Plus, Clever Creamery is now open.
July 8, 2024 6AM-Top banner logo-small.png


6AM City In-house

Today’s Forecast

96º | 20% chance of precipitation
Sunrise 6:33 a.m. | Sunset 8:57 p.m.

🏔️ Take a trip to the Smokies
Small blooming wildflowers up close, with a sweeping mountain vista in the distance.
National parks may just lead you to a breathtaking view like this one at the Great Smoky Mountains. |Photo by Domenico Convertini via Flickr
In honor of National Park & Recreation Month this July, we’re sharing our guide to visiting the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Take a ~two-hour drive from Chattanooga to find yourself in this beautiful park that sits along the borders of Tennessee and North Carolina.

Open hours and seasons
Get your mountain views any time you want, because this park is open year-round. Note that certain campgrounds, facilities, and even roads may operate seasonally.

Fees and reservations
There’s no entrance fee or reservations to the Great Smoky Mountains — sort of. As of this year, vehicles parked for longer than 15 minutes will require parking tags.

Grab a daily parking pass for $5, a weekly pass for $15, or an annual pass for $40. You’ll be able to buy these in person or online.

Major rules
Pets are allowed but must be kept on a leash and are only permitted on two trails: Gatlinburg Trail and the Oconaluftee River Trail. These are also the only trails you can have a bicycle on (though you can ride your bike on any road where vehicles are permitted).

As for campfires, you’re free to collect dead and fallen wood from the park. If you’re bringing outside kindling, only heat-treated firewood bundled and certified by the USDA is allowed.

A pink sunset sky behind tall mountains with swirling fog in front of them.

Stunning sunsets are just one vista you’ll enjoy at this park.


Photo by @j_kreiss

Choose from 10 park campgrounds or rough it with backcountry camping.

For backcountry, you’ll need a permit and you’d be wise to brush up on your bear safety. It’s also important to read through the park’s backcountry regulations, put in place to protect both you and the ecosystem.

When it comes to hiking, your Great Smoky Mountain options are extensive: There are 150 official trails to explore.

Want to hit the road? Check out our guide to national parks across the country by clicking the button below.
Have you visited the Great Smoky Mountains?

A. Yes, several times
B. I’ve been once
C. Not yet, but it’s on my bucket list
D. I don’t plan on it
Monday, July 8
  • Yoga for EveryBODY | Monday, July 8 | 5-6 p.m. | Chattanooga Fitness Center, 1254 E. 3rd St., Chattanooga | Free | Folks of all skill levels are welcome to enjoy a class with other community members — bring your own mat and water.
Tuesday, July 9
  • The 21st Century Self-Publishing Revolution | Tuesday, July 9 | 6-8 p.m. | Floor Five of The Edney Innovation Center, 1100 Market St., Chattanooga | Free | Hear about the pros and cons of self-publishing in the first of this two-part series.
Wednesday, July 10
  • Mini Renaissance Faire | Wednesday, July 10 | 3-5 p.m. | South Chattanooga Library, 925 W. 39th St., Chattanooga | Free | Wear your best costume + join in for activities like flower crown making and a pool noodle horse race.
Thursday, July 11
  • Girls at the Game | Thursday, July 11 | 5:30-9:30 p.m. | Overboard Bar & Grille, 151 Riverfront Pkwy., Chattanooga | $15 | Join The Girls for a pre-game party + then head over to AT&T Field to see the Chattanooga Lookouts play the Shuckers.
Friday, July 12
  • Drink and Discover: CDM Games | Friday, July 12 | 7-10 p.m. | Creative Discovery Museum, 321 Chestnut St., Chattanooga | $35 | This 21+ event will feature competitions and playful fun — along with full access to the museum + drinks and snacks.
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News Notes
  • Today, July 8 + Wednesday, July 10 from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m., TDOT contract crews will use rolling roadblocks on I-24 as they set new bridge beams on the South Moore and McBrien Road Bridges. Note: Only one direction of I-24 will be temporarily closed at a time in 30-minute intervals. (WDEF)
  • Girls Inc. of Chattanooga will host a free family fitness workshop on Saturday, July 13 at Brainerd United Methodist Church. Wear athletic clothing and closed-toe shoes to participate in exercises suitable for all ages + fitness levels.
  • ArtsBuild’s Chattanooga Art + Climate Project will debut the work of artist Adam Frelin on Saturday, July 20 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Crabtree Farms. “Rising Action” features two inflatable sculptures that represent fire and water and “the scale of the issues brought on by a changing climate.”
Plan Ahead
  • Calling all soccer enthusiasts. Registration is open for the Riverfest Classic, an annual soccer tournament hosted by CFC Academy. More than 200 teams from several states will compete at Camp Jordan + Redoubt Soccer Complex from Nov. 15-17.
The Buy
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The Wrap
Kristen Templeton Today’s edition by:
From the editor
In case you missed it, Red Bank’s Clever Alehouse has officially opened its creamery. You can swing by 2122 Dayton Blvd. to enjoy ice cream on the patio from 4 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., seven days a week. Bonus: For those 21+, make sure to try out a beer or boozy float.
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