Participation high for third year of Cherokee sochan gathering in park

Gathering sochan or green-headed coneflower is a sacred family tradition that connects the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians to their heritage. A new agreement with Great Smoky Mountains National Park recognizes and honors the Tribe’s historical ties and cultural knowledge with respect to the land. Photo courtesy of GSMA.

While the word “harvest” usually brings autumn to mind, spring is the time of year for harvesting sochan. Also known as green-headed coneflower, sochan plays an important role in the cultural heritage of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, who gathered food and medicine directly from the land in the Great Smoky Mountains long before […]

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