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About the Smoky Mountains

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    Name

    • Sunrise from Clingman's Dome

      The Smoky Mountains are named "Smoky" because of the fog and haze that tends to hang in the valleys and along the slopes in and around the range. Native Americans referred to the area as Shaconage; that means "The Land of Blue Smoke."

    Geology

    • The Smoky Mountains are very old in terms of geologic time. Much of the rock within the Smoky Mountains is from the Precambrian, with some of the oldest rocks being over a billion years old. Over time, the mountains have been eroded down to their present state.

    Highest Point

    • Le Conte Lodge, on summit of Mount Le Conte

      The highest point in the Smoky Mountains is Clingman's Dome, with an elevation of 6,643 feet (2,025 meters) above sea level. Other notable peaks include: Mount Guyot (6,621 ft.), Mount Le Conte (6,593 ft.), Mount Chapman (6,417 ft.), and Old Black (6,370 ft.). In all, there are at least ten peaks over 6,000 feet within the Smoky Mountains.

    Plant Life (Flora)

    • Spruce Fir Forest along trail to Mount Le Conte

      Plant life within the Smoky Mountains may typically be found within three zones, according to altitude: cove hardwood forest (lowest elevations), northern hardwood forest, and spruce-fir forest (highest elevations and coolest climate).

    Animal Life (Fauna)

    • The Smoky Mountains are home to a wide variety of species of mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and fish. The mountains contains the densest population of Black Bears in the eastern United States. These bears have become one of the symbols of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

    Significance

    • Autumn in Great Smoky Mountains

      The Smoky Mountains are almost entirely contained within Great Smoky Mountains National Park, indicating great natural and cultural significance. This park is the most visited park in the U.S. national park system.

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