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Dancing Bear’s Appalachian cuisine touted in Conde Naste Traveler

A Guide to the Gateway Towns of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. From quirky Pigeon Forge to peaceful Townsend, these towns provide easy access to the park.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park stretches over 500,000 acres across Tennessee and North Carolina, and is known for its wildlife and historic homesteads. It’s the most visited national park in the country (yes, beating Yellowstone), with 12 million visitors in the last year alone.

With six park entrances to choose from, it’s important to base yourself near the sites you most want to see. Each gateway town has its own personality, but most don’t get as much press as well-known Gatlinburg. Here, we break down what each of the six towns has to offer to help you decide where to stay for your Smokies getaway…

Featured In Conde Nast Traveler
Photo By Matthew Lovette