How to enjoy East Tennessee’s gorgeous wildlife while trying to avoid crowds

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — On the first weekend the Great Smoky Mountains National Park launched Phase One of its reopening plan, visitors from 26 states and Washington, D.C. showed up.

For the most part, visitors dispersed throughout the national park. However, some of the more popular areas, like Rainbow Falls, drew crowds.

“Parking lots overflowed and people parked along the roadside for about a mile to access the trail,” said Dana Soehn, spokesperson for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. “At these places, there seemed to be little regard for following social distancing guidance in the parking lots, destinations, and restroom areas.”

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