Are you looking to visit some popular tourist attractions during your stay with us? If so, you should come and explore the Great Smoky Mountains because there is so much fun to be had. The most beloved activities include hikes and scenic drives. Before your first visit, get to know the area a little bit better with this list of 4 fun facts about the Great Smoky Mountains:
1. They Are Some of the Oldest Mountains in the World
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park was founded in June 1934. Even so, the iconic landmark itself is a lot older. In fact, the Great Smoky Mountains are believed to be between 200 and 300 million years old, making them some of the oldest mountains in the world! A mountain’s age is determined by looking at the weathering of the rocks and examining particles from the soil as well as the trees. The oldest tree in the Smokies is a 562-year-old blackgum tree. The Smoky Mountains may be old, but you won’t be able to tell as you look out at the picturesque views. This is because the natural beauty has withstood the test of time.
2. There Are More Than 90 Preserved Historical Structures
Before becoming the popular tourist destination that it is today, the Great Smoky Mountains were home to a thriving community of people. During your visit, you can see remnants of it in the form of many historical structures. The oldest structure is the John Oliver Cabin in Cades Cove. It served as a cozy first home for John Oliver and his wife when the couple moved to the area in the fall of 1818. You can also visit the Beech Grove School in Cataloochee Valley. Built in 1901, it was one of 3 schools in the valley that served a population of 1,200 people. Today, school is not in session, but you can see what the classroom set-up would have looked like. The inside is well maintained with a chalkboard and desks facing forward.
3. They Are the “Salamander Capital of the World”
The beautiful natural scenery of the Great Smoky Mountains serves as a home to thousands of animals. Salamanders may be one of the smallest animals, but they have a mighty population here. The Smokies are deemed the “Salamander Capital of the World” because they are home to over 30 species. If you want to find some during your visit, head over to Grotto Falls. The rocks, water, and cool climate makes this area an ideal habitat for salamanders.
4. The Famous Name Comes From the Natural Scenery
How did the Great Smoky Mountains get their name? Your first thought may be that there was a fire somewhere around the landmark, but this is not the case. The “smokiness” is actually created by thousands of plants. They release a hazy substance into the area called a volatile organic compound or VOC for short. The Cherokee Indians who came to the area named the mountains, “Shaconage,” or “place of blue smoke.”
We hope you enjoyed learning more about the Great Smoky Mountains. If you can’t wait to see them, take a look at our webcams!