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.
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.
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.