2016 marks a monumental occasion in the history of our National Park Service as the systems turns 100 years this year. While the official “birth date” falls on August 25, we in the NC Smokies will be celebrating all year long. With peak season gearing up, there is no better time than now to get out and wish our national parks Happy 100th. The Centennial will celebrate the achievements of the past 100 years, but it is really about the future. It’s about kicking off a second century of stewardship for America’s national parks and for communities across the nation. Most importantly, it’s about inviting you to join us.
Haywood County is actually home to two of the most popular and favorite national parks in the entire country: the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway. They are also two of the most visited parks, so you know there are some really incredible experiences to be had in both! Each park holds abundant adventure like miles and miles of hiking trails, fantastic camping (both campgrounds and backcountry), cool natural swimming holes, cascading waterfalls, some of the best scenic drives in the country, and more amazing photo opportunities than you have memory space for!
You can also take part in a variety of programs being offered at different national parks. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway are both offering a 100 Hikes Centennial Challenge, which encourages you to get out and experience AS MUCH of these parks as you can by hitting the trail. You can learn more here: Smokies Centennial Challenge & Blue Ridge Parkway 100 Hikes. You can also explore other parks and find ones closest to you at www.findyourpark.com.
So wait are you waiting for? Plan your trip to explore our national parks now!