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Great Smoky Mountains



Top 3: Better in Winter

What off season? Bundle up and reap the benefits of colder weather in these snowy playgrounds.

Smokies Adventure Guide (2012 National Parks Series: Part 5 of 6)

Leave it to our seasoned map contributors to find solitude in America's most-visited park. This exclusive trip planner serves up routes guaranteed to get you off the tourist trail and into deep wilderness.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Chimney Tops via Newfound Gap

Follow fern-lined trails to scramble up a rocky pinnacle.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Maddron Bald Loop

Pass waterfalls, cross empty peaks, and visit monster-size trees.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Mid-Smokies Circuit

String together the Appalachian, Benton MacKaye, and Mountains-to-Sea Trails for a 48-mile instant classic that hits the park's best views and backcountry campsites.

The Other Way In

Hike to life-list hot spots without waiting in life-list lines. These under-the-radar trails deliver everything but the crowds.

National Parks: Great Smoky Mountains

For guaranteed solitude in the park's southwest reaches, explore this quiet loop during the off-season.

Going to Extremes

Can you ever really have too much of a good thing? Once you've seen the biggest tree, largest glacier, and deepest canyon, nothing else compares.

Get Higher: Best Firetower Hikes

For sheltered scenery high above the trees, there's no better place than a fire tower. Try one of these editor-approved hikes to backcountry rooms with a view.

Rip & Go: Thunderhead Loop

Hike from forest floor to a rocky ridge linking twin summits in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Rip & Go: Big Creek Loop

Hike from a wildlife-choked river valley to soaring mountain views.

Readers' Choice: Appalachians

Your favorite parks, weekend getaways, peak ascents, campsites, and more in the Appalachians.

National Parks Center

We've collected the best hikes, most amazing photos, and mind-blowing videos for the ultimate National Park planning center. Get inspired and get hiking now!

National Parks Hall of Fame: Best Wildflowers

Smelling the flowers doesn't require slowing down your trek (though you might want to) through the explosion of wildflowers that cover the Great Smoky Mountains each year.

Gear Checklist: Great Smoky Mountains National Park

From the deep wooded hollows to the lofty Appalachian summits prepare for rain (Clingmans Dome, the park's high point, averages 85 inches each year), humidity, rapidly varying weather conditions, and lots of creek crossings. Here's what you'll need.

Perfect Substitutes: Crowd-Free Destinations

You know that the big-name parks draw big-time crowds. But each of those outdoor icons has a lesser-known replacement that offers some of the same classic features and epic scenery–and you get it all to yourself.

How to Score Denali's Choicest Permits

The system was rigged, says a former ranger. Here's how to beat it.

Denali National Park

Hike with grizzlies in this remote northern corner of Alaska's greatest park.

Yellowstone National Park

America's first national park is a playground for grizzlies, wolves, moose, and hikers (not in that order).

Olympic National Park

Explore two ecosystems in this hinterland of moss-draped forests, ancient trees, and snowcapped peaks.

How to Light a Campfire in the Smokies

Trees, trees are everywhere, but sometimes there isn't a dry twig in sight.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Graze blueberry patches, explore swimming holes, and tag the South's high points on this sultry hike.

How Your Kid Can Save a Park

Send him out on a work trip. Let wilderness do the rest.

Grand Canyon National Park

Drop into America's belly on a little-known hike that dips in and out of four different canyons, each blessed with gurgling spring water.

Yosemite National Park

Climb classic Sierra passes, ogle granite monoliths, and camp above treeline in John Muir's second home.

Glacier National Park

Scramble up class III peaks and cross late summer snowfields on this strenuous but straightforward trip through Montana's big-mountain country.

National Parks Lifelist: Intro



National Parks Lifelist

The ultimate vacation in one of America's iconic parks requires the ultimate hiking plan: classic scenery, no crowds, and secret campsites. Here's how to spend a perfect week in Glacier, Yosemite, Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Olympic, Denali, and the Great Smoky Mountains.

National Park Vacation Planners: 3D Videos and Downloadable Beta

3-D hike videos, complete trip planner pdfs, our interactive ParkFinder tool, and more.

Weekend Adventures: Big Tree Hikes

Get ready to feel puny--and profoundly grateful--on three hikes through ancient forests.

Essential National Park Skills: The Ultimate Park Pass

Write your own ticket to new adventures with these 10 territory-expanding skills.

America's Hardest Dayhikes

Push yourself on any of these challenging hikes

High Points: Clingmans Dome, Tennessee

A downright goofy dome marks this highpoint.

Fall Hiking at Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Mellow temperatures, low water and autumn colors make for a perfect time in the Smokies

Secrets Hikes Of Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Can a place that sees 9 million visitors a year really have any surprises? You bet. We found three hikes full of unexpected history, scenery, and solitude.

Best Dayhikes In America

With strong legs and an ambitious plan, you can see more wild country in 12 hours than some backpackers see in a week, and still make it home in time for dinner.

Best Backpacking In Tennessee

Our comprehensive guide to the best backpacking you can find in Tennessee.

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