Maggie Valley NC Hotel - Lodging in the Smoky Mountains at the Abbey Inn Motel

hotel motel in Maggie Valley in the Smoky Mountains near the Blue Ridge Parkway

INSIDE THE GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK

The national park, in the states of North Carolina and Tennessee, encompasses 800 square miles of which 95 percent are forested. World renowned for the diversity of its plant and animal resources, the beauty of its ancient mountains, (the oldest mountain range in the USA) the quality of its remnants of American pioneer culture, and the depth and integrity of the wilderness sanctuary within its boundaries.  It is one of the largest protected areas in the east.

Waterfalls in the Smokies  National Park
cataloochee valley
hiking, backpacking
smoky mountains in mist

VISITATION:
     The most visited national park in the National Park System, with nine million visitors a year. The peak months are June
     to August and October during spectacular autumn color. Lowest visitation occurs in winter months, November to
     February, and early spring.

LOCATION:
     North Carolina, Tennessee

ADDRESS:
     Great Smoky Mountains National Park
     107 Park Headquarters Road
     Gatlinburg, TN 37738

TELEPHONE:
     (423) 436-1200

OPERATING HOURS, SEASONS:
     The park is open year-round. Visitor centers at Sugarlands and Oconaluftee are open all year, except Christmas Day.
     Cades Cove Visitor Center has limited winter hours.

CLIMATE, RECOMMENDED CLOTHING:
     Elevations in the park range from 800 feet to 6,643 feet and topography affects local weather. Temperatures are 10 to
     20 degrees cooler on the mountaintops. Annual precipitation averages 65 inches in the lowlands to 88 inches in the high
     country. Spring often brings unpredictable weather, particularly in higher elevations. Summer is hot and humid, but more
     pleasant in higher elevations. Fall has warm days and cool nights and is the driest period, and frosts occur starting in late
     September. Winter is generally moderate, but extreme conditions occur with increasing elevation.

DIRECTIONS:
     Several major highways lead to the Park. The following routes provide access to the three main entrances. In
     Tennessee: 1)From I-40 take Exit 407 (Sevierville) to TN Route 66 South, and continue to U.S. 441 South. Follow
     U.S. 441 to Park. 2) From I-40 in Knoxville - Exit 386B U.S. Highway 129 South to Alcoa/Maryville. At Maryville
     proceed on U.S. 321 North through Townsend. Continue straight on TN Highway 73 into Park. In North Carolina:
     From I-40, take U.S. Route 19 West through Maggie Valley. Proceed to U.S. 441 North at Cherokee into the Park.
     From Atlanta and points south: follow U.S. 441 and 23 North. U.S. 441 leads to the Park.

TRANSPORTATION:
     To Park: the nearest major airport in Tennessee (McGhee-Tyson, TYS) is Alcoa, 45 miles west of Gatlinburg. North
     Carolina's, Asheville Airport is 60 miles east of the park. No train or bus service accesses the Park.
     In Park: personal vehicle, limited trolley service from Gatlinburg.

FEES, COSTS, RATES:
     No entrance fee. Fees charged at developed campgrounds and for certain special programs.

FACILITIES AND OPPORTUNITIES:
     Visitor Centers/Exhibits:
     Sugarlands Visitor Center, near Gatlinburg, TN, is open year-round and offers an orientation program and natural
     history exhibits. Oconaluftee Visitor Center, near Cherokee, NC, is also open year-round and its exhibits focus on
     mountain life of the late 1800s. Adjacent to the visitor center is the Mountain Farm Museum, a collection of historic farm
     buildings. Cades Cove Visitor Center, near Townsend, TN, (closed in winter), sits among preserved historic buildings
     representing isolated farming communities of the 1800s.

Trails, Roads:
     More than 800 miles of trails provide opportunities ranging from ten-minute saunters on quiet walkways to week-long
     adventures deep in the forest. There are about 170 miles of paved roads and over 100 miles of gravel roads. The
     "backroads" offer a chance to escape traffic and enjoy the more remote areas of the park.

Programs/Activities:
     During the summer and fall, the park provides regularly scheduled ranger-led interpretive walks and talks, slide
     presentations, and campfire programs at campgrounds and visitor centers.

Lodging and camping facilities:
     LeConte Lodge, accessible only by foot or horseback, sits atop 6,593 Mt. LeConte, the Park's third highest peak.
     Reservations are required and can be made by calling (423) 429-5704. The lodge is open mid-March to
     mid-November. A variety of lodging facilities are available in the outlying communities.

     Frontcountry Campgrounds: There are ten developed campgrounds. Cades Cove in Tennessee and Smokemont in
     North Carolina are open year round. The other campgrounds are generally open from late March April to early
     November. Camping fees range from $10.00 to $15.00 per night.

     Backcountry Campsites: Backcountry camping is free but requires a permit. Most campsites use self-registration at
     visitor centers or ranger stations, but shelters and rationed sites require reservations. Reservations can be made 30 days
     in advance by calling (423) 436-1231, 8:00 a.m.- 6:00 p.m. daily. For backcountry trip planning information, call (423)
     436-1297, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. daily.

Food/supplies:
     There are no food facilities in the park. Numerous convenience stores and restaurants establishments are located in
     outlying communities.

Other Concessions/NPS-Managed Visitor Facilities and
     Opportunities:
     Horse rentals are available in season at five horse stables in the park in Tennessee and North Carolina.

Accessibility:
     Wheelchair accessible facilities, including restrooms, are located at the three major campgrounds, Cades Cove and
     Elkmont in Tennessee and Smokemont in North Carolina, visitor centers, and many picnic areas. Campsites
     reservations can be made for the period May 15 to October 31 by calling Destinet at 1(800) 365-CAMP. A five-foot
     wide paved and level accessibility trail, Sugarlands Valley Nature Trail, is a quarter mile south of Sugarlands Visitor
     Center. Specially designed communications media, including tactile and wayside exhibits, large print brochures and a
     cassette version are part of the trail.

RECOMMENDED ACTIVITIES/PARK USE:
     Camping, hiking, picnicking, sightseeing, fishing, auto touring, horseback riding, nature viewing, and photographic
     opportunities abound.

     For information on archeology, visit SEAC

BASIC VISIT RECOMMENDATIONS:
     Plan your visit to the park by stopping at one of the visitor centers or writing ahead to obtain information. Also be sure
     to acquire safety information/tips pertaining to your planned activity, especially if you are not familiar with the area.

SPECIAL EVENTS, PROGRAMS:
     The park holds a variety of annual events, including Old Timers' Day, storytelling, a quilt show, Women's Work,
     Mountain Life Festival, sorghum molasses and apple butter making, as well as living history demonstrations.

VISITOR IMPACTS:
     In winter during hazardous weather conditions, the two main roads will close. Do not leave valuables in your car.
     Adhere to Park rules and regulations.

ADJACENT VISITOR ATTRACTIONS:
     There are many and quite a variety of visitor attractions. Contact area Chambers of Commerce.

EDUCATION OPPORTUNITIES:
     The Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont is a year-round residential environmental education center in the
     Smokies which offers workshops and programs for everyone, from grade school children to Eldershostel groups and
     teachers. Programs may include hiking, slide shows on flora and fauna, mountain music, living history, and wildlife
     demonstrations. A fee is charged. For more information, call (423) 448-6709.

     The Smoky Mountain Field School offers weekend workshops, hikes, and adventures for adults throughout the year. In
     cooperation with the National Park Service and University of Tennessee, experts in the fields of Smoky Mountain flora
     and fauna lead programs. A fee is charged. For more information call 1(800) 284-8885.

FRIENDS OF THE GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK
     Organized in 1993 to help the park through direct funding and outside financial support, the Friends operate under a
     cooperative agreement with the National Park Service. Dedicated to restoring, preserving and enhancing the park, their
     partnership provides needed help in the current fiscal atmosphere. To contact Friends of the Great Smoky Mountains
     National Park write them at 134 Court Avenue, Sevierville, TN 37862, or call (423)436-2428.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:
     Obtain a $.25 copy of the park newspaper, Smokies Guide. It offers current information on interpretive programs and
     services. It is available at visitor centers and campgrounds or write Great Smoky Mountains National Park, 107 Park
     Headquarters Road, Gatlinburg, TN 37738. A sales publication catalog listing books, videos, maps, guides, and more is
     available from Great Smoky Mountains Natural History Association by writing 115 Park Headquarters Road,
     Gatlinburg, TN 37738. Items are also available for sale at the visitor centers. Visit the Online Bookstore.

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