The Smoky Mountains National Park is the Salamander Capital of the World
Did you know that the Great Smoky Mountains are officially titled the “Salamander Capital of the World”, with 30 species in five families? Not just in Tennessee — the entire world!
The salamanders just one group among 21,000 different living species that are friendly neighbors in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The park is home to 200 different types of birds, 67 mammal breeds, 80 types of amphibians and reptiles, 67 types of fish, and a whopping 17,000 types of insects.
You Can Find Hundreds of Trees in the National Park
Definitely one of our favorite facts about the Smoky Mountains is: there are over 100 different native tree species in the park! Unlike most national parks, we have over 100 native trees in the Great Smoky Mountains. Most national parks have fewer than 20 native trees! Approximately 80% of the park is comprised of deciduous forests. The Cove Hardwood Forest is the most botanically diverse of these forests. Between 40 to 60 tree and shrub species grow in coves, which are sheltered valleys with deep rich soils. Common species include Carolina silverbell, basswood, dogwood, and magnolia.
The National Park is Absolutely Free for All Visitors
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited national park in the country. One of the reasons over 10 million people visit the Smokies each year is its affordability. It doesn’t cost a thing to come into the park. This is a rarity among the national parks. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park was the first park to ever be developed with federal government money.
There’s Over 800 Miles of Trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s hiking trails span more than 800 square miles. There’s many different types of trails, so take a look at some of these when you’re planning your hiking adventure in the Smoky Mountains:
Temperatures Never Hit Above 80 Degrees
Love hiking but could leave the heat? There has never been a recorded temperature above 80 degrees on the Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s beautiful Mount LeConte. One of the most appealing advantages of the Smoky Mountains is the relatively temperate year round climate; wildflowers in the spring, lazy summer days, beautiful fall colors and snow in the winter but mostly in higher elevations such as the Smoky Mountains in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.
The Great Smoky Mountains Have a Nickname
It may be obvious that the Smoky Mountains are so called because they are, well, smoky. But many don’t know that the nickname dates back to the time when the area was settled by the Cherokees. They called the mountains “Shaconage,” meaning “place of the blue smoke.”
The National Park Dates Back Over 200 Million Years
The Smoky Mountains are estimated to be between 200 and 300 millions years old, making them one of these oldest mountain ranges on earth. Did you know that glaciers affected the Great Smoky Mountains’ formation? During the last Ice Age, the glaciers covered most of North America, but didn’t reach the Smoky Mountains. Due to that, plants and animals sought out our Smoky Mountains as a refuge and a place to ‘start over.’