Relative location of the great smoky mountains

Finding Landscape Photography Locations in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

If you would like to advertise on this website, please contact us at:. In he proposed a theory to help backpackers plan trips and calculate their energy needs while on the trail in his book, Teton Trails.

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His theory states that one energy mile is equal to the energy required to walk one mile on flat terrain. He also said that you need to add two energy miles for every feet of elevation gain. In other words, if you hiked one mile while climbing feet, you would've used the equivalent of three energy miles. Petzoldt's theory had never been tested before. That is until , when a study was conducted at Western Carolina University's Exercise Physiology Laboratory, by Maridy Troy, assistant professor in WCU's health and physical education program, and Maurice Phipps, professor of parks and recreation management.

The study measured the energy cost and perceived exertion for walking on flat terrain, with and without a backpack, as well as an elevation gain of feet.

Results from the data show an average of a 1. Differences between females and males ranged from 1. Professor Phipps stated in an article for WCU news that the range revealed by the study was due to the "hikers" personal weight differences. The abstract from the study states that further research using heavier expedition packs at higher altitudes could also reveal changes in energy cost as well.

This formula has allowed me to roughly gauge the relative difficulty of trails in the Smokies. This rating system simply gives the hiker a reference point between one trail and another. As a general rule of thumb, a difficulty rating of less than 5 is considered to be an easy hike. Between 5 and 10 is moderate, and anything over 10 is considered to be strenuous. I stand by the mileage figures reported on this web site.

I have tested the Garmin against known distances and have found it to be nearly exact, if not exact, in its measurements. Furthermore, I spoke with a backcountry park ranger in Glacier N. He claimed that he wouldn't trust any of those figures because of the way they were calculated. Indeed, ascending the mountains is comparable to a trip from Tennessee to Canada. Plants and animals common in the country's Northeast have found suitable ecological niches in the park's higher elevations, while southern species find homes in the balmier lower reaches.

During the most recent ice age , the northeast-to-southwest orientation of the Appalachian mountains allowed species to migrate southward along the slopes rather than finding the mountains to be a barrier. As climate warms, many northern species are now retreating upward along the slopes and withdrawing northward, [15] while southern species are expanding. The variety of elevations, the abundant rainfall, and the presence of old growth forests give the park an unusual richness of biota. About 10, species of plants and animals are known to live in the park, and estimates as high as an additional 90, undocumented species may also be present.

Park officials count more than species of birds, 50 species of fish, 39 species of reptiles, and 43 species of amphibians, including many lungless salamanders. The park has a noteworthy black bear population, numbering about 1, Elk are most abundant in the Cataloochee area in the southeastern section of the park.

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It is also home to species of mammals such as the raccoon , bobcat , two species of fox , river otter , woodchuck , beaver , two species of squirrel , opossum , coyote , white-tailed deer , chipmunk , two species of skunk , and various species of bats. Over species of trees grow in the park. The lower region forests are dominated by deciduous leafy trees. At higher altitudes, deciduous forests give way to coniferous trees like Fraser fir.

In addition, the park has over 1, flowering plant species and over 4, species of non-flowering plants.

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Where is Great Smoky Mountains National Park?

The humid, subtropical air mass typically in place over the Smoky Mountains produces large amounts of precipitation. The difference between high temperatures is similar to the moist adiabatic lapse rate of 3. Over Surrounding towns, notably Gatlinburg , Pigeon Forge , Sevierville , and Townsend , Tennessee , and Cherokee , Sylva , Maggie Valley , and Bryson City , North Carolina receive a significant portion of their income from tourism associated with the park.

The two main visitors' centers inside the park are Sugarlands Visitors' Center near the Gatlinburg entrance to the park and Oconaluftee Visitor Center near Cherokee, North Carolina at the eastern entrance to the park. These ranger stations provide exhibits on wildlife , geology , and the history of the park. They also sell books, maps, and souvenirs. Highway known in the park as Newfound Gap Road bisects the park, providing automobile access to many trailheads and overlooks, most notably that of Newfound Gap. It was here that in , from the Rockefeller Memorial, Franklin Delano Roosevelt dedicated the national park.

On clear days Newfound Gap offers arguably the most spectacular scenes accessible via highway in the park. The park has a number of historical attractions. The most well-preserved of these and most popular is Cades Cove , a valley with a number of preserved historic buildings including log cabins , barns , and churches. Cades Cove is the single most frequented destination in the national park.

Self-guided automobile and bicycle tours offer the many sightseers a glimpse into the way of life of old-time southern Appalachia.


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Alum Cave Trail is the most heavily used of the five paths en route to the summit. It provides many scenic overlooks and unique natural attractions such as Alum Cave Bluffs and Arch Rock. Hikers may spend a night at the LeConte Lodge, located near the summit, which provides cabins and rooms for rent except during the winter season. Accessible solely by trail, it is the only private lodging available inside the park. Another popular hiking trail led to the pinnacle of the Chimney Tops , so named because of its unique dual-humped peaktops. This short but strenuous trek rewarded nature enthusiasts with a spectacular panorama of the surrounding mountain peaks.

Activities & Programs | Smoky Mountains | Oh, Ranger!

It was the flashpoint for the wildfires and therefore sustained extensive damage, evident still today in clearly visible burn scars. The trail and the peak have been closed to tourists ever since. Both the Laurel Falls and Clingman's Dome trails offer relatively easy, short, paved paths to their respective destinations. In addition to day hiking, the national park offers opportunities for backpacking and camping. Camping is allowed only in designated camping areas and shelters. Most of the park's trail shelters are located along the Appalachian Trail or a short distance away on side trails.

In addition to the Appalachian Trail shelters used mostly for extended backpacking trips there are three shelters in the park that are not located on the Appalachian Trail. Designated backcountry campsites are scattered throughout the park.

A permit, available at ranger stations and via the Park website, is required for all backcountry camping. Additionally, reservations are required for all of the shelters and backcountry campsites.

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A maximum stay of one night, in the case of shelters, or three nights, in the case of campsites, may limit the traveler's itinerary. After hiking and simple sightseeing, fishing especially fly fishing is the most popular activity in the national park. The park's waters have long had a reputation for healthy trout activity as well as challenging fishing terrain.

Brook trout are native to the waters, while both brown and rainbow were introduced to the area. Partially due to the fact of recent droughts killing off the native fish, there are strict regulations regarding how fishing may be conducted. Horseback riding offered by the national park and on limited trails , bicycling available for rent in Cades Cove and water tubing are all also practiced within the park.

The park service maintains four historic districts and one archaeological district within park boundaries, as well as nine individual listings on the National Register of Historic Places. Notable structures not listed include the Mountain Farm Museum buildings at Oconaluftee and buildings in the Cataloochee area.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is considered the most polluted national park according to a report by the National Parks Conservation Association. From to , the park recorded approximately unhealthy air days, the equivalent of about one month of unhealthy air days per year. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. View from Mount Le Conte. Retrieved July 25, Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey.