Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a vast and picturesque national park located in the southern Appalachian Mountains, straddling the border of Tennessee and North Carolina. With over 12 million visitors annually, it is actually the most visited national park in the United States.
While the park is not directly served by an airport, there are several airports within a reasonable driving distance that visitors can fly into to access the park.
So, in this article, we will explore the closest airports to Great Smoky Mountains National Park and provide a bit of information on how to get to the park from each airport.
Closest Airports To Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The two closest airports to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park are McGhee Tyson Airport (TYS) and Asheville Regional Airport (AVL).
McGhee Tyson Airport is the larger of the two airports and is located in Knoxville, Tennessee, about 25 miles from the park.
- Distance From Great Smoky Mountains National Park: 25 miles
- Driving Time: 45 minutes
- Airlines Served: Allegiant Air, American Airlines, Delta, Frontier Airlines, United, and more.
Asheville Regional Airport is smaller than McGhee Tyson Airport and is located in Asheville, North Carolina, about 60 miles from the park.
- Distance From Great Smoky Mountains National Park: 60 miles
- Driving Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
- Airlines Served: Allegiant Air, American Airlines, Delta, Spirit Airlines, United, and more.
While there are other airports further away, these two airports are the best options for travelers who want to visit Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Both airports offer a variety of flight options and are conveniently located for easy access to the park. Shuttle services and rental cars are also available at both airports for those who want to explore the park on their own.
Secondly, depending on which entrance to the Great Smoky you want to enter from, either aport can serve you well – as there are entrances from both Tennessee and North Carolina.
How To Get To Great Smoky Mountains From The Airport
Great Smoky Mountains National Park is easily accessible from several airports in the region – not just the few I mentioned. In this section, we’ll cover four airports, McGhee Tyson, Asheville, Charlotte Douglas, and Knoxville Downtown Island Airport. Here’s a bit of info. of the drive from each of these airports to the park:
- McGhee Tyson Airport (TYS): Located about 30 miles from Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the drive from McGhee Tyson Airport takes visitors through the rolling hills of eastern Tennessee. As you leave the airport and head towards the park, you’ll pass by quaint small towns and charming countryside vistas. The route to the park is primarily along highways, so the drive is straightforward and easy to navigate.
- Asheville Regional Airport (AVL): The drive from Asheville Regional Airport to Great Smoky Mountains National Park is just over an hour long, and it takes visitors through some of the most scenic parts of western North Carolina. You’ll travel along winding roads, through dense forests, and past picturesque mountain streams. Be prepared for some hairpin turns and steep grades, but the views along the way are worth it.
- Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT): If you’re flying into Charlotte Douglas International Airport, you’ll have a slightly longer drive to Great Smoky Mountains National Park – it takes about three and a half hours to get there. However, the drive is quite scenic, as you’ll pass through the heart of the Appalachian Mountains. The route takes you through several charming small towns, past towering peaks, and along the banks of mountain streams and rivers.
- Knoxville Downtown Island Airport (DKX): The drive from Knoxville Downtown Island Airport to Great Smoky Mountains National Park is relatively short, at just over 30 miles. The route takes visitors through the scenic countryside of eastern Tennessee, with views of rolling hills, sprawling farmland, and charming small towns. The drive is primarily along highways, so it’s easy to navigate.
Where To Stay
If you’re looking for a great place to stay near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, we recommend the Higher Altitude Resort in Gatlinburg.
What Is the Closest City to Great Smoky Mountains National Park?
The closest city to Great Smoky Mountains National Park is Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Gatlinburg is a charming mountain town located at the doorstep of the park, making it the perfect base camp for your exploration.
The town is known for its scenic beauty and is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, nature lovers, and families. Gatlinburg offers a variety of accommodations, including cabins, hotels, and resorts, making it easy to find something that suits your needs and budget.
If you’re looking for things to do in Gatlinburg, there are plenty of options. You can go hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, take a scenic drive along the Newfound Gap Road, go skiing or snowboarding at Ober Gatlinburg, or visit one of the many attractions in town, such as Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies or the Gatlinburg SkyBridge.