Great Smoky Mountains National Park vs. Gateway Arch 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 Gateway Arch 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!

Gateway Arch National Park Overview

The Gateway Arch reflects St. Louis’ role in the Westward Expansion of the United States during the nineteenth century. The park is a memorial to Thomas Jefferson’s role in opening the West, to the pioneers who helped shape its history, and to Dred Scott who sued for his freedom in the Old Courthouse.

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 Gateway Arch National Park

Gateway Arch National Park is home to some of the best hiking trails in the country. The easiest trail is the Riverfront Trail, which runs along the Mississippi River and is perfect for a leisurely stroll. For something more challenging, try the Crissy Field West Bluff Trail, which offers stunning views of San Francisco Bay. Finally, the most difficult hike in the park is the Muir Woods Trail, which winds its way through dense forest and includes a steep climb to the top of Mount Tamalpais. Whichever trail you choose, you’re sure to have an enjoyable experience at Gateway Arch National Park.

Top 10 Hiking Trails at Gateway Arch National Park

Hike Name Elevation Gain Difficulty Rating Type Average Rating
St. Louis Riverfront Trail 109.728 1 loop 4
Jefferson National Expansion Memorial 20.7264 1 loop 4

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 Gateway Arch National Park

Gateway Arch National Park is home to a diverse array of wildlife, including both plants and animals. The park is home to over 100 species of trees, as well as numerous shrubs, vines, and wildflowers. Visitors can also expect to see a variety of birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians. Some of the more popular animals include deer, squirrels, raccoons, and opossums. The park also has a wide variety of fish, including bass, catfish, and sunfish. With so much wildlife to explore, Gateway Arch National Park is a must-visit for any nature lover.

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.

Gateway Arch National Park Weather Considerations

Gateway Arch National Park is a beautiful place to visit all year round, but the weather can vary greatly depending on the time of year. The best time to visit if you’re looking for mild temperatures and low humidity is spring or fall. However, if you don’t mind a little heat, summer can also be a great time to enjoy all the park has to offer. The worst time to visit Gateway Arch National Park is during the winter, when temperatures can dip below freezing and the wind chill can make it feel even colder. If you do decide to visit during the winter, be sure to dress warmly and pack plenty of food and water. No matter when you visit Gateway Arch National Park, though, you’re sure to have a memorable experience.