Great Smoky Mountains Association commits to funding national park visitor centers during federal government shutdown

During the extended government shutdown in October 2013, the public’s access to Great Smoky Mountains National Park was nearly non-existent. This time, however, if a government shutdown goes into effect at midnight on December 21, Great Smoky Mountains Association is committed to creating a different reality for park visitors during

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Great Smoky Mountains Association Announces New Writer’s Residency

Funded by GSMA, the Steve Kemp Writer’s Residency is designed to connect writers with the Smokies in meaningful ways and to inspire some of their best work. The program is named for 30-year GSMA veteran Steve Kemp, who retired in September 2017 after directing the publication of hundreds of books,

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The Big and Small of it

This month, my Experience Your Smokies class got another peek behind the curtain of park operations and traveled to Twin Creeks Science Center to fish out aquatic invertebrates. At park headquarters, we were greeted by park Superintendent Cassius Cash, Deputy Superintendent Clay Jordan, GSMA CEO Laurel Rematore, and Holly Scott

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Chestnut Branch Trail November 2018

Not far from the Big Creek entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a straightforward hiking trail where a streamside 1890s-era logging settlement and other signs of former inhabitants have long since been reclaimed by the forest. With my car parked in the lot sitting adjacent to the ranger

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Clingmans Dome Visitor Center to host public Open House

Before Clingmans Dome Road closes for the winter, Great Smoky Mountains Association invites all park visitors to an open house at the visitor center store in honor of the season. Due to normal national park seasonal procedures, Clingmans Dome Road and Clingmans Dome Visitor Center are typically closed to the

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EYS Exotics & Invasives: Larry and the Lady HWAs

If you’ve visited Clingmans Dome, Newfound Gap, or driven along U.S. 441 on a clear day, odds are you’ve seen patches of dead Eastern hemlocks and wondered how they met their demise. Most of these trees were killed (and are being killed) by a non-native insect called the Hemlock Woolly

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Finding solitude, wildflowers on park’s Quiet Walkways

While I usually do my level best not to add to the traffic congestion this time of year, midway through October I had a reason to travel from Gatlinburg to Cherokee for a family event. Starting out before daylight, the drive over turned out to be the most challenging part

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Recent Posts

Photo courtesy of Joye Ardyn Durham

The Big and Small of it

This month, my Experience Your Smokies class got another peek behind the curtain of park operations and traveled to Twin Creeks Science Center to fish

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