Situated in Wear Cove Valley in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park lies Wears Valley- an unincorporated area gaining a reputation as one of the most beautiful areas in the United States.
Wears Valley is located right at the entrance of the majestic Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which is claimed to be the most visited natural park in the country.
It is named after a Revolutionary War veteran, Samuel Wear, who erected a fort, which is known today as Pigeon Forge, a popular tourist resort. The park, which is a United States National Park, International Biosphere Reserve and UNESCO World Heritage Site, is part of the Appalachian mountains, and includes over 500,000 acres of forested land, located on the border between Tennessee and North Carolina.
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park brags over 200 species of birds, 50 species of fish, 66 species of mammals, 39 species of reptiles, and 43 species of amphibians, including a large black bear population of 1,800. There are 10,000 species of plants and animals in the region alone! It is one of the largest protected areas in the eastern United States and attracts over 10 million visitors annually.
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Wears Valley offers many adventures, such as wildlife viewing, hiking, kayaking, horseback riding, picnicking, campfire programs, cross-country skiing, and whitewater rafting. Tourists can enjoy viewing elk in places like the Cataloochee Valley. Fishing is quite popular too, as trout and bass are quite common in the rivers.
Probably the most prominent landmark is Cades Cove, a lush valley full of wildlife and attractions. This serene natural area is visited by over two million visitors a year. It offers campsites and activities like fishing, bicycling, and hiking. It’s listed as a historic district due to the many buildings that represent pioneer life from the 19th century.
Camping is available in many different spots in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Backcountry Camping is good for experienced backpackers, while Frontcountry Camping is a developed campground where each individual campsite has its own fire grate and picnic table.
Hiking is very popular too, on the 850 miles of maintained hiking trails. The Appalachian Trail is the most famous hiking trail in the USA. It is 70 miles in length and runs along the border of Tennessee and North Carolina. Mount Le Conte, the tallest mountain in Tennessee, and Alum Cave Trail, one of the most used hiking paths in the park, also attract many hikers year-round.
Other attractions include:
The Dollywood theme park and its state-of-the-art roller coasters.
Ripley’s Aquarium – one of the best aquariums in the USA, offering interactive exhibits.
Biltmore Estate – America’s largest home that also has a winery, an operating farm, and restaurants.
Ober Gatlinburg, atop Mt Harrison, which is an amusement park and ski resort that offers skiing, wildlife viewing, ice skating, arcades, and more.
The Great Smoky Mountain Railroad – a steam train ride through the Smokys.
The Great Smoky Arts & Craft Community – a community of artists and craftsmen who produce paintings and prints and all different kind of crafts.