It’s easy to think of history since humans came into the picture. It’s much stranger to think of how some pieces of nature have outlived us by hundreds, thousands, and sometimes even millions of years. The history of The Great Smoky Mountains dates back long before it was established as a national park. It was officially declared a national park back in 1934, but the mountains themselves are somewhere between 200 and 300 million years old. Researchers were able to deduce this by the amount of weathering the rocks have experienced as well as the particles found in the soil. These mountains were named for the blue smokey fog that often covers the mountaintops.

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Another amazing natural aspect of the park is the miles of the untouched forest landscape. Roughly one-third of the trees growing in the area are over 100 years old. The rocks around the area are the sedimentary type meaning that they were formed by accumulations of soil, silt, gravel, and sand deposited into a shallow sea. Because of the movement of sheets of ice during the Pleistocene Epoch (2 million to 10,000 years ago), the distant influence of glaciers make the Smoky region produce alpine conditions on its higher crests. The landscape also includes black bears, wild turkey, and flourishing rivers.

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If you’re lucky enough to get to experience the inspiration present at this site, there are many activities that you could do. There are over 800 miles of hiking over 150 trails that you could experience, ranging in levels of difficulty. You could bike the Cades Cove Loop Road, which has over 2 million visitors per year. If you visit the park in early May or June, you could experience the millions of synchronized fireflies at night during their yearly mating ritual. You can even enjoy stargazing at Clingmans Dome where you can get a 360-degree view of the thousands of stars visible above this natural paradise.