Great Smokies Welcome Center

A warm Townsend welcome for the Great Smokies Welcome Center

A few short weeks ago, Great Smoky Mountains Association officially opened the Great Smokies Welcome Center—a new visitor center and retail space at 7929 E. Lamar Alexander Parkway in Townsend, Tennessee. In this new and expanded location, GSMA will provide information, educational materials, souvenirs, and other park-related goods to visitors

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The purple finch is a seasonal migrant only found in the Smokies through the winter season. It is often seen feeding on seeds high in treetops. Photo by Fred J. Alsop III.

Our winsome birds of winter

Whoever it was that first penned the classic holiday carol “The Twelve Days of Christmas” was clearly in love with a birder. Of the song’s twelve verses that describe gifts presented to a “true love” between Christmas Day and the day before Epiphany, or January 5, more than half are

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Stumpy the whistle pig. Provided by Brian Railsback.

Six weeks in the park—Part 5: Stumpy erit ultionem

Editor’s Note: This essay is part of a series written during Railback’s stay in the park from June 22 to August 4, 2023. I quietly stand in a corner of the main room of the Dan Lawson house on a hot afternoon in July, watching four barn swallow chicks pop their

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George Masa working with several cameras that represented state-of-the-art photographic technology in the early 1920s. Courtesy of the North Carolina Collection, Pack Memorial Library, Asheville, NC.

New database contributes to study of George Masa’s photography

Angelyn Whitmeyer might be the last person you would expect to contribute to ongoing research surrounding a Japanese photographer who found inspiration in the Great Smoky Mountains. And yet, the world is coming to know more about some sophisticated early images and an unlikely champion of Great Smoky Mountains National

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Six weeks in the park—Part 4: Bad looping

Editor’s Note: This essay is part of a series written during Railback’s stay in the park from June 22 to August 4, 2023. I try to bike Cades Cove Loop every day, but this afternoon I hesitate at the entrance. The line of vehicles extends from beyond the information kiosk to

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winter hiking in the Smokies

Dreaming of a snowy trailhead

I love snowy days in the woods! Wow, did I really just say that? There was a time when cold temperatures made me want to burrow into the blankets with a good book and a cup of cocoa refusing to emerge. But about 15 years ago, I started spending more

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Six weeks in the Park—Part 3: Good looping

Editor’s Note: This essay is part of a series written during Railback’s stay in the park from June 22 to August 4, 2023. Afternoons here are for looping. July days are hot and humid. I stick a water bottle in my pocket, put sunscreen on, strap on the helmet, and ride

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What we can learn from wild turkeys

If you plan to travel around Western North Carolina or East Tennessee to visit friends or family and eat turkey for the coming Thanksgiving holiday, there is a good chance you’ll spot a few wild turkeys along the way. Although sometimes we humans may call one another “turkey” as a

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GSMA Creative Director Frances Figart, 2023 Tremont Writers Conference cohort and author Janet McCue, and Michele Sons on the Middle Prong Trail. Provided by Michele Sons.

Saying yes to the Tremont Writers Conference

One of the participants shares her experience at the 2023 Tremont Writers Conference, held October 25-29 at Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont (GSMIT). Tremont Writers Conference is a joint creation of GSMIT and Great Smoky Mountains Association. After the conference, once the whirlwind of information, connection, and excitement had

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Recent Posts

Photo courtesy of Joye Ardyn Durham

The purple finch is a seasonal migrant only found in the Smokies through the winter season. It is often seen feeding on seeds high in treetops. Photo by Fred J. Alsop III.

Our winsome birds of winter

Whoever it was that first penned the classic holiday carol “The Twelve Days of Christmas” was clearly in love with a birder. Of the song’s

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