• Approximately 1,500 black bears live in the national park.

    Great Smoky Mountains

    National Park NC,TN

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  • Trail Advisory

    Several trails in the park are temporarily closed. Please check the "Backcountry Facilities" section of the Temporary Road and Facilities Closures page for further details. More »

Smoky Mountain Timeline

1540
Hernando De Soto explores the southern Appalachian Mountains and encounters the Cherokee who had inhabited the region for centuries.

 
Botanist and explorer William Bartram

Portrait of explorer William Bartram by Charles Willson Peale.

1775
Botanist William Bartram explores the southern Appalachians.

1795
Mingus and Hughes families clear homesteads in Oconaluftee River Valley.

1814
Caldwells establish first homestead in Cataloochee Valley.

Circa 1818-1821
First non-Indians settle in Cades Cove.

1819
Cherokee relinquish claim to the last of their lands in the Smoky Mountains.

1830
Population of Cades Cove is 271.

1838-39
Most of Cherokee tribe moved from Southeast to Oklahoma along the "Trail of Tears."

1839
Oconaluftee Turnpike between Oconaluftee and Indian Gap completed.

1850
Population of Cades Cove is 685.

1861-1865
American Civil War. Mountaineers are divided in their allegiances. Raiders on both sides frequently seize food, livestock, and other supplies from residents.

Circa 1870-75
John P. Cable Mill built in Cades Cove.

1882
Little Greenbrier School built.

1886
Mingus Mill built.

1900
Population of Cades Cove is 708.

1903-4
Lumber companies set up operations on Eagle and Hazel creeks.

1908
Elkmont logging camp constructed.

1910
Population of Cataloochee is 1,251.

 
Author Horace Kephart

Author Horace Kephart wrote several books about the Great Smoky Mountains region, including Our Southern Highlanders.

1913
Horace Kephart's Our Southern Highlanders is published.

1934
Great Smoky Mountains National Park is established.

1939
Little River Lumber Company finishes cutting timber in the Tremont area.

Did You Know?

An experimental program to reintroduce elk to the park was begun in 2001.

An experimental program to reintroduce elk to the park was begun in 2001. Elk once roamed the Smokies, but were eliminated from the region in the mid 1800s by over-hunting and loss of habitat. Other animals successfully reintroduced to the park include river otters and barn owls. More...