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Smoky in name only

Last year’s wildfire behind it, Tennessee’s Smoky Mountains National Park is back in business

It's a spectacular drive northward along U.S. 441 from the small town of Cherokee on the North Carolina side of Smoky Mountains National Park to Gatlinburg on the Tennessee side. In the lower elevations, the spring wildflowers of mid-March -- mostly trillium -- pop from the ground, offering bits of color that soon disappear the higher we climb toward 5,046-foot Newfound Gap at the center of the park. At the highest elevations, patches of snow and ice among the fir and spruce trees prove that winter still hangs on.

INFORMATION

Gatlinburg Convention and Visitors Bureau

(800) 588-1817, gatlinburg.com

Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism

(800) 251-9100, mypigeonforge.com

Sevierville Chamber of Commerce

(888) 738-4378, visitsevierville.com

Sugarlands Visitor Center

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

(865) 436-1200, nps.gov

Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Sevierville, and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is in the heart of East Tennessee. The closest airport is McGhee-Tyson Airport (TYS) in Knoxville and is served by Allegiant, American, Delta, Frontier and United.

Where to Stay

Eagles Ridge Resort

Pigeon Forge

(866) 369-2946, eaglesridge.com

Log cabins and chalets with 1-9 bedrooms.

Wilderness at the Smokies

Sevierville

(877) 325-9453, wildernessatthesmokies.com

A family-oriented waterpark and resort that includes Stonehill Lodge, Riverlodge Suites and Sanctuary Villas.

LeConte Lodge

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

(865) 429-5704, lecontelodge.com

Accessible only by hiking, LeConte Lodge is the highest guest lodge in the eastern United States.

WHERE TO EAT

Crockett’s Breakfast Camp

Gatlinburg

(865) 325-1403, crockettsbreakfastcamp.com

Famous for the Huntcamp Skillet, piled high with breakfast and served in a cast-iron skillet.

The Old Mill Restaurant and Old Mill Pottery House Cafe and Grill

Pigeon Forge

(865) 429-3463 or (865) 453-6002, old-mill.com

Old-fashioned Southern food including fresh locally caught trout.

Applewood Farmhouse Restaurant and Farmhouse Grill

(865) 428-1222, applewoodfarmhouserestaurant.com

Famous for Southern cooking, apple fritters and apple juleps.

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