gatlinburg downtown aerial
August 5, 2022

While there are several towns located near entrances to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, one of the most convenient locations is Gatlinburg TN! This popular destination is home to a wide assortment of lodging options, as well as plenty of wonderful restaurants, shops and attractions that you can enjoy before or after exploring the park! Here are the top 4 benefits of staying in Gatlinburg TN for a visit to Great Smoky Mountains National Park:

1. Walk Into the Park from Town

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Sign

If you are staying at a hotel or condo in downtown Gatlinburg, you can actually walk into Great Smoky Mountains National Park via the Gatlinburg Trail! This scenic, wooded trail departs from River Road at the southern end of Gatlinburg and leads directly to the Sugarlands Visitor Center, where you browse through the bookstore, talk to a park ranger and more! The walking path is 1.9 miles in each direction and relatively flat, making it an easy hike for most folks. It offers beautiful views of the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River, as well as the chance to see the foundations and chimneys of several old homesites! You’ll enjoy hiking in the Smoky Mountains!

2. Pick Up Last Minute Hiking Gear

Another one of the top benefits of staying in Gatlinburg TN for a visit to Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the opportunity to pick up some last minute hiking gear! If you forgot to pack a certain item or just want to pick up some new apparel, you’ll find several convenient shops in town that offer outdoor merchandise! The best outfitter in Gatlinburg is the Nantahala Outdoor Center, which is ideally situated just outside of the park entrance. This 18,000 square foot outdoor superstore offers everything that you need for an adventure into the Smokies, including top brands like North Face and Patagonia!

3. Great Places to Have a Meal

log cabin pancake house building

After hiking along the trails within Great Smoky Mountains National Park, you’re sure to work up a serious appetite! The fantastic news is that Gatlinburg TN is home to tons of great restaurants, ranging from steakhouses to casual eateries. Whether you have a taste for seafood, Italian, southern bbq or a good old fashioned burger, you’ll find it here! If you prefer to start your day with a big meal, you’ll also discover many wonderful places to have breakfast including some of the best pancake houses in Tennessee!

4. Fun Entertainment Options

When it comes to staying in Gatlinburg TN, you’ll have easy access to lots of fun entertainment options that you can enjoy after a day in the park! While walking along the famous strip, you’ll find miniature golf courses, arcades, unique museums and much more! Some of the most popular attractions in Gatlinburg include the Aerial Tramway, Ober Gatlinburg, Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, Anakeesta and Gatlinburg SkyLift Park.

Now that you know the benefits of staying in Gatlinburg TN for a visit to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, learn about 3 types of accommodations available while staying close to the park!