Some 100 species of native trees live in the Smokies, more than any other North American national park. There are also over 1,600 flowering plant species and at least 4,000 species of non-flowering plants.
And you won’t be enjoying all this beautiful nature alone. There are hundreds of species of animals living in the park, including a rare variety of lung-less salamander, more than 200 species of birds, 66 types of mammals, 50 native fish species, 39 varieties of reptiles and 43 species of amphibians, some of which are found nowhere else in the world.
The National Park Service has also reintroduced river otters, peregrine falcons and several species of fish and in recent years has also released herds of elk, which were eliminated from the park in the mid-1800s.
Within its 800-mile trail system, you’ll see the best the park has to offer whether you’re on a short nature trail or a longer backcountry hike. Some favorites are listed here.
This trail is frequently used by joggers, walkers and bicyclists and is one of two walking paths which visitors can walk dogs. The trail stretches 1.9 miles* from the Sugarlands Visitor Center to the outskirts
of the City of Gatlinburg. It is relatively flat and runs through the forest along side the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River.
The Forney Ridge Trail
A moderate 1.8 mile* trek taking you to the national park’s highest grassy bald, Andrews Bald.
At the end of this easy 1.3 mile* hike along a paved trail, you’ll see the breathtaking site of this double- drop falls.
Sugarlands Valley Nature Trail
Located near the Sugarlands Visitor Center, this level, paved, half-mile* trail winds through a forest and alongside a river.
For more information, park maps, guidebooks, handbooks and videos are available at the park bookstores and primary Gatlinburg visitor centers.