Photo by Joye Ardyn Durham

Explore the Smokies through classes, workshops and other events exclusive to
Smokies Life Park Keepers.

A Cherokee blackbelly salamander (Desmognathus gvnigeusgwotli) observed near Grotto Falls in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The salamander’s scientific name translates roughly to ‘black belly’ in the Cherokee language. Photo by Brian Gratwicke via iNaturalist, CC.

Sensational Salamanders

Grandma Gatewood's Walk

Tallamy and his lab at the University of Delaware ranked the plant genera in every county in the country in terms of their ability to support caterpillars. They discovered what they call the keystone species phenomenon: 14 percent of our native plants, like this white oak, are supporting 90 percent of the caterpillars. Provided by Katja Schulz.

Plant Diversity

Forest Bathing Guided Walk

Monarch Tagging

Monarch Tagging

Drawn to Nature: Art & Journaling Hike

Naturalist Ramble: Rich Mountain

Walker Sisters Cabin. Photo by Donald Miller.

Naturalist Ramble: Walker Sisters Cabin and Little Greenbrier School

Please be sure to fill out the event policy agreement form prior to participation.

Great Smokies

Welcome Center

Hours of Operation

(subject to change)

Open year round (closed December 25)

January - February

Open Daily 9:00 am - 4:30 pm

March - November

Open Daily 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

Open Daily 9:00 am - 4:30 pm

The Great Smokies Welcome Center is located on U.S. 321 in Townsend, TN, 2 miles from the west entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Visitors can get information about things to see and do in and around the national park and shop from a wide selection of books, gifts, and other Smokies merchandise. Daily, weekly, and annual parking tags for the national park are also available.

Physical Address

7929 E. Lamar Alexander Parkway Townsend TN 37882


865.436.7318 Ext 320