Smoky Mountains, also known as The Great Smoky Mountains, are a series of big mountains standing together at the border of Tennessee and North Carolina situated in the southeastern part of The United States. The Great Smoky Mountains are sometimes called Smokies in short by the locals.
These mountains were originally formed from the extended parts of the Appalachian Mountains. For many years the Great Smoky Mountains have been the place for great tourist attraction as it features a beautiful mountain range and a national park associated with it.
Why is it Called the “Smoky” Mountains?
The name Smokey was given by the native people because of the blue smoke that covers the mountains. The first settlers of the mountain area were the Euro-American Cherokee people. They discovered that the mountains featured a beautiful array of blue smoke and started calling the mountains the Great Smoky Mountains. The “great” part was added by the natives to symbolize the massiveness of the mountains.
The beautiful fog-like smoke surrounding the mountains is created by the plants of that mountain area. They release different organic compounds, which makes the blue smoke. This smoke is not harmful to any living being; rather, it increases the mountain’s beauty thousand fold.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The greatest attraction besides the beautiful blue smoke in the great smoky mountains is the Great Smoky Mountains National Park that is situated in the heart of the mountains. This Park covers both states Tennessee and North Carolina, as the border of the two states runs through the middle of the National Park. Established in 1934, the National Park has since been visited by tens of millions of tourists every year. This Park has been ranked as number one as the most visited National Park in the United States of America. In recent years the Great Smoky Mountains National Park has become a major spot for tourist attractions and an economic powerhouse for the local community.
This National Park has two visitors’ centers within Park. They are Sugarland Visitors center and Oconaluftee Visitor Center. There is also a ranger station that features a wildlife, geology, and history exhibition. There is also a shop that sells books and souvenirs in the Great Smoky Mountains.
Tourists can go on hiking through the big mountains, sightseeing the beautiful scenery of the smoky mountains. Fly fishing is also an exotic attraction of the National Park that the tourists can enjoy. The Park also offers horseback riding, bicycling, and water tubing through the smoky mountains. There is also a fireflies showcase from late May to early June.
Recent COVID-19 situation
Similar to all the other institutions, the Great Smoky Mountains also took a hit in the time of the Covid-19 pandemic. The mountains visit, and the Great Smoky Mountain National Park was closed when nationwide quarantine was announced. But since February 2021, the National Park with most of its features has been opened for the tourists. But strict rules are given by the authority for the tourists to maintain in this post-pandemic situation. The national park authority has advised all the visitors that wearing a mask is absolutely necessary when entering and staying inside the national Park. Tourists will have to wear masks all of the time while remaining there. Secondly, the tourists are advised to maintain social distance as much as possible. While some attraction in the National Park renders it impossible to maintain social distancing, tourists are to try their best to maintain social distancing as much as they can. The public health department of the National Park has also advised the tourists to wash their hands from time to time as it has proven to be effective in being safe from the Covid-19 virus.
How to Be an Ideal Tourist
As the national parks have been opened to the public after the pandemic has died down a little, it is actually the duty of a tourist to maintain proper etiquette when visiting a national park or other similar places. Here are some of the common etiquettes that you can to prove yourself as an ideal traveler.
- Different places have different rules for both the pandemic and other cases. So, a good tourist should know and learn the rules beforehand, which are to be maintained while visiting any tourist spot.
- A tourist should be prepared to face any inconveniences in the National Park as the national parks just started reopening, and some attractions inside the national Park may stay closed. It might be caused by various reasons. Maybe the Park is understaffed because of the pandemic, or maybe the place has been closed for such a long time that it may need to be renovated.
- Tourists should keep it in their minds that not all the businesses that were running before the pandemic will still be running in this post-pandemic world. Many businesses have shut down or moved to other places because of the pandemic. So, a tourist has to understand that he might not find adequate hotels or restaurants or shops in the adjacent areas of the National Park even if they existed before the pandemic.
- Finally, as a tourist you should never travel if you have a sickness of any kind. You should stay at home if you are sick until you recover. Remember that you can always travel when you are healthy, but sound health comes first. So, tourists must ensure that they are healthy when they are traveling.
Is the Place Open for Tourists?
The simple answer is yes. The Great Smoky Mountains and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park are open for tourists every day of the week. But there are some places inside the Park that are temporarily closed in winters, such as the secondary roads, campgrounds, picnic areas, visitor center, and the historic grist mills. Other than that, all other attractions within the mountains and the Park are open for everyone.
Tourists are sure to have a pleasant time strolling in the mountains, watching the beautiful mountain scenery, and enjoy partaking in the various activities within the National Park of The Great Smoky Mountains.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Masks Required In Smoky Mountains?
face masks became a requirement in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Face masks are now required in all park buildings, including visitor centers, historic buildings and gift shops.
Why Is 441 Gatlinburg Closed?
Newfound Gap Road (Hwy 441) is closed from Gatlinburg to Cherokee until further notice due to landslides and down trees.
Is Smoky Mountain Open Today?
All primary roads in the Smoky Mountains are open year-round, weather permitting. Those roads are: Newfound Gap Road, Little River Road and the Cades Cove Loop Road. … Cades Cove Loop Road – Open daily from 8 a.m. until sunset.
Is Gatlinburg TN Safe?
With a crime rate of 55 per one thousand residents, Gatlinburg has one of the highest crime rates in America compared to all communities of all sizes – from the smallest towns to the very largest cities. One’s chance of becoming a victim of either violent or property crime here is one in 18.