Sugarlands Visitor Center
As you head into the Smoky Mountains area, you’ll see a welcome center or two as you make your way to Carrs. One of the most popular and also a favorite of ours is the Sugarlands Visitor Center. Sugarlands is an ideal place to start your Smoky Mountain National Park tour because of the wealth of information you’ll have right at your fingertips the minute you walk in their doors!
The guest lobby welcomes you to view a National Park topographic map diorama, pick up pamphlets and a park trails map, and even talk with Park Rangers who are happy to answer your guests about trails, waterfalls, and picnic spots and even make “must see” recommendations.
The visitor’s center features a natural history museum with lots of exhibits and an excellent 20-minute film about the park, both free of charge. The Bookstore sells books and printed guides that will help you make the most of your mountain adventures whether you are planning to picnic, hike the trails, go bird watching or search for wildflowers. We especially love all the great items available for kids that get them excited about our International Biosphere such as Jr. Ranger guides, stuffed and figurine animals, trading cards and more. And, every item that is purchased through the welcome center bookstore supports the National Park. Every birthday present, book, mountain music CD or Smoky Mountain souvenir you take home with you is a gift that keeps on giving!
There is plenty of free parking at Sugarlands, and you can easily spend the best part of a day there. You’ll find drink vending machines, restrooms, and plenty of grounds to enjoy a picnic. From spring through fall, special events take place that will have you walking, hiking and discovering the bounty of the Great Smoky Mountains. Check out the National Park Service events calendar here. Most of the events held in the park are free!
Want to enjoy a short and easy hike? The Gatlinburg Trail extends 1.9 miles (one-way) from the Sugarlands to the edge of Gatlinburg and runs through the forest along the Little Pigeon River. You’ll have a relatively flat stroll with nice river views and even cross a footbridge.
When you leave Carr’s Cottages to head to Sugarlands, travel through downtown Gatlinburg and continue through light #10. There are plenty of signs to get you to the right spot; the welcome center is approximately 2 miles on the right. Have a great time and remember your Smoky Mountain souvenirs!
Sugarlands Visitor Center Address: 1420 Old State Highway 73 Scenic, Gatlinburg, TN 37738
Phone Number: (865) 436-1200
Sugarlands Visitor Hours: Closed on Christmas Day
September – October: 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
November: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
December – February: 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
March: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
April – May: 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
June – August: 8 a.m. – 7 p.m.