The US national parks are popular among tourists and outdoor enthusiasts and generally remain packed to the brim with travelers, flocking from around the world. Located in the eastern US, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one such outdoor haven. Spanning 522,427 acres, it’s one of the largest national parks in the region. But despite its size, the roadways and trails of the park can feel overcrowded, especially with summer hordes. But you can dodge the crowds if you know when and where to go and stay.
The Best Time
Depending on your elevation, temperatures can vary greatly within the park. The weather is temperate in the spring when the park hosts an annual wildflower festival. Summer brings humidity and touristy crowds into the park. Fall, with a colorful show of fiery foliage, and winter are the best seasons to visit the national parks.
The Best Place
The Cades Cove Campground in the park dates back to the mid-1800s, and now is a historic district boasting beautifully restored barns, churches, and split-log cabins. The campground also features a range of amenities like picnic tables, flush toilets, drinking water, bicycle rentals, etc. The Black Fox Lodge in Pigeon Forge offers cozy rooms with epic views and an in-house restaurant to satiate a traveler’s hiker hunger. To get away from the crowds, camp nearby John Oliver Place, one of the oldest and most tranquil cabins in the park.
The Best Trail
Taking off the beaten path is always the best approach to avoid crowds and experience something unusual. The area is full of such trails and routes. Go for a scenic drive to the Newfound Gap, which offers a quintessential view of the Smoky Mountains over the wooded hilltops. Or enjoy the quiet of the Smokies hiking along the lonely wooded trails like Baxter Creek Trail, shrouded in fog and greenery.