USA’s Most Visited National Park! – Great Smoky Mountains National Park – Tennessee & North Carolina
Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a United States National Park and UNESCO World Heritage Site that straddles the ridgeline of the Great Smoky Mountains, part of the Blue Ridge Mountains, which are a division of the larger Appalachian Mountain chain. The border between Tennessee and North Carolina runs northeast to southwest through the centerline of the park. It is the most visited national park in the United States.
Attractions and Activities
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a major tourist attraction in the region. Over 9 million tourists and 11 million non-recreational visitors traveled to the park in 2010, more than twice as many visitors as the Grand Canyon, the second most visited national park. Surrounding towns, notably Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Sevierville, and Townsend, Tennessee, and Cherokee, Sylva, Maggie Valley, and Bryson City, North Carolina receive a significant portion of their income from tourism associated with the park.
The two main visitors’ centers inside the park are Sugarlands Visitors’ Center near the Gatlinburg entrance to the park and Oconaluftee Visitor Center near Cherokee, North Carolina at the eastern entrance to the park. These ranger stations provide exhibits on wildlife, geology, and the history of the park. They also sell books, maps, and souvenirs. Unlike most other national parks, there is no entry fee to the park.
The park has a number of historical attractions. The most well-preserved of these (and most popular) is Cades Cove, a valley with a number of preserved historic buildings including log cabins, barns, and churches. Cades Cove is the single most frequented destination in the national park. Self-guided automobile and bicycle tours offer the many sightseers a glimpse into the way of life of old-time southern Appalachia. Other historical areas within the park include Roaring Fork, Cataloochee, Elkmont, and the Mountain Farm Museum and Mingus Mill at Oconaluftee.
• Cades Cove Historic District
• Elkmont Historic District
• Oconaluftee Archaeological District
• Noah Ogle Place
• Roaring Fork Historic District
Hannah Cabin in Little Cataloochee, was built in the mid-1800s by John Jackson Hannah, the son of early pioneer Evan Hannah. The cabin’s brick chimney is one of only three in theSmoky Mountains.
• Alex Cole Cabin
• Clingmans Dome Observation Tower
• Hall Cabin (in Hazel Creek area)
• John Messer Barn
• John Ownby Cabin
• Oconaluftee Baptist Church (also called Smokemont Baptist Church)
• Tyson McCarter Place
• Mayna Treanor Avent Studio
• Little Greenbrier School
• Walker Sisters Place
Gatlinburg is a mountain resort city in Sevier County, Tennessee, United States. The population was 3,944 at the 2010 Census, and 4,047 according to the 2012 Census estimate. The city is a popular vacation resort, as it rests on the border of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park along U.S. Route 441, which connects Gatlinburg to Cherokee, North Carolina through the national park..
Gatlinburg is an important tourism destination in Tennessee, with many man-made attractions, and it borders the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Ober Gatlinburg is the onlyski resort in Tennessee. It has eight ski trails, three chair lifts, a wildlife encounter area, and is accessible via roads and a gondola from the city strip. The Gatlinburg Trolley, a privately funded public transit system, caters to area tourists.
Another popular attraction is Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies which also features special exhibits covering subjects such as the Titanic, pirates and more recently the planet Mars.Dollywood and Dollywood’s Splash Country, which are both named for Dolly Parton, are amusement parks located in nearby Pigeon Forge.
During the Christmas season the entire downtown area is decorated with lights for the Winterfest Celebration. This celebration takes place from November thru February.  Visitors during the Winterfest Celebration can also take a Trolly Ride of the Lights from Nov 12, 2014 to Jan 25, 2015 for only $5.00.
Cherokee (ᏣᎳᎩ in Cherokee language) /ˈtʃɛrɵkiː/  is a census-designated place (CDP) in Swain and Jackson counties in western North Carolina, United States, within the Qualla Boundary land trust. It is located in the Oconaluftee River Valley around the intersection of U.S. Route 19 and U.S. Route 441. As of the 2010 census, the CDP had a population of 2,138.
Harrah’s Cherokee Casino opened in 1995 and dramatically “changed everything from jobs to education to health care” for Cherokee tribe members.
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