Do you love the Great Smoky Mountains National Park? We want to share some of the top facts you may not know about this popular destination in the southeast. There’s so much to learn about the area! Check out these top 4 facts about the Great Smoky Mountains National Park:
1. Cades Cove is the most popular destination.
The Great Smoky Mountains are one of the most popular national parks in the country, but did you know that Cades Cove is the most popular destination in the park? Every year, Cades Cove receives about 2 million visitors. They drive along the 11-mile paved Loop to see the beautiful mountains and valleys in the area. There are many historic buildings in Cades Cove where you can stop and explore them, such as a grist mill, smokehouse, and multiple homesteads. You’ll also find trailheads to a few hiking trails in Cades Cove.
2. There are 1,500 black bears in the national park.
In the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, experts estimate there are about 1,500 black bears. That’s 2 black bears per square mile! Black bears are more concentrated in this area than anywhere else in the United States. They are omnivores and hibernate during the winter. The top places to see black bears in the Smokies are Cades Cove and along hiking trails. If you do come face to face with a black bear, be sure to stay 50 yards away to keep yourself and the bear safe.
3. It is one of the only free national parks in the country.
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the only national parks in the United States that does not have an entrance fee. This makes it the most popular national park in the country. You may be wondering why there is no entrance fee, and we are going to tell you! The government wanted a road that ran through the park. North Carolina and Tennessee had come together and built Newfound Gap Road to connect the two sides of the national park. The government approached both states to acquire the road. North Carolina deeded their portion of the road over. Tennessee made an agreement with the government that no toll fees would ever be enforced on the road, and that eventually led into the fact that there are no entrance fees to enter the national park.
4. Llamas are used to get supplies to Mount LeConte.
To get to the summit of Mount LeConte, you have to hike. There are no paved roads to get there. So how are supplies taken to LeConte Lodge? By llamas, of course! If you hike along Trillium Gap Trail to get to the top of Mount LeConte or to see Grotto Falls, you might just run into the pack of llamas carrying supplies to the top of the mountain!
These are just a few of the cool facts about the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Want to stay near the national park? Look through our Smoky Mountain cabin rentals and book one today for your next trip to the Smokies!