About Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Great Smoky Mountains National Park is located in the Southern Appalachian Mountains and straddles the border between North Carolina and Tennessee. The park encompasses more than 800 square miles and is dominated by ancient mountains, with elevations ranging from 850 feet to 6,643 feet at Clingmans Dome. The park is world-renowned for the diversity of its plant and animal life, beautiful scenery, and the size and integrity of the wilderness sanctuary within its boundaries. More than 19,000 species have been documented in the park. No other area of equal size in a temperate climate can match the park’s diversity of plants, animals, and invertebrates. This is evident in the park’s status as the core unit of one of America’s few International Biosphere Reserves (1988) and its designation as a World Heritage Site (1983). The park also preserves one of the largest collections of historic Appalachian log structures, and maintains more than 800 miles of trails, including a section of the Appalachian Trail.
The park is situated within a day’s drive of more than half the population of the United States, and more than 9 million visitors come to the park annually to enjoy its resources. They come from local communities, the region, the nation, and from across the world, making the park one of the most visited national parks in the country. Hence, the park contributes to the economic vitality of the surrounding communities and the region.
Throughout time, many people have maintained close connections to the Great Smoky Mountains. Private citizens, civic groups, and even school children, worked tirelessly to raise funds for land acquisition and establishment of the park. This grassroots dedication continues today—the park benefits from one of the largest volunteer cadres in the national park system. Volunteers and partnerships with public, private, and nonprofit groups for education, scientific research, and stewardship of park resources are integral to achieving the purpose of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
|Date the Park was Established:||June 15, 1934|
|Park Area (as of 2019):||522,426.88 acres (2,114.2 km2)|
|Recreational Visitors (2018 Total):||11,421,200 visitors|