Most of us know the Great Smoky Mountains as one of the most entertaining and attractive tourist destinations. Spanning the border between Tennessee and North Carolina, it is a part of the Appalachian mountain range, one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world.
Host to millions of tourists every year, the Great Smoky Mountains are a popular sight for people looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. Families, friends, couples, and even solo travelers have this stunningly gorgeous spot on their bucket list.
But what makes the Smoky Mountains so special? Is it natural beauty? Or recreational activities? Or maybe the historical significance? Here are eight fun facts about the Smokies that make it one of America’s most sought-after tourist destinations.
- There are Multiple Trails for Hiking
The Smoky Mountains are a part of the Appalachian Mountain range with some adventurous hiking trails. The Appalachian Trail is spread across 2,190 miles and is one of the longest hiking trails in the world. A section of this trail passes through the Smoky Mountains National Park, allowing hikers to explore this trail abundant with stunning vistas and multiple challenges along the trail.
If you want to experience the best hikes in the Smoky Mountains, consider options such as the Laurel Falls, Alum Cave, and Roundtop Trail.
- It is a Biodiverse Ecosystem
The Great Smoky Mountains are still preserved and maintained in their best natural state. There are over 4,000 types of plants, 140 tree species, and over 500 animal species, including mammals, birds, reptiles, and fish.
This perfect combination of natural beauty and wildlife can be witnessed as you drive across the park (and trail), hike, bike, and horse ride your way around the trails.
Scientists believe there are even more species living in the Smokies. But let’s put that on hold as they learn more about it.
- The ‘Smoke’ is Created by Plants
The mesmerizing fog covering the peak of the Smoky Mountains makes it distinct from other mountains. You will find your surroundings covered by a dreamy mist that almost looks like blue smoke.
The foggy blue hues you witness are released from the abundant plant life. We know that plants consume carbon dioxide and emit oxygen, but they also release a volatile organic compound or VOC, which in massive quantities forms into vapor. It reflects sunlight and spreads blue light from the sky in the air.
- No Shortage of Rainfall
All this natural beauty would have been hard to manage if nature didn’t have its ways to sustain it. Smokies receive 55 to 85 inches of rainfall annually, contributing to its lush greenery and thriving wildlife.
Rain also contributes to the pleasant weather throughout the year. Thanks to the rich plantation, the water is soaked in the roots much quicker, but tourists are still advised to pack rain-friendly clothing during March and August.
- You Can Enjoy a Natural Firefly Show
Every year, the Smoky Mountains witness a magical sight in June. A spectacular natural show is put up by one of the 19 firefly species that reside in the forest. As the sun sets and the darkness cloaks the forest, fireflies from the Elkmont Region flash in unison.
It is peak mating season for the fireflies, and they synchronize their flashing patterns. It is a stunning and romantic sight as the synchronized fireflies light up the Smokies to find their mate for the season. The show lasts around 20 minutes a day for almost two weeks until their peak mating season ends.
- It is the Salamander Capital of the World
The Smoky Mountains are the Salamander Capital of the world. There are over 31 species of salamanders that thrive in their natural habitat.
Scientists have found that they usually spend their days sleeping and nights hunting and mating. The salamander might not be anyone’s favorite animal, but watching them healthy and thriving in their natural habitat is a sight to behold!
- You Can Go Fishing in All the Streams
Smoky Mountains National Park has over 2,900 water streams open for fishing. You can find a diverse range of fish in the Smokies, from lampreys and darters to bass and trout.
Mynatt Park, Douglas Lake, and Twenty-Mile Creek are considered the top fishing spots. However, anglers need a Tennessee or North Carolina fishing permit to fish in the streams.
- It Has Several Historical Landmarks
The Smoky Mountains National Park is a well-preserved natural resource that is also rich in history. Historical buildings, such as churches, schools, and homes from the 19th and 20th centuries, still stand tall. You can also find barnes and grist mills that represent the farming lifestyle of the previous settlers.
Get hold of a map that’ll guide you through these spots while explaining the significance of each building. The Oconaluftee, Cades Cove, and Cataloochee are ripe with historical artifacts that will make your trip to the Smokies all the more educational.
The Great Smoky Mountains is the most visited natural park in America. It is surrounded by a thick forest and multiple hiking trails where tourists can enjoy a stress-free adventure in nature.
With pleasant weather and stunning natural views, the Smoky Mountains is on many travelers’ bucket list. You will find yourself immersed in nature’s best resources and will never want to leave! So, if you are looking for a stunning vacation with the family or a weekend getaway with your partner, the Great Smoky Mountains should be your first choice.