For a Quieter, More Relaxed Smoky Mountains Vacation, Discover the North Carolina Smokies

Filmmaker Ken Burns talks about the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park's half-million acres are equally divided between Tennessee and North Carolina. And with roughly forty percent of the Park in Swain County, Bryson City is the ideal spot for a relaxing Smoky Mountain vacation — away from the more carnival atmosphere of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.

Even though the GSMNP is the nation's most-visited national park, most visitors only experience a small portion of the Park. The most popular areas are along US 441 between Gatlinburg and Cherokee and Cades Cove. But there's a lot more to see and do, particularly in North Carolina's half of the Park. Check out the Guide (below) of fun, free things do in the Park on the North Carolina side.

In 2016 we are celebrating the Centennial of the National Park Service. To honor this anniversary, Park Superintendent Cassius Cash has committed to hiking 100 miles of park trails in 2016 and he invites you to join in the challenge. Hike any 100 miles of maintained trails in the park between January 1 & December 6. You may hike the same trail repeatedly or different trails. Hike 100 and get invited to a Celebration on December 8 to receive your commemorative Hike 100 pin!. More info, hiking log book and map.