About Jackson County
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Jackson County serves at the eastern gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which attracts the most visitors annually of any national park. The 800 square mile park, shared by North Carolina and Tennessee, is considered one of the most ecologically diverse of the parks in the national system. The Great Smoky Mountains get this unusualname from the mist-like blue haze that often covers the peaks. This haze is produced by the moist enviroment of streams and waterfalls interacting with the think vegetation.The Cherokee name for the area, shaconage, means "place of blue smoke". Outdoor activities are popular in the park, which is the only one in the national systtem that does not charge entrance fees.
The Parkway runs 469 miles through mountain meadows and endless vistas. It was authorized in the 1930s as a Depression-era public works project, and was more than half a century in the making. It was the nation's first and ultimately longest, rural parkway connecting Shenandoah National Park in North Carolina. The Parkway is an excellent place to spend a day touring with a picnic in tow.
The mountains are just waiting to be explored. There are trails for all abilities that will take you from the valley low to the mountain peak. There is plenty of information to be had at one of our local bookstores where you'll find hiking books authorized by those who have tread the trails and knowledgeable guide books to local flora and fauna to help you make the most of your trek. The famous 2,175 mile long Appalachian Trail runs through the mountains of Western North Carolina. Several smaller trails cross portions of the Apalachian Trail.