Gatlinburg, Great Smoky Mountains, Hiking, Parks

Sugarland’s Visitor Center

When you’re coming from Gatlinburg into the mountains, we suggest you stop at Sugarlands Visitor Center to start your day.

To get to the Sugarlands Visitor Center, proceed through downtown Gatlinburg on the main Parkway. After passing Ski Mountain Road, you will enter the National Park. Sugarlands Visitor Center is 1.7 miles ahead on the right side of the road. There is plenty of free parking near the visitor center.

Sugarlands Visitor Center

The Sugarlands Visitor Center is the perfect spot to begin your Smoky Mountain vacation! The visitor center features knowledgable rangers, maps, restrooms, animal exhibits, informative museum, and a a 21-minute movie about the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

You can get information from the park rangers about your itinerary. Young ones can get a Jr. Ranger book to get their Jr. Ranger badge.

There are three trails that begin at the Sugarlands Visitor Center.

The Gatlinburg Trail is one of only two trails in the National Park that allows pets. It is a level trail along a stream.

The Fighting Creek Nature Trail is a 1.2 mile loop. The hike features a gentle climb that follows Fighting Creek and features two historic properties – the Noah McCarter cabin and the John Ownby cabin. After passing the historic buildings, you continue the loop back to the visitor center.

The John Ownby Cabin, which was built in 1860, was constructed from tulip trees, white pine logs and clay mortar. If you hike the Fighting Creek Nature Trail in the National Park, you’ll get to see this historic log cabin, along with beautiful forest scenery and a mountain stream. The John Ownby Cabin is one of the oldest remaining pre-park cabins in the Forks of the River community. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.

Caract Falls is an easy hike perfect for families with young children. The hike is less than a mile roundtrip. It ends at a beautiful 25-foot waterfall. The well marked trail begins at the visitor center and features tree cover (perfect in summer and fall!), streams, bridges, and a beautiful waterfall.


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