Every year the Great Smoky Mountains National Park releases numbers reflecting the popularity of the park and on average that number seems to rise with each and every passing year. That was the case this past year and leads to one conclusion: The park’s natural beauty is awe-inspiring and draws people from all over the world and from all walks of life.
Even during the holidays and the cold weather months people are drawn to the park. So why even put it to a question? Well, the natural beauty is the park’s primary factor for bringing in so many tourists, there are other factors as well. And though it’s an overwhelming factor, it isn’t the only factor.
Besides citing the park’s beauty, people consistently praise the locals, exclaiming how nice people are who live in the Smoky Mountain region which includes the towns of Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and Sevierville.
Many vacationers who come to the area will go so far as to take one of the many guided tours offered of the park, before going of on their own. Tours like the Roaring Fork Auto Tour and the numerous ones offered through Cades Cove in Townsend, TN are especially popular. Cades Cove is especially popular with bikers who cruise the loop early in the mornings hoping to spot a bounding deer or fox.
Others, like the many honeymooners that come to the area opt to get out on some of the park’s many trails by themselves. Surely there is a hike for you of the 150 or so official trails recognized by the National Park Service. Just be sure to check the park’s notices for temporary closures. This is just so that you know whether or not the trail you are considering hiking is open and that there are no warnings for it.
Also, if you’re going to be getting out into nature, make sure that you leave early enough so that you’ll arrive back before dark. On average, Smoky Mountain hikers travel about 1.5 miles per hour, though many do traveler slower. Sundown in the region can occur anywhere from just after 5 p.m. in December to almost 9 p.m. in June.