Great Smoky Mountains National Park vs. Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve

Feel Free To Share:

If you’re planning a vacation and would like a quick comparison of Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve, 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!

Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve Overview

Covering 3.3 million acres of rugged mountains, dynamic glaciers, temperate rainforest, wild coastlines and deep sheltered fjords, Glacier Bay National Park is a highlight of Alaska’s Inside Passage and part of a 25-million acre World Heritage Site—one of the world’s largest international protected areas. From sea to summit, Glacier Bay offers limitless opportunities for adventure and inspiration.

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 Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve

Glacier Bay National Park is one of the most popular hiking destinations in the world. Located in Alaska, Glacier Bay is home to more than 100 glaciers, as well as an abundance of wildlife. With so many options to choose from, it can be difficult to decide which hiking trail to take. However, there are a few trails that stand out above the rest. The Upper Muir Inlet Trail is considered to be the easiest hike in Glacier Bay, and it offers stunning views of glaciers and mountains. For a more challenging hike, try the Abra Windy Trail, which ascent nearly 3,000 feet in just over three miles. Glacier Bay is an incredible place for nature lovers, and these hiking trails are sure to provide an unforgettable experience.

Top 10 Hiking Trails at Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve

Hike Name Elevation Gain Difficulty Rating Type Average Rating
Bartlett Cove Forest Loop Trail 33.8328 1 loop 4.5
Bartlett River Trail 266.7 1 out and back 3
Bartlet Lake Trail 141.732 1 out and back 3.5
Tlingit Trail 19.812 1 out and back 3.5
Point Gustavus 117.9576 3 out and back 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 Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve

Glacier Bay National Park is home to an amazing array of wildlife. Visitors can expect to see everything from grizzly bears and bald eagles to seals and whales. There are also a variety of plant species to be found in the park, including Sitka spruce, western hemlock, and lodgepole pine. In addition to its diverse wildlife, Glacier Bay National Park also offers stunning views of glaciers, mountains, and ocean. Whether you’re looking for a chance to spot some rare animals or simply enjoy the breathtaking scenery, Glacier Bay National Park is sure to exceed your expectations.

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.

Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve Weather Considerations

Glacier Bay National Park is a place of extremes. In the summer, temperatures can reach up to 80 degrees Fahrenheit, while in the winter they can drop as low as -40 degrees. However, the park is beautiful at all times of year. In the spring, Glacier Bay is a haven for migratory birds, and wildflowers blanket the landscape. Summer is the best time for hiking and kayaking, and in the fall, the leaves of the trees turn a stunning array of colors. Winter is Glacier Bay’s quietest season, when snow dusts the landscape and ice floes float in the bay. No matter when you visit, Glacier Bay National Park is sure to take your breath away.