The Great Smoky Mountains are a place full of history and all kinds of amazing creatures and places. If you’ve ever been here before, you may have learned a lot about the area. We want to share some things you may not know about the Smokies with you. Here are 5 things you may not know about the Great Smoky Mountains:
1. There are multiple entrances.
The most popular way to get into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is through the Sugarland entrance by driving in Gatlinburg. This is the most used way to get in the national park, but it is not the only way to get in the national park in Tennessee. On the north side of the park, there’s an entrance in Townsend on TN 73. This entrance is less busy than the Sugarland entrance and is perfect for people who want to visit Cades Cove or the little mountain shops along the way. The least used entrance is in Wears Valley and provides great access to Cades Cove and Newfound Gap.
2. The Great Smoky Mountains are the Salamander Capital of the World.
The Great Smoky Mountains are known for black bears and many other types of wildlife. But did you know the national park is known as the salamander capital of the world? More than 30 species of salamanders live in the national park, which is the largest grouping of these animals in the world. More than 20 species are lungless, meaning they take in oxygen and release carbon dioxide through their skin instead of lungs. You’re likely to find salamanders in and alongside creeks, under rocks, and other cool dark places.
3. Clingmans Dome is the highest point in the mountains.
Many of the mountains in the Great Smoky Mountains stand taller than 6,000 feet. The tallest point in the national park is Clingmans Dome. It stands at 6,643 feet, providing guests with an incredible view of the mountains. On a clear day, you can see over 100 miles away. Clingmans Dome is also the tallest point along the Appalachian Trail.
4. The first settler was a woman.
Many people believe William Ogle was the first settler in the Great Smoky Mountains. Ogle was the first man to build a home in the national park, but he died before he could finish and move his family. So his wife, Martha Jane Huskey Ogle, finished building their home and moved their children. Their home was originally in the area of Gatlinburg, but their cabin has been moved to Cades Cove so people can see how pioneers lived.
5. More than 70 historic structures have been preserved.
The Great Smoky Mountains are home to the largest collection of preserved homes and buildings. Most of these buildings are in Cades Cove, including the Ogle cabin we talked about previously. There are quite a few other homesteads, which include barns and cabins. There’s also a grist mill, smokehouse, and other historic buildings. You’ll also find structures along the Roaring Fork Motor Trail.
Now you know a little more about the Great Smoky Mountains. Want to know more about the area before you stay with us? Find out more about Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains!