Great Smoky Mountains National Park vs. Black Canyon Of The Gunnison National Park

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If you’re planning a vacation and would like a quick comparison of Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Black Canyon Of The Gunnison National Park, we’ve got you covered.

We’ll take a look at what they have to offer in terms of hiking and wildlife, plus what the best time of year to visit might be.

Let’s get started with an overview of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Overview

Ridge upon ridge of forest straddles the border between North Carolina and Tennessee in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. World renowned for its diversity of plant and animal life, the beauty of its ancient mountains, and the quality of its remnants of Southern Appalachian mountain culture, this is America’s most visited national park. Plan your visit today!

Black Canyon Of The Gunnison National Park Overview

Big enough to be overwhelming, still intimate enough to feel the pulse of time, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park exposes you to some of the steepest cliffs, oldest rock, and craggiest spires in North America. With two million years to work, the Gunnison River, along with the forces of weathering, has sculpted this vertical wilderness of rock, water, and sky.

Hiking At National Parks

Most national parks have some of the best hiking trails you’ll find anywhere in the US.

If you’re planning to take along your furry friend, double-check the rules before you go – as many of the parks have different rules about bringing animals along with you.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Hiking Trails

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the best places to hike in the United States. The park has over 800 miles of trails, ranging from easy to difficult. For hikers who are looking for an easy hike, the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail is a great option. This 5-mile roundtrip hike winds through a beautiful forest and is mostly flat. For those looking for a more challenging hike, the 210-mile Appalachian Trail runs through Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This hike is not for the faint of heart, but those who complete it are rewarded with stunning views of the mountains. No matter what your hiking level, Great Smoky Mountains National Park has a trail for you.

Best Hikes At Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The ratings below are based on user-submitted data at AllTrails.com

Hike Name Elevation Gain Difficulty Rating Type Average Rating
Jakes Creek Trail to Avent Cabin 146.9136 1 out and back 4.5
Mount Le Conte 993.9528 5 out and back 5
Gregory Bald via Twentymile 1145.7432 7 loop 4.5
Smokemont Loop Trail 428.8536 3 loop 4
Chestnut Branch Trail to Mount Cammerer 1005.84 5 out and back 4.5
Silers Bald and Forney Creek Loop Trail 1589.8368 7 loop 4.5
Cataloochee Divide Trail 850.6968 5 out and back 4.5
Chestnut Top Trail to Whiteoak Sink 602.8944 3 out and back 4
Brushy Mountain 528.828 5 out and back 4
Noland Divide Trail 1457.8584 5 point to point 4

Hiking Overview at Black Canyon Of The Gunnison National Park

Black Canyon Of The Gunnison National Park is a hiker’s paradise, offering something for everyone from easy, scenic walks to challenging multi-day treks. Some of the most popular trails include the Chasm View Nature Trail, which offers stunning views of the Black Canyon; the Warner Point Nature Trail, which leads to a viewing platform overlooking the Gunnison River; and the Soapstone Nature Trail, which winds through a forest of aspen trees. For those looking for a more challenging hike, the Black Canyon Trail offers a strenuous 16-mile round trip that takes hikers down into the Black Canyon itself. Regardless of your hiking experience or fitness level, Black Canyon Of The Gunnison National Park has a trail that’s perfect for you.

Top 10 Hiking Trails at Black Canyon Of The Gunnison National Park

Hike Name Elevation Gain Difficulty Rating Type Average Rating
Gunnison Point Overlook 23.7744 1 out and back 4.5
Rim Rock Nature Trail 56.9976 3 out and back 4
Warner Route 924.7632 7 out and back 4.5
Cedar Point Nature Trail 4.8768 3 out and back 4.5
Dragon Point Trail 17.9832 1 out and back 4.5
High Point Trail 9.7536 3 out and back 4
East Portal Trail 5.7912 1 out and back 4
Pulpit Rock Overlook Trail 4.8768 1 out and back 4
Cross Fissures Trail 34.7472 1 out and back 4.5
Devils Lookout Trail 19.812 1 out and back 4.5

Wildlife at Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is home to an incredible diversity of plant and animal life. Over 10,000 species of plants and animals can be found throughout the park, making it one of the most biologically diverse areas in the world. Among the most popular animals in the park are black bears, white-tailed deer, elk, coyotes, and Great Smoky Mountains National Park bees. Great Smoky Mountains National Park is also home to a wide variety of bird species, including sandpipers, herons, woodpeckers, and red-tailed hawks. In addition to its abundance of wildlife, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is also home to some of the tallest trees in the eastern United States. The park’s forests are dominated by fir and hemlock trees, but you can also find maple, oak, and poplar trees throughout the park. No matter what time of year you visit Great Smoky Mountains National Park, there’s sure to be something new and exciting to see.

Wildlife at Black Canyon Of The Gunnison National Park

Black Canyon Of The Gunnison National Park is home to an abundance of wildlife. You can expect to see animals such as bighorn sheep, elk, mule deer, coyotes, and red-tailed hawks. Plant life includes scrub oak, pinyon pine, juniper, and sagebrush. The variety of wildlife and vegetation creates a habitat that is perfect for hiking, bird watching, and wildlife photography. So come on down to Black Canyon Of The Gunnison National Park and get up close and personal with the amazing wildlife that calls this place home.

What’s the best time to visit?

A lot of times, weather can dictate when it makes the most sense to visit a particular national park.

Plus, depending on the types of activities you’re hoping to take part in, seasonality will be a huge factor in whether those things are even available.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Weather Considerations

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a beautiful place to visit any time of year. However, the weather can vary significantly depending on the season. In the winter, the temperatures can dip well below freezing, and the roads may be covered in ice and snow. Spring is a great time to visit, as the temperatures are milder and the flowers are in bloom. However, visitors should be aware that thunderstorms are common in the spring. Summer is the busiest time of year at Great Smoky Mountains National Park, as the weather is warm and sunny. However, visitors should be prepared for occasional afternoon showers. Fall is another great time to visit Great Smoky Mountains National Park, as the leaves change color and the crowds thin out. However, visitors should be aware that cold weather can arrive early in the fall, so it’s important to pack a jacket.

Black Canyon Of The Gunnison National Park Weather Considerations

Black Canyon Of The Gunnison National Park is one of the most beautiful places in the United States. The canyon is extremely deep and narrow, and the views are simply stunning. However, the weather at Black Canyon can be quite extreme, and it’s important to know what to expect before you visit.

The best time to visit Black Canyon is during the spring or fall. The weather is milder during these months, and there are usually fewer crowds. However, if you’re planning on doing any hiking, be aware that the trails can be very icy in the spring.

The worst time to visit Black Canyon is during the summer. It can be incredibly hot in the canyon, and there is very little shade. If you do decide to visit during the summer, make sure to bring plenty of water and sunscreen.