October 30, 2021

When starting your day at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, be sure to make the Sugarlands Visitor Center your first stop! This facility is conveniently located just a few miles south of the Gatlinburg entrance and has everything you need to prepare for an action packed day in the park! You will also find several beautiful hiking trails to explore, making it a great stop for when you need to stretch your legs! Here are 4 reasons why you should start your day at the Sugarlands Smoky Mountain Visitor Center:

1. Excellent Information About the Park

The Sugarlands Smoky Mountain Visitor Center offers a ton of excellent information, including a free 20 minute film about the park! After the film, you can take a stroll through the extensive natural history exhibits and browse through the amazing bookstore. You will find helpful books on all topics, ranging from the best scenic drives to the amazing wildlife that you might get to see! This is also the perfect opportunity to speak to a park ranger if you have any specific questions, such as the current trail conditions or the best hiking destinations for families!

2. Experience the Gatlinburg Trail

Gatlinburg Trail

Another reason why you should start your day at the Sugarlands Visitor Center is because there are several scenic hiking trails that depart from right outside the building! This is where you will find one end of the Gatlinburg Trail, a popular 1.9 mile trail that leads directly to the outskirts of Gatlinburg! This is an easy hike with incredible scenery. It not only offers fantastic views of the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River, but also the foundations and chimneys of several old homesites!

3. Convenient Hours and Facilities

One of the great things about the visitor center is that it is open every day of the year except for Christmas! Whether you are visiting the Smokies during the spring wildflower season, the warm summer months or the fall foliage spectacle, you can always stop by the Visitor Center to learn about the latest activities and events! The visitor center also features several convenient facilities that come in handy before hitting the trails, including public restrooms, water/soda vending machines and more!

4. Enjoy Other Scenic Trails


If you want to see a beautiful waterfall, take the trail from the back of the Visitor Center to Cataract Falls! This hike is less than 1 mile round trip and features markers that highlight the different types of trees in the area! Another recommended hike is the Fighting Creek Nature Trail, a 1.2 mile loop that follows an important tributary of the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River known as Fighting Creek! This trail not only offers some spectacular scenery, but a pair of historic properties: Noah McCarter’s Cabin and the John Ownby Cabin that dates back to 1860!

The Sugarlands Smoky Mountain Visitor Center is just one of several excellent facilities in the National Park with helpful information! Be sure to learn more about all of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park Visitor Centers! We hope to see you soon in the Smokies!