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

    Great Smoky Mountains

    National Park NC,TN

The Southern Appalachians: The Perfect Place for Research

room in house at Purchase

Typical bunk room for up to 5 at Purchase Knob, Great Smoky Mountains NP, NC.

NPS

Lodging for Researchers in the Network Parks

Appalachian Highlands Parks (Smokies and Blue Ridge Parkway)

  • Purchase KnobThe house at Purchase Knob (Haywood County, North Carolina, just north of Maggie Valley) and 535 acres were donated to Great Smoky Mountains National Park in 2001 and are managed as a high elevation research and education station within the National Park. The house, at 4900 ft elevation, has three bedrooms with up to 10 bed spaces, showers, full kitchen, internet access, and laundry facilities for $15.00 per person per night. There are also 5 tent platforms for $5 per platform per night, with access only to flush toilets. Visitors are requested to bring their own tents and sleeping bags/linens, though other arrangements can be made. A small lab facility and a conference room that can hold up to 50 are also available. Researchers with valid NPS research permits can request use of the facility from the Research Coordinator, (828) 926-6251.
  • Great Smoky Mountains National ParkBesides facilities at Purchase Knob, the park sometimes has housing units, camper pads, and/or camp sites available for researchers with valid NPS research permits. Costs of housing units vary and are rented for a minimum of 7 nights per stay. For more information on availability, contact Research Coordinator, (828) 926-6251. For reserving public campsites in the park (Cades Cove, Elkmont, Smokemont, and others): 1-877-444-6777 (on-line search park name "Great Smoky").
  • Blue Ridge ParkwayThere is no designated researcher housing on the Blue Ridge Parkway. There are nine campgrounds along with the Parkway (open early May through fall color season), lodges at Peaks of Otter, Rocky Knob, Doughton Park, and Mount Pisgah, and a wide selection of private lodging and camping facilities in the adjacent communities. Purchase Knob may also be convenient for the southern-most 50 miles.
  • University of Tennessee Greenbrier Field StationThe Station, along with 17 acres, was donated to the Division of Biology in 1999. It is located in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, in the Greenbrier area, adjacent to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Station is composed of three separate buildings. The buildings can be reserved as needed for the size of group involved. Contact Biology Service Facility, (865) 974-4219.
  • Highlands Biological StationThe Station in Highlands, North Carolina, is approximately 50 miles south of Great Smoky Mountains National Park's Oconaluftee Visitor Center. The station has lodging for research and education groups, classroom and laboratory space on site. Contact (828) 526-2602.

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Cumberland Plateau Parks (Obed River and Big South Fork)

  • Big South Fork National River and Recreation AreaContact the Research Coordinator, (828) 926-6251, for information about lodging options at Big South Fork.
  • Obed Wild and Scenic RiverThere is no designated researcher housing in this park. Camping is permitted at the Rock Creek Campground and there are some motel rooms in Wartburg, TN, outside of the park.

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Did You Know?

Marbled salamanders are one of 30 salamander species native to the park.

There are at least 30 different species of salamanders in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This gives the Smokies the distinction of having the most diverse salamander population anywhere in the world and has earned the park the nickname “Salamander Capital of the World.” More...