¿Lees Español? Bilingual Storybook Trails have arrived in the Smokies for the summer

three kids at the Storybook Trail of the Smokies

The Storybook Trail of the Smokies is back, and this year, the popular self-guided outdoor education series is bringing both English and Spanish reading opportunities to new trails in the park and beyond. Great Smoky Mountains Association recently partnered with the City of Gatlinburg, the Sevier County School System, and Great Smoky Mountains National Park […]

What happens when we relocate box turtles?

eastern box turtle

My neighbor has a special affinity for turtles. For years, whenever he saw a box turtle on the highway or crossing a secondary road, he would not just move it off the pavement, he would put it into his truck, take it home to his large, old farm property in East Tennessee, and there release […]

Terry Maddox leaves enduring legacy

Steve Kemp, Kent Cave, and Terry Maddox were colleagues working together in the realms of GSMA and the National Park Service during an important period of growth for the association. The trio gathered in September 2022 to share memories of their experiences as GSMA prepared for its 70th year of service to the National Park Service in 2023. Provided by Great Smoky Mountains Association.

The holiday spirit was tinged with sadness for many longtime park friends and supporters upon hearing that retired Great Smoky Mountains Association executive director Terry Maddox had passed away peacefully in his sleep on December 21, 2022. He was 73 years old. The forward-thinking and tenacious Maddox led Great Smoky Mountains Association (GSMA) for nearly […]

Finding and embracing the magicalness within

Just say, “Yes.” As the 2022 Steve Kemp Writer in Residence, that’s been my philosophy whenever opportunities have been presented for a new experience in Great Smoky Mountains National Park…

When the student becomes the teacher

Xavier's family gets to work gently unstacking rocks and returning them to the creek. Photo by Sue Wasserman.

The more you know, the more you care, the better you can do. It’s a naïve thought, but it’s what I choose to believe, especially in my capacity as Great Smoky Mountains Association’s 2022 Steve Kemp Writer in Residence. I shared this thought with an Illinois family I met on a late summer hike to […]

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