The Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s entrance, located in Cherokee, NC, lets you access the 520,000-acre national park that straddles the North Carolina/Tennessee border.
Created in 1934 and opened in 1940, the park has a new visitor center on the North Carolina side, located at 1194 Newfound Gap Road, Cherokee, NC 28719 (2 miles north of Cherokee on U.S. 441).
Museum exhibits at the Oconaluftee Visitor Center tell the story of life in these mountains from the Native Americans and early European settlement time periods through the Civilian Conservation Corp and the development of the national park.
The adjacent Mountain Farm Museum contains a fascinating collection of log structures including a farmhouse, barn, smokehouse, apple house, corn cribs and others. Demonstrations of farm life are conducted seasonally.
Variations in elevation, rainfall, temperature, and geology provide ideal habitats for over 1,600 species of flowering plants, including over 200 native tree species and shrub species.
The park also boasts a diverse wildlife. Protected in the park are some 65 species of mammals, over 200 varieties of birds, 67 native fish species, and more than 80 types of reptiles and amphibians. This includes an estimated 1,500 black bears and a small herd of elk.
Fishing is allowed in the 1,073 miles of fish-bearing streams with a North Carolina or Tennessee fishing license.
For detailed information and regulations: www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/fishing.htm or call (865) 436-1200.
Learn more about Great Smoky Mountains National Park here: www.nps.gov/grsm/learn/index.htm