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Great Smoky Mountains National Park sign

5 Fun Facts About The Great Smoky Mountains

November 9, 2022

The Great Smoky Mountains are a must-see tourist destination known for their picturesque nature views and abundant wildlife. Whether you’ve visited once or 50 times, get to know this iconic landmark a little better before you go again. Here are 5 fun facts about the Great Smoky Mountains:

1. They Are Old Timers

As you’re looking out at the Smoky Mountains and their breathtaking beauty, it will surprise you to discover that this mountain range is estimated to be between 200 and 300 million years old. This makes it one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world! On the other hand, The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a lot younger as it was established in 1934. The mountains themselves show no age as the beauty remains timeless. It is no surprise that visitors come back to see it again and again.

2. They Are Named the “Salamander Capital of the World”

salamander in the Smoky MountainsAs you are hiking in the Smoky Mountains, you can see a variety of wildlife including black bears, elk, and white-tailed deer. If you look even harder, you might be able to catch a glimpse of one of the smaller residents, a salamander. The Great Smoky Mountains are home to over 30 different species of salamanders. If you want to increase your chances of seeing them, hike over to Grotto Falls. The cool climate makes this spot an ideal habitat for salamanders.

3. The Temperature Changes At Higher Elevations

Something to keep in mind as you are hiking in the Smoky Mountains is that the temperature can change depending on the elevation. More specifically, the temperature will drop as you go higher up. The temperature on top of Mount LeConte, the third-highest peak in the Smokies, rarely goes above 80 degrees. If you plan on hiking at these high points, it is a good idea to bring a jacket with you no matter what season it is. You can tie it around your waist for easy access. That way, if you suddenly need it, you won’t have to dig around in your bag.

4. The Smoky Mountains Are Smoky

fog in the Smoky MountainsWhere do the Great Smoky Mountains get their name from? The smokiness doesn’t come from fire. Instead, it is created by millions of plants in the area that release a blue fog into the air. This fog is referred to as a volatile organic compound or VOC for short. This unique trait prompted the Cherokee Indians to refer to the mountains as “Shaconage,” which means “place of blue smoke.”

5. The Most Visited National Park

More than 12 million visitors come to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park each year, making it the most visited park in North America! People love to breathe in the fresh mountain air and see the gorgeous views from Clingmans Dome observation tower! Come and see everything that the Smokies have to offer! You won’t be disappointed!

We hope you enjoyed these fun facts about the Great Smoky Mountains! We would love to provide you with a cozy place to stay when you come to see this iconic landmark in person. Start planning your trip by exploring all of our Pigeon Forge luxury cabins and their amenities to find the perfect one for your vacation.