Once at the park, I stopped at the Sugarlands visitor center, then followed Newfound Gap Road. This road runs at an angle through the park, and comes out at Cherokee, NC.
The bluish mist, which clings to the mountainsides and fills the valleys, gives the park its name.
The park encompasses over 800 square miles. There are over 270 miles of road, most paved, and the gravel roads are maintained in suitable condition for standard passenger cars. There are eleven self-guiding nature trails available, as well as selected trails designated as "Quiet Walkways."
One of the nation's largest collections of historic log buildings is within the park, including homes, schools, mills and churches of the mountain people.
There are more species of trees here than in northern Europe, 1,500 flowering plants, dozens of native fish, more than 200 species of birds and more than 60 species of mammals. No place this size in a temperate climate can match the Great Smoky Mountains National Park's variety of plant and animal species.
This information is from the pamphlet distributed by the rangers at the park.
Newfound Gap is at an elevation of 5,046 feet above sea level. The Tennessee-North Carolina border crosses Newfound Gap east-to-west, as does the Appalachian Trail.
Newfound Gap is the lowest drivable pass through the Great Smoky Mountains, standing at an elevation of 5048 feet.
Also at Newfound Gap is the Rockefeller Memorial. A two-tiered stone structure, this monument is a thank you to the Rockefeller family's $5 million donation to complete the Park's land acquisition.