The Smoky Mountains are home to over 14 million visitors a year
and with that many visitors come some common misconceptions about the area. Like snow, bear facts, traffic, and more. Below I will guide you to the truth behind some of these misconceptions.
Where can we see the bears?
Yes, our beloved Smokies are home to a robust population of American Black Bears – approximately 1,500 of these magnificent creatures roam freely. To maximize your chances of spotting them, venture out during dawn or dusk inside the national park. Bears are most active during these times as they forage for food. However, it's crucial to remember that these are wild animals and should be treated with respect and caution. Maintain a safe distance, capture photos responsibly, and never feed them. Responsible wildlife viewing ensures the safety of both humans and bears.
You guys must get snow ALL the time!
Contrary to the belief that we're blanketed in snow throughout the year, the reality is that snowfall is not a rare occurrence here but rather a quick occurrence. Gatlinburg tends to receive the most snow, while Sevierville and Pigeon Forge usually experience a light dusting. Usually, its gone within a few days and it doesn't affect much. However, when the temperatures are right and we do get more than a couple of inches of snow, be cautious of icy conditions, especially on less-traveled roads. Most vacation rentals are not inside city limits so salt trucks and plows do not maintain those roads. These roads when bad are usually covered in thick ice patches and even the most experienced drivers can end up in ditches. (Seriously check out Everything Autos Tiktok page and see how many people they pull out of ditches) The Great Smoky Mountains National Park usually closes Newfound Gap Road during snowfall due to safety concerns. It's essential to prioritize safety and enjoy the snowfall from the comfort of your rental.
When do they turn the smoke on?
A whimsical question indeed! The Smoky Mountains earned their name from the misty "smoke" produced by the trees. This phenomenon is caused by the release of volatile organic compounds and hydrocarbons. The atmospheric conditions create a picturesque haze, offering stunning mountain views that vary with each visit. So, no switches involved – just a touch of nature's magic painting the landscape.
Your roads here are curvy and steep!
Navigating the roads in the Smoky Mountains can be a thrilling experience. The roads are often small, curvy, and steep, adding a touch of adventure to your journey when heading to your rentals or scenic views. If you're considering a cabin with breathtaking views, be prepared for a steeper drive. It's essential to adhere to posted speed limits not just for safety but also to allow the smooth flow of traffic. If you find yourself uncomfortable on the road, pull over safely to let others pass, and consider exploring during daylight hours when visibility is better.
Where can we drive up to the mountains?
The primary route leading to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the Parkway or 441. As you follow this road into Gatlinburg, it transforms into "Newfound Gap Road," a scenic route that takes you deeper into the heart of the park. The journey on Newfound Gap Road is known for its twists and turns, offering panoramic views. It's advisable to fuel up before entering the park, as there are no gas stations or food options inside. For a more relaxed drive with equally stunning vistas, explore the Foothills Parkway in Wears Valley. This route is known for its gentler curves and accessibility to captivating viewpoints.
As of March 2023 a parking pass will be required to park for a period of time in the park: Click Here to get more Info