Though modern gadgetries could be found throughout, Railsback likened the Cades Cove campground to a neighborhood from half a century ago. Provided by NPS.

Six weeks in the Park—Part 2: Camp walks

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. At this Great Smoky Mountains National Park apartment that I call Second Acts, dusk is the time for camp walks. The stream of cars leaving Cades Cove Loop

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This illustration of Redmond's capture was featured in "The True Life of Maj. Redmond, the Notorious Outlaw and Moonshiner."

Lewis Redmond, the ‘King of the Moonshiners’

No one was more responsible for the romantic image of the moonshiner than Lewis Redmond. His story was chronicled in newspapers including the New York Times and the Atlanta Constitution, the National Police Gazette (a periodical geared toward the curious public), a short book entitled The True Life of Maj.

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Letters from the Smokies

New book features letters from park archives

Most people come to Great Smoky Mountains National Park for its scenic vistas, waterfalls, and wildlife—seeking an escape to the great outdoors. But there are also wonders to discover indoors when you visit the Collections Preservation Center on the peaceful side of the Smokies in Townsend, Tennessee. Here, unbeknownst to

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Clingmans Dome ramp

Welcoming fall at the top of the Smokies

Editor’s note: In 2022, the Tribal Council of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians unanimously supported a resolution to restore the name Kuwohi to the mountain presently known as Clingmans Dome. In light of a forthcoming application to the US Board of Geographic Names, which maintains the authority to officially

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Foggy morning at Cable Mill in Cades Cove.

Six Weeks in the Park—Part 1: Second Acts

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 live at a place called Second Acts, in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. You will not find Second Acts on a map; this is the name

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The new logo for the Museum of the Cherokee People brings a contemporary edge and palette to the museum’s water spider icon originally taken from a Mississippian-period shell gorget carving. The new logo was created by Designer Tyra Maney (Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, Diné). Image courtesy Museum of the Cherokee People.

Cherokee museum rebrands for inclusive future

Nestled within the Smokies is one of the country’s oldest tribal museums. Located on the Qualla Boundary, in Cherokee, North Carolina, the tribal museum of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians has a new, vibrant look. While this fresh branding may feel ultra-modern, its inspiration is anything but. These colors

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Tremont to host Writing the Appalachians forum October 28

Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont is pleased to announce Writing the Appalachians, an evening of literary exploration, held Saturday, October 28, at Maryville College’s Clayton Center. The public forum brings Pulitzer Prize-winning author Richard Powers together with authors Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle, Janet McCue, and Frank X Walker to share

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On Thursday, October 26, the Safe Passage Fund Coalition will host a free film screening at Asheville’s Pléb Urban Winery presenting the short documentaries Cascade Crossroads and Critter Crossings in the Cascades. Members of the Safe Passage group dedicated to improving wildlife-crossing opportunities along I-40 in the Pigeon River Gorge hope to draw lessons and inspiration from the films following the progress of similar efforts in Washington’s Cascade Range.

Safe Passage film fest highlights road ecology

One of the great benefits and privileges of exploring Western North Carolina and East Tennessee is the opportunity to see a diverse array of wildlife wherever you go. But whether you live here or are just passing through, chances are you’ll mostly be watching the spectacle from behind a windshield.

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Recent Posts

Photo courtesy of Joye Ardyn Durham

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