Lookout in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Settler John Oliver's 1820s cabin at Cades Cove
Formations and underground waterfall in Tuckaleechee Caverns
Hiking along Abrams Creek In Cades Cove
Frozen waterfall at the entrance of a mountain tunnel
Grazing amid autumn foliage in the Great Smoky Mountains
A remote cabin nestled in the forested hills of the Great Smoky Mountains
Fort Loudoun State Historic Site, established in 1756
- Major Airports:
- McGhee Tyson/Knoxville (TYS)
Exploring communities bordering the Great Smoky Mountains
Located near the geographic center of the eastern USA, Blount County is within 800 kilometers of about half of the U.S. population. It’s bordered on the east by Great Smoky Mountains National Park and on the west by the great chain of lakes created by the Tennessee Valley Authority. The Little Tennessee River parallels the southern border.
The county is served by several major highways: U.S. Highways 129, 411 and 321; Interstates 40, 33 and 95; and State Highway 73, which leads directly into Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
It’s estimated that nearly 10 million people visit the Smoky Mountains each year, making it the most-visited of the national parks.
Formerly known as Tuckaleechee Cove, Townsend was renamed when W.B. Townsend traveled from Pennsylvania to set up his sawmill in the community. The city is at the park entrance known as the “Peaceful Side of the Smokies.”
Townsend is home to more than a dozen hotels and motels, several bed-and-breakfasts, campgrounds and businesses that offer cabins and cottages. It offers a variety of recreational opportunities including bike trails, hiking trails in the national park, golf and swimming in a popular stretch of the Little River known as the Townsend “Y.”
Maryville was named in honor of William Blount’s wife, Mary Grainger Blount. The city was established in 1790, but the area was first populated in 1785 by settlers who came primarily from Virginia.
Parks are located throughout the city and include a 13-kilometer fitness and bike trail interwoven through downtown and designed to link Alcoa’s Springbrook Park and Maryville’s Sandy Spring Park.
Incorporated in 1919, Alcoa was formerly known as North Maryville; it was later named Alcoa, after the Aluminum Company of America.
The Knoxville metropolitan airport, McGhee Tyson Airport, is in Alcoa. The airport’s location makes it convenient to Maryville, Townsend and Knoxville.
Louisville is on the Tennessee River, making it a popular recreational area. In 1959, the Tennessee Valley Authority made Louisville Point Park available to Blount County for recreational use.
The James Gillespie House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The house was built between 1800 and 1824 and is known for its Federalist architecture and engineering.
Friendsville is near Fort Loudon Dam. The backwaters of Fort Loudoun Lake provide an ideal area for outdoor recreation.
Friendsville is home to Mister Station Store and People’s Bank of Friendsville, both listed on the National Register of Historic Places and known for their architectural significance.
The city of Townsend sits in Tuckaleechee Cove, one of several isolated valleys known as “Appalachian coves.”
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