The best way to begin your exploration of Great Smoky Mountains National Park is with a stop at Sugarlands Visitor Center! This convenient visitor center is just 2 miles south of Gatlinburg and is the perfect place to pick up a park map, have your questions answered by a ranger, or purchase a guide about the park! Here are the top 4 reasons to stop by Sugarlands Visitor Center:
1. Interesting Exhibits
One of the top reasons to visit the Sugarlands Visitor Center is to check out all of the interesting exhibits! There are extensive natural history exhibits throughout the center, as well as a 20-minute film about the park. This is a great way to learn about the background and history of the park before starting to explore some of the hiking trails. If you have questions about any of the exhibits, just ask one of the friendly rangers who would be happy to provide assistance!
2. Year-Round Operating Hours
The Sugarlands Visitor Center is open daily except for Christmas Day, so you can stop by during any time of the year! The visitor center opens each morning at 8 am, so early risers can get a jump start on an action-packed day in the park! The closing times vary throughout the year, but generally range from 4:30 pm in the slowest season to 7 pm during those months of high park attendance.
3. Gift Shop With Books
Make the most out of your visit to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park by purchasing a book or guide about the park! The Sugarlands Visitor Center features a gift shop where you can browse books on a variety of topics, including hiking, wildlife, and history. These books not only come in handy throughout your vacation but make a fantastic souvenir after your trip to the Smokies is over!
4. Excellent Hiking Options
In addition to all of the interior exhibits, there are also several great hikes at the Sugarlands Visitor Center! The Gatlinburg Trail travels for 1.9 miles from the visitor center to the outskirts of Gatlinburg and is an easy hike because it is relatively flat. The trail features beautiful views of the Little Pigeon River, and the foundations and chimneys of several old homesites are visible along the trail. The Cataract Falls Trail is perfect for families with young children because it is less than 1 mile round trip and ends at a stunning 25-foot waterfall! Finally, the Fighting Creek Nature Trail is a 1.2-mile loop trail features a gentle climb that follows along the scenic Fighting Creek. This trail features 2 historic properties, the Noah McCarter cabin and the John Ownby cabin.
Visiting the Sugarlands Visitor Center will help you appreciate the Smokies before you set out into the national park. If being close to the national park is important to you, we have cabins that are as close as you can get. Check out all of our cabins in the Smoky Mountains today to plan your vacation!