• Photo: Geir Olav Lyngfjell / Shutterstock

North Carolina Side

The North Carolina side of the park has a variety of sights and experiences, from high peaks to historical houses. Right at the Oconaluftee Visitor Center at the entrance to the park is the Mountain Farm Museum, one of the best-preserved collections of historic log buildings in the region. Cataloochee Cove is a beautiful valley where you can spot deer, wild turkeys, and elk. Even if you never leave your car, Newfound Gap

Road offers plenty of scenic views. If, however, you're ready to lace up your hiking boots, there are hundreds of miles of hiking trails to be explored, including the trail to the top of Clingmans Dome, the highest mountain in the park at 6,643 feet. North Carolina’s Mountains to Sea trail starts at Clingmans Dome and ends at Jockey’s Ridge on the Outer Banks, and 72 miles of the Appalachian Trail follow the ridgelines of the Smokies, beginning at Lake Fontana on the North Carolina side.

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