Grivet's Favorite Things to Do in the Great Smoky Mountains
The Great Smoky Mountains are one of the most beloved stretches of undistributed lands in the United States. Situated along the edge of North Carolina and Tennessee, the region is home to the country's most famous National Park, Great Smoky Mountain National Park, and unsurprisingly, there are plenty of things to do and see in the region.
Whether you live near the region or you're planning a vacation if you're wondering what to do in the Great Smoky Mountains, here's a look at some of the very best things to do.
Explore the Clingmans Dome
Standing high above the top of the National Park, this 6,643-foot peak offers incredible views of the mountains, as well as the state of Tennessee. A futuristic observation tower closely resembles a spaceship on the dome's top, which offers information, refreshments, and restrooms. To make the most of this excursion, make sure to visit early in the day or towards the end of the day to beat the crowds. Please follow all COVID protocols at the time of your visit.
Explore the Appalachian Trail
During the spring and summer, the Great Smoky Mountains are bursting with wildflowers of all types. You could see more than 1,500 species of flowering plants in the region, including the rhododendrons and azaleas that the area is famous for, as well as wild geranium, orchids, and trout lilies. With so many flowers in bloom, it looks as if an artist has painted the Great Smoky Mountains with color.
Paddle Fontana Lake
Made by a dam on the Little River, Fontana Lake is situated along the Great Smoky Mountains National Park's southern edge. The lake is long and thin and offers 240 miles of shoreline, where you can take a peaceful stroll or soak up the sun. The lake is perfect for water activities, such as kayaking, canoeing, paddleboarding, and even fishing. You can rent a boat at the Nantahala Outdoor Center or launch your own vessel.
With more than 100 waterfalls, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers plenty of opportunities to take in breathtaking views and cool off. You can hike the established trail to one of the several beloved locations, such as Laurel, Grotto, Abrams, or Rainbow Falls. For a more leisurely day, you can also drive up to the more secluded falls, such as The Sinks, Meigs, or Place of a Thousands Drips. Whichever waterfall you choose, you’re sure to be delighted.
Hike the Appalachian Trail
The Great Smoky Mountains is home to 71 miles of one of the world's most famous hiking trails – the Appalachian Trail. If you're feeling up for a big adventure, you can traverse the entire expanse of the trail. Most visitors explore just a short stretch of the trail instead and find out for themselves why people around the world visit the Great Smoky Mountains.
- Memphis, TN.