Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina and Tennessee


Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited national park in the United States. It straddles the Tennessee and North Carolina border and runs along the ridgeline of the Great Smoky Mountains. The Great Smoky Mountains are part of the Blue Ridge Mountains, which is a division of the Appalachian mountain chain.


The Cherokees originally lived in the area but were forced out by Andrew Jackson’s Indian Removal Act of 1830. A small group of Cherokees, led by warrior Tsali, hid out in the mountains to evade removal. Their descendants now live south of the park in the Qualla Boundary.


The Appalachian Trail runs through the park. The trail is 2150 miles long and crosses 14 states.


We drove along the Blue Ridge Parkway before heading into the park. We drove US Highway 441, also called the Newfound Gap Road, that bisects the park. The highlight of the drive is Newfound Gap at an elevation of 5048 feet.


We stopped in Gatlinburg, Tennessee after visiting the park. Gatlinburg is kind of a carnival of sorts with thousands of people along the main strip. We tried to avoid any crowds by visiting the shops early in the morning. We only had one thing in mind, moonshine. We visited Sugarlands Distilling and bought two bottles of flavored moonshine. We then hit up Ole Smoky Tennessee Moonshine Distillery and bought some Tennessee whiskey.


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