Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Things to Do and Places to See

While staying in the Smokies, make sure to visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The park is houses 60-plus native mammals, 200 bird species, over 35 reptilian species and over 55 types of fish. From hiking the trails to watching the sunset, the park offers a variety of activities for all ages. Start planning and check out the top things to do at Smoky Mountains National Park.

10 Activities at Smoky Mountains National Park

  • Cruising the mountain roads provides an opportunity to see rushing mountain streams, panoramic vistas, majestic forests and historic buildings.
  • Bicycling through Cades Cove provides a great way to enjoy the area’s history.
  • Pick a waterfall in the park and plan a route. Pack a picnic and bring the camera.
  • There’s more than 800 miles of hiking trails to choose from. Plan a quiet walk or perhaps a backpack adventure through the park.
  • Anglers have plenty of opportunities to catch fish. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park has more than 700 miles of streams to fish.
  • Schedule a horseback-ride from local stables. The park includes hundreds of miles of horse trails and five drive-in horse camps.
  • Reserve a pavilion and invite family and friends to enjoy homemade goodies and grilled favorites.
  • Find one of the best collections of log buildings in the eastern U.S. Check out the historic barns, homes, schools, churches and grist mills.
  • The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is also known as the wildflower national park. See blooming plants anytime of the year. Spring and summer offer spectacular wildflower displays along trails and roads.
  • Stop by the visitors center and pick up souvenirs, such as T-shirts, hoodies, books and trinkets to remember the trip.

Read a guide to Cades Cove and plan to spend a day exploring life in the 1800s.

Find out why the Gatlinburg-Pigeon Forge area ranks as a top place for fall foliage tours in the U.S.