Free to enter – no entry fee required!
This weekend I visited Gatlinburg, TN with my buddy Lalan, a first time trip for him…which you know I love from my last recent post on Human Net Worth. We did a couple awesome hikes while we were in town for the day and also experienced a great BBQ joint, Bennett’s after our hike up Alum Cave Bluffs. What a great trip!
The only National Park without a fee?
To my knowledge, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the only National Park that does not have an entrance fee to get within the park gates. Let me know if you find anything that does not support this claim, but regardless it is quite awesome to see it always has the funding it needs. They rely solely on donations, so do not forget to drop some cash in the various donation boxes!
Alum Cave Bluffs Hike
This hike winds along a babbling brook as it gains elevation and later turns towards the mountain. You first pass under arch rock as you start to climb quite a large series of steps. Following the meandering trail and beautiful scenery you finally get to a steep section with many stairs…and there you are, at the cave overlooking the valley below! Do not rush too fast or you may miss the mountainside with a hole you can see through, let me know if you are able to find it or have seen it before.
After our Alum Cave Bluffs hike and some great BBQ, we set out back into the National Park to get to the highest point in Tennessee and also along the entire Appalachian Trail. At 6,643′ it is quite a way up in the clouds, which is cool as you experience clouds covering the mountain and moving about as you are at the peaks observation tower.
Fun Facts about the Great Smokys
- It is estimated the mountains in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park are between 200 and 300 million years old. GSMNP
- The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited in the national park system, bringing in about 8-10 million visitors each year. Cabin For You
- There’s Over 800 Miles of Trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Visit My Smokies
- The park consists of 522,419 acres. My Smoky Mountain Vacation
I hope you enjoyed the brief writeup on our one day experience in Great Smoky National Park. This just goes to show how much you can cram into a day, get up and get out there, folks!