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

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.

Filmmaker Ken Burns talks about the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

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.

Join the Great Smoky Mountains Association (GSMA) and enjoy the Hiking 101 program where GSMA members get to explore lesser-used areas of the park with group hikes, while re-enforcing “Leave No Trace” practices and other hiking values designed to ensure safe, satisfying exploration of the GSMNP. GSMA staff and member volunteers will lead and sweep each of the hikes. The GSMA supports the GSMNP with education programs, volunteer work in the Park and financial donations.