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4 Fun Facts About the Great Smoky Mountains

Are you looking for more things to do during your stay with us? If so, plan a day to take a break from all the activity in the city and explore the natural scenery. You can do so by visiting Great Smoky Mountains National Park and going for a hike or taking a scenic drive. Either way, get to know the area a little bit better before your visit! Explore this list of 4 fun facts about the Great Smoky Mountains:

1. They Are Some of the Oldest Mountain Ranges in the World

smoky mountainsAs you’re gazing out at the stunning mountain views or examining the many beautiful plants along the hiking trails, you probably wouldn’t guess that the Smokies are between 200 and 300 million years old. This makes them one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world! A mountain’s age is determined using the environment. Scientists may take particles from the soil and trees and examine the weathering of the rocks. Another fun fact: 1/3 of the trees in the Smokies are over 100 years old. The oldest tree in the area is a blackgum tree that is more than 500 years old.

2. The Cherokee Indians Came Up With The Name

The Cherokee Indians were some of the first residents to the Smoky Mountain area and gave the mountains their iconic name. The tribe called the mountains, “Shaconage.” This means “place of blue smoke.” The seemingly smoky atmosphere is not caused by a fire. Special plants release a gas called a volatile organic compound or VOC for short. The gas then mixes with the fog and turns it blue!

3. More Than 90 Preserved Historical Structures

primitive baptist church in Cades CoveLong before it was a popular tourist attraction, the Great Smoky Mountains were home to a thriving settlement. Park officials have worked to preserve many of the historical structures and carry on the legacy of the residents. You can spot many of them in various places. For example, the John Oliver Cabin is on Cades Cove Loop Road. It was built in the 1800’s and is the oldest human structure in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. John Oliver and his wife were some of the first residents in Cades Cove and the cabin was a cozy first home. Other structures you will see include the Primitive Baptist Church. Built in 1827, It was the first of 3 churches in the Cades Cove community.

4. The Most Visited National Park

Today, the Great Smoky Mountains act as the centerpiece of a beloved tourist attraction! More than 12 million visitors come to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park each year, making it the most visited park in North America! People love to breathe in the fresh mountain air on a relaxing hike and see the gorgeous views from Clingmans Dome observation tower! No matter what you do, it is sure to be a fun time!

We hope you enjoy these fun facts about the Great Smoky Mountains! Want to know even more about the area? Check out this list of 3 popular places in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park!