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There are three main visitor centers in the park: Oconaluftee near Cherokee, Sugarlands near Gatlinburg, and Cades Cove. In addition, there is a visitor contact station at Clingmans Dome, plus four information centers outside the park (in Sevierville and Townsend and two in Gatlinburg).
Cades Cove. This visitor center is located about midway on the 11-mi Cades Cove Loop on the Tennessee side. What makes this one especially worth visiting is the Cable Mill, which operates spring through fall, and the Becky Cable House, a pioneer home with farm outbuildings. Cades Cove Loop, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, NC. 865/436–1200 park information line. www.nps.gov/grsm. Dec. and Jan., daily 9–4:30; Feb. and Nov., daily 9–5; Mar., Sept., and Oct., daily 9–6; Apr.–Aug., daily 9–7.
Clingmans Dome Visitor Contact Station. While not a full-fledged visitor information center, Clingmans Dome now has a staffed information kiosk, along wth a small park store and bookshop, at the Clingmans Dome trailhead. Clingmans Dome, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, NC. 865/436-1200 park information line. www.nps.gov/grsm. Apr.-Oct., daily 10-6; Nov., daily 9:30-5.
Oconaluftee. The park's only information center on the North Carolina side is 1½ mi from Cherokee. In 2011, it reopened after a major expansion and now features interactive displays, a book and gift store, and live assistance from park rangers and volunteers. Adjoining the visitor center, in a large level field next to the Oconaluftee River, is the Mountain Farm Museum. US Hwy. 441, 1 1/2 mi from Cherokee, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, NC, 28719. 865/436–1200 park information line. www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/visitorcenters.htm. Jan.-Feb., daily 8–4:30; March and Nov., daily 8–5; Apr.-May and Sep.-Oct., daily 8–6; June–Aug., daily 8–7.
Sugarlands. Here, at the main visitor center on the Tennessee side, you can watch a 20-minute film about the park and take in extensive exhibits about park flora and fauna. U.S. Hwy 441, 2 mi south of Gatlinburg, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, NC, 37738. 865/436–1200 visitor information line. www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/visitorcenters.htm. Jan.-Feb., daily 8–4:30; Mar. and Nov., daily 8–5; Apr., May, Sept., and Oct., daily 8–6; June–Aug., daily 8–7.
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