Biscayne National Park vs Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Feel Free To Share:

Biscayne National Park and Great Smoky Mountains National Park are two very different parks with unique landscapes and experiences to offer. Biscayne National Park, located in Florida, is a tropical paradise with crystal clear waters, coral reefs, and mangrove forests. On the other hand, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, located in Tennessee and North Carolina, is a lush mountain range with cascading waterfalls, misty peaks, and dense forests. Both parks offer visitors the chance to explore the beauty of nature, but in vastly different ways. Whether you’re a beach lover or a mountain enthusiast, these two parks have something for everyone. So pack your bags, grab your hiking boots and get ready for an adventure of a lifetime as we explore these two national treasures.

Hiking Trails in Biscayne National Park and Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Biscayne National Park and Great Smoky Mountains National Park offer vastly different hiking experiences. Biscayne National Park, located on the coast of Florida, offers visitors the opportunity to hike through mangrove forests and along sandy shores. The park has several easy hiking trails, including the Biscayne Nature Center Trail, which is a half-mile long and leads visitors through a mangrove forest, and the Conch Key Marina Trail, which is a 1-mile long and offers views of the ocean and mangrove trees. The park also offers longer and more challenging hikes, such as the Jones Lagoon Trail, which is a 3.5-mile long hike through mangrove forest and offers views of the ocean.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, located in Tennessee and North Carolina, offers visitors the opportunity to hike through a variety of different ecosystems, including hardwood forests, high-elevation spruce-fir forests, and alpine tundra. The park has several easy hiking trails, such as the Sugarlands Valley Nature Trail, which is a half-mile long and leads visitors through a hardwood forest, and the Laurel Falls Trail, which is 2.6 miles long and leads visitors to a beautiful waterfall. The park also offers longer and more challenging hikes, such as the Alum Cave Trail, which is a 5-mile long hike to the top of Mount LeConte and offers views of the surrounding mountains.

Overall, both parks offer a variety of hiking experiences, but Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers a greater variety of ecosystems and more challenging hikes, while Biscayne National Park offers the unique opportunity to hike through mangrove forests and along sandy shores.

Most Popular Hiking Trails in Biscayne National Park

Name Length Elevation Type Difficulty Visitor Ratings
Biscayne National Park Walk 9.88 mi 3.28 ft out and back Easy 4/5
Black Creek Canal Trail 1.70 mi 3.28 ft out and back Easy 4/5
Jetty Trail 0.90 mi 0.00 ft out and back Easy 4/5
Boca Chita Trail 0.80 mi 3.28 ft loop Easy 3/5

Most Popular Hiking Trails in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Name Length Elevation Type Difficulty Visitor Ratings
Alum Cave Trail to Mount LeConte 10.68 mi 3,007.76 ft out and back Hard 5/5
Chimney Tops Trail 3.59 mi 1,289.04 ft out and back Hard 4.5/5
Rainbow Falls Trail 5.49 mi 1,653.12 ft out and back Moderate 4.5/5
Grotto Falls Trail 2.59 mi 534.64 ft out and back Moderate 4.5/5
Laurel Falls Trail 2.40 mi 396.88 ft out and back Easy 4/5
Abrams Falls Trail 4.89 mi 629.76 ft out and back Moderate 4.5/5
Clingmans Dome Observation Tower Trail 1.20 mi 331.28 ft out and back Easy 4.5/5
Charlies Bunion via Appalachian Trail 8.58 mi 1,981.12 ft out and back Moderate 4.5/5
Ramsey Cascades Trail 8.08 mi 2,223.84 ft out and back Hard 4.5/5
Peregrine Peak via Alum Cave Bluffs Trail 4.19 mi 1,059.44 ft out and back Moderate 5/5

Wildlife in Biscayne National Park and Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Biscayne National Park and Great Smoky Mountains National Park are both home to a wide variety of wildlife. However, the types of animals, birds, and plants that can be seen vary greatly between the two parks due to the difference in their geographical location and ecosystems.

Biscayne National Park, located in southern Florida, is home to a wide variety of marine life. Visitors can spot a variety of fish, including parrotfish, angelfish, and barracuda, as well as sea turtles, manatees, and dolphins. The park’s coral reefs are also home to a wide variety of colorful marine invertebrates, such as starfish, sea urchins, and sponges. The park also has several mangrove swamps, which are home to a diverse array of birds, including ospreys, pelicans, and herons.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, located in Tennessee and North Carolina, is home to a wide variety of terrestrial wildlife. Visitors can spot a variety of mammals, including black bears, white-tailed deer, and elk. The park is also home to a variety of birds, including the Eastern turkey, pileated woodpecker, and the scarlet tanager. The park is also famous for its salamanders and other amphibians, it is the most diverse place in the world in terms of salamander species. The park also has a wide variety of plant life, with over 1,500 species of flowering plants and more than 100 species of trees.

In summary, Biscayne National Park is known for its marine life and coral reefs, while Great Smoky Mountains National Park is known for its terrestrial wildlife, birds, and diverse plant life. Both parks offer visitors the opportunity to see a wide variety of wildlife, but the types of animals, birds, and plants that can be seen vary greatly between the two parks.

Below are lists of the most commonly spotted wildlife at Biscayne National Park and Great Smoky Mountains National Park. However, you can see a full list of wildlife at each national park here.

Birds

Biscayne National Park Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Peregrine Falcon Peregrine Falcon
Northern Harrier Northern Harrier
Sharp-Shinned Hawk Sharp-Shinned Hawk
Osprey Osprey
Tree Swallow Tree Swallow
Ruby-Crowned Kinglet Mallard
American Robin Canada Goose
Red-Tailed Hawk Lincoln’s Sparrow
Northern Flicker Ruby-Crowned Kinglet
Merlin American Robin
Barn Swallow Great Horned Owl
Savannah Sparrow Red-Tailed Hawk
Great Blue Heron Northern Flicker
American Kestrel Merlin
Bald Eagle Barn Swallow
Song Sparrow Savannah Sparrow
European Starling Great Blue Heron
Northern Pintail Hermit Thrush
American Wigeon American Kestrel
American Pipit Bald Eagle
Swainson’s Thrush Song Sparrow
Killdeer European Starling
Brown-Headed Cowbird Northern Pintail
Red-Winged Blackbird American Wigeon
Blue-Winged Teal Green-Winged Teal

Mammals

Biscayne National Park Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Bobcat Coyote
Striped Skunk American Beaver
Raccoon Muskrat
House Mouse Big Brown Bat
Common Gray Fox Bobcat
Brazilian Free-Tailed Bat Striped Skunk
White-Tailed Deer Little Brown Bat
Virginia Opossum Deer Mouse
Black Rat Raccoon
Eastern Gray Squirrel Black Bear
Least Shrew Porcupine
Silver-Haired Bat
Hoary Bat
Red Fox
Long-Tailed Weasel
House Mouse
Panther (Mountain Lion)
Mink
Gray Fox
Gray Wolf
Snowshoe Hare
River Otter
Masked Shrew
Water Shrew
Red Squirrel

Fish

Biscayne National Park Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Largemouth Bass Rainbow Trout
Bluegill Brook Trout
Golden Shiner Brown Trout
Common Carp Largemouth Bass
Yellow Bullhead Green Sunfish
Black Crappie Bluegill
Brown Bullhead Common Carp
Longnose Dace
Yellow Bullhead
Channel Catfish
Black Crappie
Black Bullhead
Mosquitofish
Creek Chub
Goldfish
Smallmouth Bass

Insects

Biscayne National Park Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Honey Bee Orange Sulphur
Painted Lady
Monarch
American Painted Lady
Red Admiral
Mourning Cloak
Cabbage White
Silvery Blue
Common Checkered Skipper
Common Sulphur
Honey Bee
Variegated Fritillary
Buckeye
Commom Wood Nymph
Gray Hairstreak

Beautiful Landscapes in Biscayne National Park and Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Biscayne National Park, located in southern Florida, is known for its crystal clear waters and coral reefs, which are home to a diverse array of marine life. Visitors can explore these underwater wonders through snorkeling, diving, and boat tours. On land, the park’s mangrove forests and coastal hammocks provide habitat for a variety of bird species, including the endangered white crowned pigeon.

On the other hand, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, located in Tennessee and North Carolina, is known for its majestic mountain ranges, lush forests, and cascading waterfalls. The park is home to an abundance of wildlife, including black bears, elk, and white-tailed deer. Visitors can explore the park’s beauty through hiking on over 800 miles of trails, including the popular Alum Cave Trail and the strenuous hike to the summit of Clingmans Dome, which offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. Whether you’re a nature lover or an adventure seeker, both Biscayne National Park and Great Smoky Mountains National Park offer unique and stunning landscapes that will leave you in awe.

Things To-Do and Activities in Biscayne National Park and Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Biscayne National Park and Great Smoky Mountains National Park are both popular destinations for outdoor enthusiasts, but the types of activities that are popular at the two parks are quite different due to the difference in their geographical location and ecosystems.

Biscayne National Park, located in southern Florida, is known for its water-based activities. Visitors can go snorkeling, scuba diving, and kayaking in the park’s clear waters to explore the coral reefs and marine life. Fishing is also a popular activity in the park, with visitors able to fish from the shore or by boat. The park also has several hiking trails, including the Biscayne Nature Center Trail and the Bear Cut Preserve Trail, which offer visitors the opportunity to explore the park’s mangrove swamps and coastal hammocks.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, located in Tennessee and North Carolina, is known for its hiking and backpacking trails. The park has more than 800 miles of trails, ranging from easy nature walks to strenuous backcountry treks. Some of the most popular trails include the Alum Cave Bluffs Trail, the Chimneys Picnic Area Trail, and the Clingmans Dome Trail. Camping is another popular activity in the park, with several campgrounds and backcountry campsites available for visitors. The park also offers visitors the opportunity to go fishing, horseback riding, and wildlife watching.

In summary, Biscayne National Park is known for its water-based activities and hiking, while Great Smoky Mountains National Park is known for its hiking, camping, and backpacking. Both parks offer visitors the opportunity to enjoy a wide variety of outdoor activities, but the types of activities that are popular at the two parks are quite different due to the difference in their geographical location and ecosystems.

Best Time to Visit Biscayne National Park and Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Biscayne National Park and Great Smoky Mountains National Park are two very different national parks that offer unique experiences for visitors. Biscayne National Park is located in southern Florida, and is primarily a water-based park, with the majority of the park being located on Biscayne Bay. The park features a diverse array of marine life and coral reefs, as well as several mangrove swamps and hardwood hammocks. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, on the other hand, is located in the southern Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee. The park is known for its diverse array of plant and animal life, as well as its beautiful mountain vistas and waterfalls.

The seasonal weather at Biscayne National Park is primarily hot and humid, with temperatures ranging from the low 70s to the low 90s. The best time to visit the park is during the winter months, when temperatures are cooler and the humidity is lower. The park is also less crowded during this time of year. In contrast, Great Smoky Mountains National Park experiences four distinct seasons, with warm summers and cool winters. The best time to visit the park is during the spring and fall, when temperatures are mild and the park’s foliage is at its peak.

When it comes to hiking trails, Biscayne National Park offers a few easy and short hikes, such as the Biscayne Nature Center’s Mangrove Swamp Trail, a 0.5 mile boardwalk that winds through a coastal mangrove swamp. The park also offers several guided canoe and kayak tours, where visitors can explore the park’s beautiful waters and see a variety of marine life. On the other hand, Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers a wide range of hiking trails, from easy, paved trails to strenuous backcountry trails that climb to the top of the park’s highest peaks. Some of the most popular hikes in the park include the Alum Cave Trail, a moderate hike that leads to a beautiful cave and mountain vista, and the strenuous hike to the summit of Clingmans Dome, the park’s highest point.

In conclusion, Biscayne National Park and Great Smoky Mountains National Park are both beautiful and unique national parks that offer visitors a wide range of activities and experiences. While Biscayne National Park is a great place to explore the underwater world and Great Smoky Mountains National Park is perfect for those who love hiking and nature. The best time to visit the parks depends on what you’re looking for in terms of weather and crowd levels. If you’re looking to beat the heat and avoid crowds, Biscayne National Park is best visited in the winter, and if you’re looking to experience the park’s beautiful foliage and mild temperatures, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is best visited in the spring and fall.

Family Friendliness of Biscayne National Park and Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Biscayne National Park and Great Smoky Mountains National Park are both popular destinations for families, but they offer very different experiences. Biscayne National Park, located in Florida, is a subtropical paradise of crystal-clear waters and vibrant coral reefs, which makes it a great destination for snorkeling, diving, and fishing. The park also offers opportunities for kayaking, boating, and birdwatching, as well as ranger-led programs that are suitable for all ages.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, located in Tennessee and North Carolina, is one of the most visited national parks in the United States. It is known for its beautiful mountain vistas, cascading waterfalls, and diverse wildlife. The park has a wide range of hiking trails that are suitable for families, including the easy, paved trail to Grotto Falls. Additionally, the park also offers a variety of ranger-led programs and activities that are geared towards children, including campfire talks and Junior Ranger programs.

In conclusion, both parks are family-friendly and great for outdoor activities. However, if your family is looking for a more beach-oriented vacation with water activities, Biscayne National Park would be a better option. But if you prefer hiking and mountain vistas, Great Smoky Mountains National Park would be the best choice.

Leave a Comment