America's most visited--Great Smoky Mountains National Park where salamanders outweigh the bears

Jul 21, 2017

National Park Ranger Jennifer Hale on the trail near Sugarlands Visitors Center at Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Credit Thomas Wilmer

Correspondent Tom Wilmer reports from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park at the Sugarlands Visitors Center, just 11 miles from Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

Ranger, Jennifer Hale talks about the park’s astounding biodiversity, activities and history.

Ranger Lloyd Luketin joins us at the Cades Cove Visitors Center for more insights about the most popular National Park in America with more than 11 million visitors annually. 

Mountains and meadows in Cades Cove region of Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Credit Thomas Wilmer

The Blue Ridge Parkway and the Appalachian Trail wend their legendary way through the Park.

The park encompasses 535,000 acres with more than 1,600 resident bears—two per square mile so “bear Jams” back ups on the roadways are a frequent occurrence.

Bears close to the roadway en route to Cades Cove
Credit Thomas Wilmer

Link to NPR Great Smoky Mountains National Park segment produced in conjunction with NPS 100th Anniversary

NPS logo
Credit National Park Service

You are invited to subscribe to the Lowell Thomas award-winning NPR Podcast travel show Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer via: 

Apple Podcast

NPR.ORG Podcast Directory

NPR One (APP) (Germany)

ivoox (Spain)


Follow Tom on Social Media

Twitter: TomCWilmer

Instagram: Thomas.Wilmer




Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer 2016, 2015, 2013 Lowell Thomas Award winner
Credit SATW Foundation