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America’s Most Visited National Park

By Linda Tancs

There are lots of reasons to visit Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Hikers love the 800 miles of maintained trails. There’s also fishing, camping, picnicking and auto touring. And, oh, the bears–1,500 live in the park; that’s nearly two per square mile. You can view them handily from Cades Cove, one of the most popular destinations in the Great Smokies for wildlife viewing. The Great Smoky Mountains are also known as the “Wildflower National Park,” boasting over 1,500 varieties and year-round blooms. You might think that, given its popularity, the biggest population of vertebrates in the park is the human variety. Not so. Thirty species of salamander roam the park at elevations up to 3,000 feet. That’s why they call it the “Salamander Capital of the World.” , The tallest mountains in the Appalachian chain, the Smokies host five forest types giving way to enviable biological diversity–and human history. No wonder it’s America’s most visited national park. Located in the east Tennessee region and straddling the border with North Carolina, you can easily access the park via Gatlinburg.

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