Hosting over 9 million visitors annually, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is America’s most visited national park. It is a landscape that combines natural and cultural history beautifully. History unfolds before the eyes, emerging from lush forests and rich lowland valleys.
The National Park was officially created on June 15, 1934. Franklin Delano Roosevelt dedicated the ceremony at Newfound Gap, a central point along the spine of the mountains that separates Tennessee from North Carolina. much of the Smokies 500,000 acres are pure wilderness. More species of plants are found within the park than any other area in North America. Over 1,500 flowering shrubs and plants, 124 species of trees and 30 varieties of orchids and grasses can be found here. Interestingly, the Smokies’ unique ecosystem combines two different climates.
The Smokies are also home to a diverse array of wildlife, harboring over 60 species of mammals, 200 species of birds, nearly 70 kinds of fish and 80 varieties of reptiles and amphibians. White-tailed deer, red fox, wood chucks, squirrels and raccoons are often encountered on quiet roadsides. The black bear (Ursus americanus) is easily the park’s most popular citizen. Park officials estimate that between 400 and 600 bears inhabit the park.
There are two ways to access the Smokies National Park from Douglas Lake. The most popular way is by going to Gatlinburg and driving up to the Sugarlands Visitor Center. Another way is to go towards Newport and head to Cosby, TN, which also connects to Gatlinburg. You’ll be able to see the Smokies and get back in time to relax with our many cabin luxuries.