Did you know about the latest attraction to check out in this natural wonder?

By Perri Ormont Blumberg
March 22, 2019
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Credit: Jason Langley/Getty Images

In no small part thanks to its sweeping vistas and natural wonders (hello, waterfalls, wildflowers, forests) Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited national park in the country.

Now, the majestic park — nestled between North Carolina and Tennessee — just outdid itself. In 2018, the park welcomed a record-breaking 11.4 million visitors, a growth of around .7% over the previous year. The influx in visitors is due to the opening of a new section of the Foothills Parkway located between Walland and Wears Valley, Tennessee. Opened on November 10th, 2018 and once known as the "missing link," the two-mile road is well worth a detour on a trip to the Smokies.

"The new section of the Foothills Parkway is a spectacular scenic driving destination and we're pleased that so many people have already enjoyed it," said park Superintendent Cassius Cash in a statement, per the Knoxville News Sentinel. "We hope that people take the time to explore it across the seasons."

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In November and December 2018, almost 200,000 travelers journeyed to this new area. "If you want the best view of the highest mountains in the eastern United States, you'll drive the Foothills Parkway. The scene is so magnificent that it surprises even those of us who have grown up admiring the Smokies," Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander said of the Parkway's stellar scenery.

What's your favorite part of the Great Smoky Mountains? We're dreaming of venturing to Cades Cove, Clingmans Dove, and the Laurel Falls Trail.