107 Park Headquarters Rd, Gatlinburg, TN 37738, United States
GPS: 35.687396778821, -83.536336476079
World-renowned for the beauty of the ancient Appalachian Mountains, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is home to an incredible biological diversity. Located straddling the states of North Carolina and Tennessee in the eastern part of the United States, it is one of the most visited protected natural areas in North America.
Founded in 1934 and covering an area of more than 2,100 km², this park aims to protect a highly dense primary forest as well as the bluish-coloured misty massif of the Great Smoky Mountains. This site belongs to the largest mountain range in the Appalachians, the Blue Ridge Mountains (they stretch for hundreds of kilometres from Georgia in the south to Pennsylvania in the north). The wild and mountainous part of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the Appalachian Trail, a majestic 3,510-kilometre-long route for the adventurous. The trail is marked with shelters and campsites along the way and crosses a total of 14 states from Mount Springer (Georgia) to Mount Katahdin (Maine). The climb to Clingmans Dome, the highest peak in the Great Smoky Mountains at 2025 metres, is also the highlight of the route.
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park has a plethora of plant and animal species. Its temperate and wetlands provide sanctuary for more than 1,800 different plant species, 1,500 black bears, 200 species of birds and the world’s largest variety of salamanders. The Great Smoky Mountains were the ancient home of the Cherokee Indian people before they were forcibly evicted in the first half of the 19th century at the instigation of the 7th President of the United States, Andrew Jackson (through the Indian Removal Act passed by Congress in 1830). The park has the particularity of possessing one of the most beautiful and authentic wooden huts once occupied by the American pioneers. Its virgin forests, which remain intact, predate the arrival of the first Europeans on American soil. They are revealed through a network of 1,300 km of hiking trails.