The Washington Post— The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is running more than 11 percent ahead of 2011 visits for the first half of this year.
Park officials said Wednesday that June visitation was up 7.2 percent — a total of 1,202,056 visitors to the 500,000-acre park on the Tennessee-North Carolina border. The year-to-date figure is up 11.5 percent over the first six months of 2011. That means an additional 410,767 people have come into the park this year.
Also, Huffington Post today announced that Laurel Falls on the Tennessee side of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park has been named one of the “Best Waterfalls in U.S. National Parks”. Laurel Falls Trail ascends Cove Mountain (elev. 4,077 feet), leading past Laurel Falls, one of the most popular waterfalls in the Smokies, en route to the summit of Cove Mountain and the Cove Mountain fire tower. The Laurel Falls Trail is paved from the parking area to the falls, making it an easy walk for families with young children. See the complete Huffington Post story here.