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Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park - BEST Places to Picnic

107 Park Headquarters Road
Gatlinburg, TN 37738

Phone
Visitor Information
(865) 436-1200

WELCOME to the Great Smoky Mountains

A Wondrous Diversity of Life

Ridge upon ridge of forest straddles the border between North Carolina and Tennessee in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. World renowned for its diversity of plant and animal life, the beauty of its ancient mountains, and the quality of its remnants of Southern Appalachian mountain culture, this is America�s most visited national park.

Places to Picnic:

Picnic areas are located at Big Creek, Chimney Tops, Cades Cove, Collins Creek, Cosby, Deep Creek, Greenbrier, Heintooga, Look Rock, Metcalf Bottoms, and Twin Creeks.

The picnic areas at Big Creek, Cades Cove, Chimney Tops, Cosby, Deep Creek, Greenbrier, and Metcalf Bottoms remain open year-round. The remaining picnic areas are closed during the winter.

All picnic areas have pavilions except Chimneys and Cades Cove. The picnic pavilions at Collins Creek, Cosby, Deep Creek, Metcalf Bottoms, and Twin Creeks can be reserved for groups one year in advance by calling (877)444-6777, or online at http://www.recreation.gov.

All pavilions except Twin Creeks cost $20 per use. Twin Creeks' fee ranges from $35-75 depending on the usage. Payment can be made by credit card or personal check at the time the reservation is made.

Please remember that feeding bears and other wildlife is illegal. The black bear symbolizes the invaluable wilderness qualities of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. But bears are dying unnecessarily due to improper disposal of garbage or illegal feeding by visitors. A bear�s remarkable sense of smell may lead it to human foods, such as a picnicker�s cooler, garbage left in the open, or food scraps thrown on the ground or left in the grill.

A bear that has discovered human food or garbage will eventually become day-active and leave the safety of the backcountry. It may panhandle along roadsides and be killed by a car or it may injure a visitor and have to be euthanized. Please do your part to help protect black bears and other wildlife in the Great Smokies. Clean your picnic area, including the grill and the ground around the table, thoroughly after your meal.

Things to Do

Whether you delight in the challenge of a strenuous hike to the crest of a mountain or prefer to sit quietly and watch the sun set, Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers a myriad of activities for you to enjoy. The hardest part may be choosing which auto tour, trail, waterfall, overlook, or historic area to explore!

Auto Touring - An auto tour of the park offers a chance to see panoramic vistas, rushing mountain streams, weathered historic buildings, and majestic forests stretching to the horizon. Inexpensive booklets are available to serve as your personal tour guides along many park roads.

Bicycling - Ride through Cades Cove on a misty summer morning for a truly memorable way to experience the park.

Camping - Escape into the Smokies wilderness for a backpacking adventure or opt for a tamer excursion in one of the park's developed campgrounds.

Fishing - Anglers can match their skills against wily brook, brown, and rainbow trout on over 700 miles of fishable streams in the park.

Hiking - Choose from over 800 miles of trails ranging from quiet walkways to multi-day backpacking treks through the backcountry.

Historic Buildings - The park has one of the best collections of log buildings in the eastern United States. Nearly 80 historic structures�homes, barns, churches, schools, and grist mills�have been preserved in the park.

Horseback Riding - The park has hundreds of miles of horse trails and five drive-in horse camps. If you don't own a horse, four rental stables provide mounts and guides.

Picnicking - Craving hotdogs, potato salad, water melon... and ants? There are eleven picnic areas to choose from in the park�many have pavilions that can be reserved in advance.

Waterfalls - Waterfalls can be found on nearly every river and stream in the park. Here's your guide to some of the best.

Wildflowers - Great Smoky Mountains National park is known as the "wildflower national park." You can find blooming plants year-round here, but spring and summer are renown for spectacular displays of wildflowers along roads and trails.

Wildlife Viewing - Hoping to see an elk, white-tailed deer, or black bear? Read some tips to improve your chances of spotting animals during your visit to the park.

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