Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the largest protected land areas east of the Rocky Mountains. With over 500,000 acres of forest, the Smoky Mountains contain an enormous variety of plants and animals.
Cherokee roamed this land first, then mountain settlers. The Smoky Mountains is the most visited national park in the U.S. This haven is home to black bears, bobcats, 30 species of salamanders, a myriad of birds, plus over 4000 species of plants.
A look into pioneer life can be found at Cades Cove, where log houses, farm buildings, and more are preserved. Overlooking the Cove are the Smoky Mountains, rising to 6,643 feet (2,025 meters) at their highest point, Clingmans Dome.
Most visitors travel through the park by car, along scenic drives that provide spectacular vistas, however, more than 800 miles (1,287 kilometers) of hiking trails also wind through magnificent terrain.