Travel Guide: Great Smoky Mountains National Park

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Built in 1886, Mingus Mill still stands at its original site.

Park It: Great Smokies

What to see and where to stay in and around Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Autumn and (below) river scenes in the Great Smoky Mountains.

By Susan Hanson
Originally appeared in the April/May 2016 issue of Virtuoso Traveler.
America’s most visited national park, Great Smoky Mountains covers 522,427 acres and is home to at least 17,000 species of flora and fauna – more than any temperate climate area of equal size on earth. Southern Appalachian culture is on display as well, with the largest collection of historic log buildings in the eastern U.S., including a working grist mill.
INSIDER TIP: “During springtime, hike up to Andrews Bald to see the mountain laurel blooming,” says Memphis-based Virtuoso advisor Joe Crews. “In the fall, Cades Cove is a must-do with miles of trails.”
FUN FACT: Anglers find more than 500 miles of fishable streams in the park, including a wild trout habitat.
KIDS WILL LOVE: Weekend workshops on animal tracking, caring for orphaned bear cubs, and Cherokee heritage are on offer through the Smoky Mountain Field School, a partnership between the park and the University of Tennessee.
DO IT: Set in the Smokies’ foothills, Blackberry Farm lays claim to one of Tennessee’s best stretches of trout water. The inn’s adventure team can arrange guided hiking and kayaking trips in the park.
See More: 7 Must-Visit U.S. National Parks

Photo Credits: (Mingus Mill) Spring Images/Alamy, (Mountains in Autumn) Sean Pavone/iStock, (River) Stan Rohrer/iStock
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