completed, leaving behind the infamous Road to Nowhere.
Whether you’re searching for the best pet-friendly National Parks, planning a trip with your family or in dire need of travel inspiration, look no further. Explore our National and State Park stories and itineraries to find exactly what you need.
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