National Parks are a part of American heritage that its citizens take great pride in and they provide a base for numerous family vacations. One of the most visited is Great Smoky Mountains National Park – a reserve of Appalachian wonders stretching between Nashville and North Carolina.
The landscape of this popular park is one of the main reasons the area receives so many annual visitors, the scenery is stunning no matter what time of year you visit. In summer the majestic waterfalls glisten in the sun, then the colour palette of the expanse of forest arrives with the changing leaves of fall, which then makes way for the snow covered mountain panoramas of winter and finally the rebirth of spring.
Hiking through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a great way to see the reserve in its full glory and take in all the sights at your own pace. Other options for getting around the Park include biking and horse-riding, there is no better way to get an sense of the wilderness and transport yourself back to frontier times then by saddling up and exploring the forest. Or, should you be worried about finding your way, you can take a tour guided by one of the park’s rangers. Whichever method you choose, be sure to find your way to the Clingman’s Dome so you can get a great view out over the reserve.
Because it is such a wild area of natural beauty, the abundance of wildlife makes for a great reason to visit. There are so many animals and birds to be found in the Park – sixty resident birds in fact – from the extraordinary salamander to the familiar raccoon but finding them isn’t always straightforward. Your chances of seeing any creature are greatly improved by following the strict codes of the reserve and sticking to trails in Cades Cove and Cataloochee. The Great Smoky Mountains national park is of course most famous for its black bear population and reintroduced elk, so if you are lucky you may see these giants too.
Nature trails and hikes are all important features of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, but there is more on offer. The park has plenty of designated picnic and camping areas to really help you make the most of your trip, and – providing you hold the correct state licences – you can fish for bass and trout in most of the rivers. Education is a big part of the Park, with exhibits and guides teaching visitors about the area and history, and to really embrace this, why not take part in one the special events organised by the rangers so your family can learn as they explore.
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is more than just a forest at the bottom of the Appalachian Mountains, it is a haven for wildlife, nature enthusiasts and families alike. With the amount of natural highlights and points of interest it is not hard to see why this park is so popular.