Unlike many of the other National Parks in the country, the Great Smoky Mountains NP does not charge admission, thanks to the Tennessee and North Carolina state legislatures both agreeing to this arrangement when it first opened.
This hiking destination is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the Smokies. Eventually heading up Mt. LeConte, the trail will start out relatively easy and take you over several bridges over LeConte Creek. It then ascends 1,700 feet through a series of switchbacks, until you finally arrive at the 80-foot falls and don’t-miss photo opp.
With a combination of breathtaking landscapes, abundant wildlife, and primitive sites from a long-standing settlement, this area is the most visited point of interest in the Park. While the 11-mile road circling the 6,800-acre valley is open to cars from dawn to dusk, bicycles only are allowed during the summer on Wednesdays until 10 AM.
The large whirlpool at its base, which swirls like water draining in a sink, inspired the name of this powerful 15-foot waterfall.
Even though it may seem that you’re among many visitors to the National Park, you are essentially still in the wilderness. Of course, that means you could encounter black bears the further you venture out. Whether you see a bear or a bear approaches you, remember to take appropriate safety strategies. Above all, never try to approach bears or feed them.