Great Smoky Mountains
The Great Smoky Mountains are a wonderful forested mountain range characterized by deep V shaped valleys and a diverse ecosystem that escaped the glaciers of the Pleistocene era. Described as "the most important natural area in the eastern United States", the park contains a striking abundance of flora and fauna, including the largest stand of Virgin Red Spruce and the largest variety of Salamanders. The unique diversity of the ecosystem is sufficient to earn the park a status as UN Biosphere as well as World Heritage status. Archaeological evidence has been found indicating use by humans as far back as 15,000 years. More recently, the area was home to the Cherokee Indians and eventually settled by Europeans. The park was created in 1926 along with Shenandoah National Park and straddles the Tennessee and North Carolina border. As a result of being already inhabited at it's creation the park contains the largest collection of log buildings in the U.S. It is one of the many stops along the Appalachian Trail and sees over 8 million visitors each year, making it the most visited National Park.