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More People Visited the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in 2016 Than Ever Before

The entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

2016 was a record setting year for the Smokies! Over 11 million people visited the Great Smoky Mountains National Park last year. According to the National Park Service, the official count for park visitors in 2016 was 11,312,785 people. This marks a 5.6 percent increase compared to 2015.

Here at Aunt Bug’s Cabin Rentals, we are thrilled that more people are finding out about everything the Smoky Mountains have to offer. To help you prepare for your next vacation, we have put together a guide to some of our favorite things to do in the national park.

Hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Hiking is one of the most popular activities in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. With over 800 miles of trails to explore, there is virtually endless hiking opportunities in the Smokies. Whether you’re looking for an easy hike that is less than a mile long, or a challenging 14 mile trek, you are sure to find the perfect trail for your interests and ability. Best of all, there is no admission fee to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, so you can enjoy all of the beautiful trails for free!

A little while ago, the National Park Service released a list of the top five most popular hikes in the Smokies. The top trails are:

  • The Appalachian Trail
  • Abrams Falls Trail
  • Laurel Falls Trail
  • Alum Cave Trail
  • Trillium Gap/Grotto Falls Trail

 

(See Also: Everything You Need to Know Before Taking a Winter Hike in the Smoky Mountains)

Scenic Drives in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Stunning views from Newfound Gap Road in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

If you’re not a fan of hiking, there are still many opportunities to enjoy the majesty of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park! One of our favorite ways to see the park is by taking a scenic drive through the mountains. Auto touring allows visitors to take in the area’s natural beauty while staying in the comfort of their car.

Some of the best places to go for a drive in the Smokies include:

  • Newfound Gap Road
  • Cades Cove Loop Road
  • Upper Tremont Road
  • Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail (closed during the winter)

 

Picnicking in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Having a picnic is another one of the most popular things to do in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. What could be better than digging into some tasty sandwiches and salads while you’re immersed in the area’s magnificent scenery? Like auto touring, having a picnic doesn’t require any physical exertion, so it’s an activity that the youngest and oldest visitors to the national park can enjoy.

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is home to a number of wonderful picnic areas, including:

  • Cades Cove
  • Greenbrier
  • Metcalf Bottoms

 

Chairs on the deck of a cabin with mountain views.When you stay with Aunt Bug’s Cabin Rentals, you will be just a short drive from all of the fun in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. With everything from 1 bedroom cabins to 8 bedroom cabins, we are sure to have the perfect property for your vacation. To start planning your next getaway, browse our selection of Smoky Mountain cabin rentals!

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About Jason Fishman

Jason Fishman is a writer and editor specializing in history, dining, travel and tourism. In his spare time, he enjoys science fiction, breakfast food and bad puns. To read his latest vacation tips, click the Google+ follow button below!