Blue Ridge artist Tray Wellington builds bridges with bluegrass

The North Carolina-based artist Tray Wellington is a rising star of contemporary bluegrass. In 2019, he won the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Momentum Instrumentalist of the Year award, and in both 2022 and 2023 he was a finalist for the association’s New Artist of the Year award. Photo by Rob Laughter, courtesy of the artist.

Late last month, I was lucky enough to catch a special musical performance in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It was a fine morning in high summer, and on the back porch of the Oconaluftee Visitor Center near Cherokee, North Carolina, a four-piece string band launched into the first swirling notes of an original composition. […]

Echoes in the mountains: The next generation

Images by Phoebe Carnes The early morning mist had just dissipated as the sun began to rise over the mountains. The Oconaluftee River was clear and cold, rejuvenated from a light shower the previous night. A cow watched me warily from the forest, ears up and nostrils twitching as she deciphered my scent. A fuzzy […]

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