It’s not the most iconic, but you may be surprised to learn that the Great Smoky Mountains are the most visited National Park in the United States, more than doubling the annual visitor count of the next closest (Grand Canyon).
Located within North Carolina and Tennessee’s Blue Ridge Mountains, the Great Smoky Mountains are part of the Appalachian Mountain Chain and contain some of the highest peaks on the East Coast of the United States.
Known for it’s 800 miles of hiking trails, dozens of historic sites, beautiful vistas, and abundant waterfalls, the Great Smoky Mountains are partially so popular due to their accessible location: Atlanta, Charlotte, Nashville, Louisville, Cincinnati, Washington DC, Baltimore, and Jacksonville are all a comfortable drive away.
The most popular Great Smoky Park entrance is at Sugarlands Visitor Center at the north side of the park in Gatlinburg, TN. You’ll find some of the park’s most notable attractions (like Grotto Falls) nearby.