Interesting Facts and Weird Wisdom About Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Don’t you love exploring places and finding out fun facts? We do too and once you have that knowledge, you can pull it out whenever you need it the most. Specifically, to impress your friends during trivia night. (We’re competitive too!).

You never know when you might need to know how many sea creatures reside in the Gatlinburg or how many black bears you could run into while hiking in the mountains.

Read below about what we found by exploring Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains that surround it. We’ve visited, researched and scoured the internet for vital stats. Memorize these and you’ll be a walking knowledge source of Gatlinburg gab.

  • Bears are plentiful in them thar’ hills. Though these black bears are elusive (and we think that’s best), there are 2 bears per square mile. If you see one, just snap a photo and stand there until it’s out of sight.
  • Healers and others love the plants that grow in Gatlinburg – so much so, there’s plant poaching going on. Ginseng grows everywhere and since it’s so popular now for medicinal and holistic health, ginseng poaching has actually become a thing! And, the Great Smoky Mountains (GSM) rangers and residents take it seriously. Stiff fines and arrests have been made in association with the poaching practice.
  • The city is nice, but the guy it was named after – not so much, at least according to legend. Since a guy by the name of Radford Gatlin had a general store with a post office in it, the town folks began calling the town, Gatlinburg. But the prominent Ogle family hated Gatlin because he supported the Confederacy! Before that, it was called “White Oak Flats.”
  • The first permanent settler in Gatlinburg was a woman – she was William Ogle’s wife.
  • There’s more artists and craftspeople (as a group) here that anywhere else in North America and their wares are everywhere.
  • Ripley’s Aquarium has more fish in it than people live in Gatlinburg, with a purported 10,000 sea creatures.
  • Lovers love Gatlinburg. It’s the 2nd most popular wedding destination to get hitched. (Vegas is number one). Must be that mountain air!
  • The Great Smoky Mountains carries the distinction of being only one of two places in the entire world where you can witness synchronous fireflies. There’s over 2,000 species in the world and the GSM has 19 of those species. For the past two years, they’ve shown up during the first two weeks of June.
  • There are over 800 square miles of hiking trails and along the trails are more than 19,000 species of foliage, plants, animals, fungi and insects. Scientists believe there could be as many as 80,000 species undiscovered. The park is designated as an International Biosphere Reserve.
  • There are over 100 types of trees, 200 types of birds, 80 species of reptiles and amphibians, 67 varieties of fish, 65 species of mammals and about 1,500 black bears (remember that 2 every square mile thing!) in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and you can explore them – right from Gatlinburg, all year long.
  • There are nearly 3,000 miles of streams running through the Great Smoky Mountains.
  • Gatlinburg is king of salamanders, also known as the “Salamander Capital of the World.” There’s more than 30 different species of the skittish amphibians here (24 types are lungless) and some can weigh up to 5 pounds and live over 30 years.
  • Geologists believe that the Appalachian Mountains are 200-300 million years old.
  • The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited park in the United States and one of the few parks in the U.S. that doesn’t charge an entrance fee.
  • The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is within a day’s drive of 60% of the nation.
  • What makes the Great Smoky Mountains smoky? Vegetation in the mountains traps and releases moisture giving them their “smoky” appearance.
  • The Great Smoky Mountains was known as the “Land of the Blue Mist” by Cherokees.
  • Seventy (70) miles of the 2,178 Appalachian Trail runs through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. You can section hike the Appalachian Trail.
  • Pancakes are wildly popular. Gatlinburg is home to the state’s first pancake house, the Pancake Pantry, which opened in 1960. It still stands today.
  • In 2009, Tennessee allowed dozens of counties to distill moonshine to help with the recession and employment during that time period. One of the largest is Ole Smoky Mountain Distillery that opened in Gatlinburg in 2010.
  • Forbes Magazine noted Gatlinburg as “One of the Prettiest Towns in America” in 2010. (Could it be the moonshine? We think that and the Great Smoky Mountains, of course!)
  • There are nearly 12 million visitors in Gatlinburg, but only about 4,100 permanent residents.

That’s a lot of information about Gatlinburg and we hope you had fun learning it. The best part is that you can take this trivia with you to a local trivia night in Gatlinburg where you might just take home the title.

There’s one more interesting fact about Gatlinburg. It has some of the most luxurious cabins with unbelievable views. We know where to find them-check out the vast selection at Condo-World and reserve yours today!

Condo-World Gatlinburg Cabin