sugarlands visitor center
July 21, 2021

The best way to start your exploration of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is with a stop at the Sugarlands Visitor Center! This is where you will find all types of great information about the park’s hiking trails, historical structures, scenic drives, wildlife, and more! As if that doesn’t sound good enough, it is also just minutes away from our Gatlinburg cabin rentals! Here are the top 3 reasons why you need to visit the Sugarlands Visitor Center:

1. Closest Visitor Center to Downtown Gatlinburg

interior sugarlands visitor center

The Sugarlands Visitor Center is the closest visitor center to downtown Gatlinburg, making it a convenient first stop for folks heading from Gatlinburg into the national park! You will find the building just 2 miles south of town on US-441, and it opens daily at 9 am. Many folks are surprised to discover you can walk to the Sugarlands Visitor Center via the Gatlinburg Trail ! The trailhead is on River Road, and the trail runs for 1.9 miles directly to the center. Along the way, you will be treated to beautiful views of the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River and can see the foundations of several old homesites!

2. Helpful Park Information

Whether you want to pick up a trail map, browse through the bookstore, or talk to a park ranger, there is all kinds of helpful information at the Sugarlands Visitor Center! There is even free admission to a 20-minute film about the park, which is a great starting point for first time visitors! While stopping at the center, you can also view the extensive natural history exhibits, get hydrated with some of the soda and water machines, and take advantage of the public restrooms!

3. Starting Point for Fun Hikes

sugarlands visitor center exterior

Another reason why you need to visit the Sugarlands Visitor Center is because it’s the starting point for several fun hikes! While you already know about the Gatlinburg Trail, you will also find the trailhead for the walk to Cataract Falls . This 0.7-mile, forested trail sets off directly behind the building and offers the perfect way to get your legs working once you get out of the car! The Cataract Falls trail passes tree identification markers that highlight the various types of trees of the area, crosses a creek via a footbridge, and then leads right to the waterfall! You also won’t want to miss the Fighting Creek Nature Trail , a 1.2-mile loop trail that follows a lovely creek and features two historic properties: the Noah McCarter cabin and the John Ownby cabin.

Where to Stay

There is no better place to spend your Smoky Mountain vacation than at our Gatlinburg cabin rentals! Our affordable cabins are practically right around the corner from the entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park and all of the exciting attractions in downtown Gatlinburg! After an action-packed day of exploring the park, you can look forward to returning to our cabins to enjoy amenities such as fully equipped kitchens, bubbling hot tubs, game rooms, and more!

Check out all of our cabins in Gatlinburg TN today to stay close to the Sugarlands Visitor Center and all of the wonderful hiking trails in the national park! We look forward to seeing you soon!

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