The Smoky Mountains are one of the top vacation destinations in America. Every year millions of travelers visit both the Tennessee and the North Carolina side of the mountains, explore the surrounding cities, and spend many of their days in the park. It’s easy to be captivated by the beauty on the surface of the Smoky Mountains but if you take a bit of time to learn about the park, you’ll find yourself even more intrigued and left with a desire to learn more. Here are 7 facts about the Smoky Mountains that you probably didn’t know.
1. Not All Rainbows Are Colorful in the Smoky Mountains
Fog bows often appear in Cades Cove. There’s a good chance you’ve seen a rainbow pop up around the park, but have you seen a fog bow? If you place your back to the sun as it shines into the fog on the right morning, especially along Sparks Lane or Hyatt Lane, you’re likely to witness one.
2. A Great Deal of Time and Effort Went Into the Park That You Explore Today
Great Smoky Mountains National Park was officially established on June 15, 1934 but the U.S. Government gave the go ahead to create the park in 1926. The years in between were spent raising funds to purchase land for the park.
3. Cades Cove Methodist Church Has Two Doors
Have you been to Cades Cove? If so, you’ve likely noticed that the Cades Cove Methodist Church has two doors. The reason? It’s due to the men and women being separated during church service. The Methodist Church at this particular location, they did build the church based on the building plans of a church that did follow the custom.
4. 2,900 Miles of Streams
There are 2,900 miles of streams in the park and only 20% of the streams are big enough to support the trout population. Making it extra important to keep the streams clean and to always follow fishing guidelines set by the national park service.
5. There’s an Iconic Structure in the Park
The Mount Cammerer Fire Tower sits on top of Mount Cammerer at 5,050ft elevation. The tower was built in the 1930’s by the Civilian Conservation Corps and is a top destination for hikers today. The shortest hike is 11 miles roundtrip and is rated strenuous due to an elevation gain of 3,100ft.
6. True Old-Growth Trees Are Still Standing
95% of the park is forested but only 25% of the forests were spared during the logging days in the Smokies. It is in that small portion of the park that you’ll find true old-growth trees still standing today. Greenbrier, the Cove Hardwood Nature Trail, and Albright Grove are a few of the areas that you will spot the most stunning trees in the Smokies.
7. One of the Largest Collections of Historical Log Buildings
The national park is home to one of the largest collections of historical log buildings in the eastern part of the country. Many of the structures can be found along popular scenic drives like the Roaring Fork Motor Trail or Cades Cove but many are tucked away a bit more out of sight. This year take time to explore a few trails and visit the hidden log gems in the park.
Did you learn anything new? The park is filled with interesting history, fun facts, and spending time in the area is always a great learning experience! Now that you know more about the Great Smoky Mountains National Park it’s time to start planning your visit! Get all the information you need to know before you visit the Smoky Mountains.