April 24

National Parks Week – The Great Smoky Mountains


For day three of our National Parks Week celebration, we’re giving a special salute to Great Smoky Mountains National Park!

[nzs_heading heading=”5″] You’ll want to live there the rest of your life [/nzs_heading]
Have you ever been to the Smokies? Dehn just had his first visit in January and he’s been dying to get back ever since. Like he put it, he got smoke in his eyes.

“Don’t let Smoky mountain smoke get in your eyes

If you do I’m tellin’ you

You’ll wan’t to live there the rest of your life

If Smoky mountain smoke gets in your eyes”

[nzs_heading heading=”5″] The Inaugural Great Smoky Mountain Half Marathon [/nzs_heading]
We’re so excited about the inaugural Great Smoky Mountains Half Marathon this September! Have you seen our promo video yet? You can register for the race here if you’re looking for an excuse to visit Tennessee this year.

Great Smoky Mountains Half Marathon Promo from Vacation Races on Vimeo.

[nzs_heading heading=”5″] a park created by the people [/nzs_heading]

During the early 1900s cut-and-run-style clearcutting was destroying the natural beauty of the Smokies, so visitors and locals banded together to raise money for preservation of the land. The U.S. National Park Service wanted a park in the eastern United States, but did not have much money to establish one. John D. Rockefeller, Jr., contributed $5 million, the U.S. government added $2 million, and private citizens from Tennessee and North Carolina pitched in to assemble the land for the park, piece by piece. This story, which is filled with generosity, is so beautiful to me.

During the Great Depression, the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Works Progress Administration, and other federal organizations made trails, fire watchtowers, and other infrastructure improvements to the park and Smoky Mountains.

[nzs_heading heading=”5″] The sights of the Great Smoky Mountains [/nzs_heading]
What’s the point of talking about a national park without talking it’s attractions? Here are some must-see places in the Great Smoky Mountains.

Cades Cove
cadescoveCades Cove is a broad, verdant valley surrounded by mountains and is one of the most popular destinations in the Great Smokies. It offers some of the best opportunities for wildlife viewing in the park. Large numbers of white-tailed deer are frequently seen, and sightings of black bear, coyote, ground hog, turkey, raccoon, skunk, and other animals are also possible.

Laurel Falls
laurelfallsLaurel Branch and the 80-foot high Laurel Falls are named for mountain laurel, an evergreen shrub which blooms along the trail and near the falls in May. The waterfall consists of an upper and a lower section, divided by a walkway which crosses the stream at the base of the upper falls. Laurel Falls is one of the most popular destinations in the park.

Clingmans Dome
ClingmansDomeAt 6,643 feet, Clingmans Dome is the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It is the highest point in Tennessee, and the third highest mountain east of the Mississippi. Only Mt. Mitchell (6,684 feet) and Mt. Craig (6,647), both located in Mt. Mitchell State Park in western North Carolina, rise higher. The observation tower on the summit of Clingmans Dome offers spectacular 360° views of the Smokies and beyond for visitors willing to climb the steep half-mile walk to the tower at the top.


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