There are countless miniscule creatures that can easily go unnoticed as we pass them by, but to those who take the time to have a closer look, there is always a reward. A vibrant world awaits if we have the patience to look for it. The Rhododendon Leafhopper (Graphocephala fennahi ) is one of several small, vividly colored leafhoppers found in the park. Leafhoppers feed on plant sap and they have powerful hind legs that allow them to launch several times their body length and evade predators in the blink of an eye. Photo by: Briana Cairco-Cary; Image description: Close-up view of a tiny green and orange insect on a yellow flower petal. #macro #insects #nature #entomology
Are you looking for a challenging hike with some awe-inspiring views? Grab your pack and head on up to the Mt. Cammerer Fire Tower! Built in the 1930’s, by the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Mt. Cammerer Fire Tower sits atop Mt. Cammerer at an elevation of approximately 5050 feet. On a clear day hikers can expect incredible panoramic views of the Park. Several trails will lead you up to the tower, however the shortest and most popular route begins with the Low Gap Trail, located in the Cosby Campground. This hike is rated as strenuous and is roughly 11 miles round trip with a total elevation gain of approximately 3100 feet. Be sure to grab a Park Trail Map before you set out on your adventure. #trailstuesday #HowDoYouPark #NPSRecreation For more information regarding the Smokies Trails Forever Program visit: www.smokiestrailsforever.org NPS Photo; Image descriptions: Sunrise from Mt. Cammerer Fire Tower.
Last week, a group of educators visited an ozone garden with park staff to learn how air quality is monitored in the Smokies. This ozone garden is part of a larger citizen science project where students collect air quality data in the park. To learn more, please visit: https://www.nps.gov/subjects/air/ozone-gardens.htm Photo by: Jessie Snow; Photo Description: Park ranger showing visiting educators the ozone garden at the Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Spring and summer In the Smokies brings out bursts of color in rivers and streams. Both River Chubs and Central Stonerollers build nests out of pebbles that attract other species such as Warpaint Shiners, Tennessee Shiners and Saffron Shiners. These fish display vibrant breeding colors to attract mates and use the habitat created by the chubs and stonerollers to lay their own eggs among the pebbles. Video: Josh Cary; Video Description: Stonerollers, Warpaint Shiners, Saffron Shiners and Tennessee Shiners hover above a pebble nest, competing for a place to lay their eggs. #nativefish #freshwater #snorkelthesmokies #biodiversity
A big shout out to the High School Interns and National Park Service Staff visiting from Cowpens National Battlefield, Kings Mountain National Military Park, and Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail in South Carolina. These NPS sites have been sending crews to the Smokies for the past 5 years to spend a week learning the ins and outs about how a large Park, like the Great Smoky Mountains, operates. They also had the opportunity to assist park staff in trail maintenance. This year, the crew came out and worked on the Trillium Gap Trail Rehabilitation Project performing brushing operations in order to provide a clear and safe trail for hikers and stock animals. #trailstuesday For more information regarding the Smokies Trails Forever program visit: www.smokiestrailsforever.org NPS Photo; Image description: National Park Service employees and Interns standing in front of Grotto Falls.
In the 1800s, Smoky Mountain general stores served as banks, gathering places, and, of course, as places to buy goods. Such stores were normally small, wooden buildings with one room for merchandise (creatively arranged to maximize space! ) and a small stock room. They served an important role in their communities by providing farmers with a convenient way to exchange their goods and for community members to purchase them--by money or barter--close to home. By the early 1900s, factors like logging and industrialization, as well as the ability to purchase items from mail-order catalogs, caused a shift that led to the end of the country general store's importance in these mountain communities. However, their once important role can still be remembered today as we think of the various places we rely on now for goods and services. #ThrowbackThursday NPS Photo; Image description: 13 people pose in front of Anthony's Store in Cades Cove, 1890.
Meet Jim and Joe! At 22 years of age, they are two of the most valuable members of the Smokies Trail Crew. Each mule, weighing close to 1200 lbs., can carry up to 200 lbs. of gear, which can include camping supplies, food, tools, and building materials. The mules are part of the Smokies Stock Program, which is managed by National Park Service Staff. The program primarily provides support for the Smokies Trail Crew; however, when called upon, they have assisted in backcountry operations for several other divisions throughout the Park, such as Wildlife, Vegetation Management, Historical Restoration, and Search and Rescue. #trailstuesday For more information regarding the Smokies Trails forever program visit: www.smokiestrailsforever.org Photo by: Jen Haas Image descriptions: Two pack mules with panniers loaded with supplies.
It is a beautiful sunny Saturday here in the Smokies! Take some time to enjoy the vast natural and cultural resources the Great Smoky Mountains National Park has to offer, from mountain vistas to the butterflies and historic buildings of Cataloochee. Remember to help us preserve and protect the park by leaving what you find and giving another the chance to discover. Photo by: Allison Bate Image description: A yellow and black tiger swallowtail butterfly, resting on a purple ironweed flower in the Cataloochee valley. A historic building can be seen in the background.
In this circa 1933 photo, Louis E. Voorheis sits on the porch of his Twin Creeks home with one of his German Shepherds. Voorheis lived on a 38-acre estate off of Cherokee Orchard Road near Gatlinburg, TN from 1928-1944. Because this area was within the proposed boundary of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Voorheis generously donated his property to the park in 1933. Today, Resource Management and Science staff work in the Twin Creeks Science Center on what was once Voorheis' property! #ThrowbackThursday NPS Photo; Image description: Louis Voorheis sits on his porch with a German Shepherd.
Join us at the Cades Cove Campground Amphitheater this Friday, July 26 at 7:30pm for an evening of storytelling with renowned Cherokee storyteller, Kathi Littlejohn. Kathi is a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, and has been telling stories since 1986. She is well known for delivering her stories in a dramatic, entertaining, expressive and down to earth style. Kathi was a featured artist in 2017 for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s “Eclipse Event” at Clingman’s Dome, and has performed at the National American Indian Museum in Washington, D.C.; in Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia, the Museum of Cherokee Indian in North Carolina, and at festivals and events throughout the region. She is featured in “Living Stories of the Cherokee”, an award winning collection of stories published by the University of North Carolina Press; and is regularly consulted by universities, organizations and schools for her knowledge. Photo Description: Kathi Littlejohn, a Cherokee storyteller.
Whether you’re searching for a waterfall, a scenic overlook, a cool relaxing mountain stream, or just a quiet walk in the woods, the Smokies has got you covered. With over 219 trails and quiet walkways to choose from, totaling more than 850 miles, there is a path here for everyone to find their happy place. #trailstuesday What is your favorite trail in the Great Smoky Mountains? For more information regarding the Smokies Trails Forever program visit: www.smokiestrailsforever.org NPS Photo; Image descriptions: Road Prong Trail; hiking path surrounded by ferns and trees.
IG/TW Camouflage provides protection from predators to many species in the park. This pygmy salamander blends in expertly with dead leaves where it lives, hiding it from its the many predators. If you could have camouflage to blend into your environment, what would you look like? Photo by: Jessie Snow; Photo description: Close-up view of a small reddish-brown salamander that closely matches the color of dead leaves where it is standing.
It's another rainy day in the Smokies, which many creatures, such as this snail, are out enjoying! Remember to be careful this weekend while visiting, packing plenty of protection from the heat and rain. Photo by: Allison Bate Image description: A snail on the brown bark of a hemlock tree.
Join the Eastern Band of Cherokee tonight for Cherokee Storytelling and Dance at Cosby Campground Amphitheater from 7:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. Arrive early for close parking, bring your chair or blanket, and enjoy an evening outside during this week's Celebrating Cosby program. In the event of rain, join us at the Cosby Picnic Pavilion. #GreatSmokyMountainsNPS #CockeCountyPartnership #adventuresideofthesmokies
The dog days of summer call for a dog photo for #ThrowbackThursday ! In this photo circa 1925, Witt, Rachel, and Catherine Ledbetter and Elmer Myers sit on a Cades Cove porch with dogs and puppies. 🐶 NPS Photo; Image description: Two little girls sit holding puppies between two people wearing overalls. Each adult has a dog. The front porch of a home can be seen directly behind them.
In 2015-16, the Alum Cave Trail underwent a complete trail rehabilitation project in which many dilapidated structures were reconstructed in order to provide a safer, easier, and more sustainable path. One of the many highlights hikers will experience along the trail is the famous Arch Rock. #trailstuesday For more information regarding the Smokies Trails forever program visit: www.smokiestrailsforever.org NPS Photo; Image descriptions: Before and After photos of Arch Rock on the Alum Cave Trail.
Have you noticed green “fuzz” on trees in the Smokies? Much of it is lichen, a partnership between fungus and algae or cyanobacteria that grows on trees and rocks. Recently, the high school interns learned to identify some of the more than 900 types of lichen found in the park. Photo by: Jessie Snow; Image description: Two high school interns observing a lichen-covered tree.
The Northern Black Racer is a fast and agile snake. They actively pursue their favorite prey items, like frogs, birds, and small mammals. ‘Racer’ describes them pretty well! Their scientific name is Coluber constrictor constrictor – but they don’t kill their prey by constriction. Instead, they swallow their prey while pressing down on them with the loops of their body. This snake is non-venomous and can be found in shrubby areas at lower elevations in the park. Photo by: Paul Super; image description: Northern Black Racer lifting its head out of a pile of fallen leaves.
There's nothing like the cool breeze off a Smokies stream on a hot day! #ThrowbackThursday Image description: Black and white photo from 1959; a young woman and little boy stand among boulders near a stream. Rhododendron can be seen along the far side of the stream, and a log footbridge crosses the stream in the upper right corner of the photo.
Why so many steps?? In places where trails get significantly steep, staircases can play a crucial role in creating a more sustainable trail by slowing water flow, protecting the trail from erosion, stabilizing the trail tread, and making travel more comfortable for hikers. With an elevation gain of approximately 1500 feet over the span of 1.65 miles, Chimney Tops is an especially steep trail that boasts over 600 steps -- and the view is worth every one of them!! The pinnacles on the Chimney Tops Trail are currently closed. However, the trail is open up to the observation point approximately one quarter mile from the top. #trailstuesday For more information regarding the Smokies Trails forever program visit: www.smokiestrailsforever.org NPS Photo; Image descriptions: Stone staircase on the Chimney Tops Trail
The Smokies are home to over 30 salamander species, which live in damp places, usually under rocks and in shallow streams or pools. These slimy little creatures breathe out of their skin, so thank you for not touching them! Where have you seen a salamander in the park? Post and Photo by: High School Intern Hunter C. Image Description: A small dusky salamander perched on a rock on the edge of the water.
Flowers aren't the only pops of color in the Smokies! Be on the lookout for colorful fungi like this one while hiking. Remember to take only pictures, leave only footprints, and give another the chance to discover! Photo by: Allison Bate Image description: A red and orange mushroom standing alone among brown leaves.
The Northen Watersnake (Nerodia sipedon sipedon ) can be found in and around the streams in the Smokies. When approached it will usually freeze and then flee to the nearest water. Its bite is unpleasant but NOT venomous. The only aquatic venomous snake in North America is the Cottonmouth which is not found in the Smokies. Photo by: Warren Bielenberg; image description: a Northern Watersnake resting between rocks and wood.
Happy Independence Day! Planning on some outdoor fun in the park to celebrate? If you'll be here today, be sure to pack your patience: holidays always bring big crowds. Whether you'll be driving, hiking, camping, or picnicking, bringing plenty of water and snacks and picking up a map at one of our visitor centers will help you to have a great visit! #ThrowbackThursday NPS photo; Image description: Black and white 1957 photo. A man, woman, and little girl look at a map in Cades Cove. A car is parked behind them in a pullout.
Looking for something fun and free to do while you’re spending the holiday weekend in the park? Attend a Ranger led program to become a Junior Ranger or Not-So-Junior-Ranger! With a wide variety of programs to choose from, there’s something for everyone. Stop by a Visitor Center to get a Smokies Guide, or visit https://www.smokiesinformation.org/official-park-newspaper for more information about programs. Photo: W. Bielenberg Photo description: Ranger Caitlin swearing in Junior Rangers.
With rain in the forecast for the rest of the week, keep an eye out for the tiny treasures that enjoy the extra humidity! Our summer high school interns have found that snails don't mind "working" in wet conditions! Photo by: High School Intern, Emily B. Photo Description: A small snail on tree bark.
Why, hello there! Looking for something to do this Saturday morning? Discover Life in America, a park partner, is hosting a Smokies Species Day at the Sugarlands Visitor Center, today from 10am to 2pm. Come on by and learn about the vast biodiversity that exists in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park! From grasshoppers to fungi, there's so much to see! Photo by: Allison Bate Image Description: A bright green and orange grasshopper perched on a twig.