The Great Smoky Mountains is peaceful, has rivers dressed with rhododendrons on the banks, and vivid autumn colors that begin during October in the higher elevations and sprawl down to the lower elevations as the month blends into November. Since the park is so diverse and covers such a large area, planning a vacation to the Great Smoky Mountains can be overwhelming and exciting all at the same time.
This blog is designed to make planning easier when visiting the Great Smoky Mountains.
THE LOWER ELEVATION OF THE SMOKY MOUNTAINS
This area of the Smoky Mountains offers the best year round experience. In the summer you will find the streams and rivers full of water to exit your car and take a refreshing dip. In the winter, the roads are more flat. The spring and autumn some of the most vibrant flora in the park. Cades Cove is the most visited historical area of the national park that includes an eleven mile loop of original log cabin homesteads. These settlers of the area made their home here before the Smoky Mountains were made a national park.
If hiking is one of our favorite activities, the Abrams Falls hike is one of the most popular waterfall trails in the park, as well as the beautiful Rich Mountain Loop Trail. Abrams Creek is a favorite place for rafting and kayaking with rushing waters.
If riding a bicycle is a favorite past time, this area of the park will be your favorite place. The loop road is closed to vehicles from May through September on Wednesday and Saturday, making this a perfect time for cyclists and walking through the park a prime activity.
IF HIKING IS YOUR PASSION
The central park of the Smokies is accessible via U.S. Highway 441. Some of the most difficult and scenic trails in the park begin along this road. It is speckled with some of the steepest, most difficult, and awe-inspiring climbs in the park. If you are looking for an intense workout with exhilarating views, this is where you need to be. Some of the trailheads you will find are The Chimney Tops, LeConte, Charlies Bunion, and Andrews Bald. Other popular areas on 441 are Newfound Gap and Clingman’s Dome.
GATLINBURG SIDE OF THE NATIONAL PARK
The town Gatlinburg offer museums, restaurants, along a mountain stream that makes it one of the most unique towns in the United State. On the edge of town, enter the Great Smoky Mountains National park and leave the tourist activity behind in a matter of minutes. All of a sudden forests and streams become the main focal point. The Laurel Falls, Ramsey Cascades and Porters Creek (most beautiful display of flowers in the spring) hikes, Metcalf Bottoms picnic area, Cucumber Gap, and Jakes Creek are just a few of the popular places in this area of the national park. Elkmont is an abandoned town that is a step back in time, but much more recent than Cades Cove.
LAST, BUT NOT LEAST, IS THE EAST SIDE OF THE NATIONAL PARK
The North Carolina side of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park will likely be much more aware of what this side of the park has to offer, including the Big Creek Campground, the popular swimming area called Midnight Hole and the fire tower on top of Mt. Sterling. Big Creek offers some of the most exciting kayaking and rafting with class five rapids.
SO WHERE IS HOME BASE?
My Bearfoot Cabins offers four exceptional genuine log cabins with a location so close to every possible activity you would want to do in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Come to where luxury meets the mountains while you Escape to Times Past.
Pat and Don Kirchhoefer, Owners