5 Things to Know About the Great Smoky Mountains Before You Visit

5 Things to Know About the Great Smoky Mountains Before You Visit

If you’ve never been to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park before, then you’re in for a treat! There are so many incredible places to visit, scenery to take in, wildlife to spot, and much more! You want to prepare as much as possible for your upcoming trip, so you need to know all kinds of information! Here are 5 things you should know about the Great Smoky Mountains before you visit:

1. There’s No Entrance Fee

great smoky mountains national park

Most national parks in the United States charge an entrance fee for park maintenance. However, in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, you don’t have to pay anything to enter! This is in part due to the state of Tennessee donating a road to the park with the rule that they can never impose a toll on drivers, which later translated into there not being an entrance fee. You can enjoy the beauty of the Smokies free of charge!

2. Some Roads are Closed Seasonally

During the winter season, roads can become hazardous in the Great Smoky Mountains from ice and snow. The National Park Service chooses to close some of the main roads to protect visitors from the beginning of winter to the start of spring. Any popular sites or hiking trails along the roads are still open, but you would have to walk to the trailhead instead of driving on the road. Some of the most notable roads that close seasonally include Clingmans Dome Road, Rich Mountain Road, and the Roaring Fork Motor Trail.

3. Temperatures Can Vary Up to 20 Degrees

blue smoky mountains

Due to there being valleys and peaks in the mountains, the temperatures in higher elevations can vary up to 20 degrees. If you are right outside of Gatlinburg, it may be 60 degrees at the hottest part of the day, whereas higher elevations could be as cool as 40 degrees. When you’re planning your trip, be sure to check the elevation level and weather before you head out into the park so you can prepare accordingly!

4. There aren’t Any Gas Stations in the Park

You don’t want to find yourself out of gas in the middle of the Great Smoky Mountains! There aren’t any gas stations within the bounds of the national park, so you will want to make sure you have enough gas in your car to get back to town. If you are planning on spending a few hours in the park, you will also want to pack some snacks and drinks since there’s not a convenience store where you can stock up!

5. Public Restrooms are in Certain Locations

cades cove in the smoky mountains

Luckily, there are public restrooms in the national park. You’ll find them at almost all of the picnic areas, including Metcalf Bottoms and Cades Cove. Other places where you can find bathrooms include Clingmans Dome, Sugarlands Visitor Center, and Alum Cave. Not every hiking trail has a restroom at the trailhead, so be sure you go before you head out on a hike!

Now you’re more prepared for when you visit the Great Smoky Mountains! Another way you may want to get ready for your trip is to be sure you have gear that shows how much you love the Smokies! Look through our Smoky Mountain apparel, and get yours for your next trip!