Great Smoky Mountains: 8 Things Visitors Should Know


Learn 8 essential tips for an unforgettable trip to this stunning park.

The park is free to enter, but you need to buy a parking pass online or at visitor centers.

Save Money, but Plan Ahead


Every summer, thousands of fireflies flash in sync. Apply for a parking pass in April to see it.

Witness a natural wonder


You can fish for trout in the park’s rivers, but you need a license from Tennessee or North Carolina.

Catch some fish, but follow the rules


The park’s elevation ranges from 875 to 6,643 feet. The weather can vary greatly, so be ready.

Dress in layers, pack a raincoat


The park has nearly 850 miles of trails, some of which are steep and rocky. Wear sturdy shoes.

Protect your feet, avoid slips


Bring at least two liters of water per person when hiking. Drink often, especially at high elevations.

Avoid dehydration, altitude sickness


Walking off-trail damages plants, erodes the landscape, and can lead to dangerous drop-offs.

Preserve the park, Protect yourself


park had 12.9 million visitors in 2022. Every piece of trash adds up. Use a reusable water bottle.

Leave no trace, Reduce waste 


Next: 7 Best Things to Do in the Great Smoky Mountains

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