The “Sisters of the Woods”— (from left) Phyllis Woollen , Jana Plemmons, Katie Ray and Judy Dykes—celebrate completing the 100 Favorite Trails of the Smokies and Carolina Blue Ridge map at Moore Cove Falls near Brevard, North Carolina. Photo provided by Anne Glover.

Sisters of the Woods

You get to know a lot about a person if you hike 672 miles with them, especially when you climb almost 30 miles in elevation while doing it. From the Great Smoky Mountains, that’s more than enough miles to get you to Chicago or Philadelphia. It’s also ample distance to

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A pair of house finches perches in a redbud tree. Photo provided by N. Lewis/National Park Service.

A grand performance: Spring is prime time for Smokies birdwatchers

As the days grow warmer and the landscape ripples with color, a growing treetop chorus drives the message home—spring is here, and new life is thriving. The show begins sometime in March, as hatching insects and growing plants allow the hardy songbird species that have braved winter in the Smokies

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After baffling the specialists for its stubborn nonconformity to ID keys, this fly was identified as Lepidodexia hirculus, a species previously reported only in Texas, with help from the worldwide community of fly specialists. Photo provided by Will Kuhn/DLiA.

Fly specialists converge to name hundreds of Smokies specimens

Two decades ago, thousands of flies, bugs, and beetles met their end in insect traps set up at 11 sites around Great Smoky Mountains National Park, part of a still-young effort to catalogue every species found within the park’s 800 square miles. From there, the insects were taken to the

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Unlike other pussytoe species, the solitary pussytoe has only one flowering head on each stalk. Provided by Holly Kays.

When spring comes into focus

The stream of flowers is mere inches from my face, but I see nothing remarkable as I peer through the camera lens. A bed of brown leaves, beaten down from months of freeze and thaw. A smattering of twigs and protruding rocks. Occasional pockets of moss, a rare shot of

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Volunteers ensure veterans buried in the Smokies are never forgotten

Since 2020, Marilyn Childress, a US Navy veteran and president of the Veterans Heritage Site Foundation in Knoxville, Tennessee, has organized Wreaths Across America in Great Smoky Mountains National Park—working to ensure the names of veterans buried in the park are spoken aloud each year. “We have a saying that

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Wild blue phlox (pictured), fire pink, purple wakerobin and yellow trillium are among the many colorful flowers in bloom throughout Great Smoky Mountains National Park in mid-to-late April. Eco-Adventurers can expect to see these and many more wildflowers along the trail on the April 21-23 excursions. Photo provided by Ralph Daily.

‘Gradient of spring’ offers opportunity for exploration

By the third week of April, spring is in full bloom throughout the picturesque valleys of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. In these lower elevations, trails burst with color—blue phlox, yellow trillium, fire pink, purple wakerobin—vibrant and vivid, like a palette of paints beneath a canopy canvas of white dogwood.

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Tremont Writers Conference returns October 23–27

Walker Valley near Townsend, Tennessee, is one of the most strikingly beautiful havens of biodiversity in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Nestled here just beside the Middle Prong of the Little River and not far from the impressive Spruce Flats Falls, Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont has been connecting

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Recent Posts

Photo courtesy of Joye Ardyn Durham

The “Sisters of the Woods”— (from left) Phyllis Woollen , Jana Plemmons, Katie Ray and Judy Dykes—celebrate completing the 100 Favorite Trails of the Smokies and Carolina Blue Ridge map at Moore Cove Falls near Brevard, North Carolina. Photo provided by Anne Glover.

Sisters of the Woods

You get to know a lot about a person if you hike 672 miles with them, especially when you climb almost 30 miles in elevation

Read More >

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
December

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

Contact

865.436.7318 Ext 320