Great Smoky Mountains National Park preserves a rich cultural tapestry of Southern Appalachian history. The mountains have had a long human history spanning thousands of years—from the prehistoric Paleo Indians to early European settlement in the 1800s to loggers and Civilian Conservation Corps enrollees in the 20th century.The park strives to protect the historic structures, landscapes, and artifacts that tell the varied stories of people who once called these mountains home.
From black bears to salamanders. Old-growth forests to spring wildflowers. Log cabins to grist mills. Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers a myriad of opportunities for exploring and discovering both the natural and cultural history of these ancient mountains.
With over 9 million visitors each year, roads in the park can become congested, especially on weekends in summer and fall. But with careful planning, you can avoid the crowds and find some solitude.
At 480 feet, Fontana Dam, located on the southwestern boundary of the park, is the tallest concrete dam east of the Rocky Mountains. The dam impounds the Little Tennessee River forming Fontana Lake and produces hydroelectric power.
Operated by the nonprofit Great Smoky Mountains Association, proceeds generated by purchases at the store are donated to educational, scientific, and historical projects in the park.