Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Things to do in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited national park in the United States. Here are a few of the highlights we recommend:
  • Cades Cove - A very popular wildlife viewing area, Cades Cove is the most visited area of the park. Stunning views, old homesteads and mills, and deer, black bears and other wildlife can be viewed up close on this one-way 11 mile loop.
  • Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail - This five and half mile one-way road is just a short trip from downtown Gatlinburg.  Several pull-offs along the trail allow visitors to take in stunning creekside settings, old homesteads and cabins, with a spectacular view of fall colors.

  • Waterfalls
    • Abrams Falls - A five mile hike round trip follows an up and down trail to Abrams Falls which is located in Cades Cove.  Abrams Falls is only 20 feet tall but the amount of water that flows over the falls is well worth the hike. 
    • Grotto Falls - Visitors can walk underneath and behind this waterfall.  Watch the water flow over your head as it plunges the 25 feet down the falls.  Grotto Falls is at the end of a three-mile uphill walk.
    • Laurel Falls - Laurel Falls is a relatively short but moderately difficult trail; 1.3 mile uphill hike to the falls on a paved trail. 
    • Rainbow Falls/Mount LeConte - Mount LeConte is one of the tallest mountains in the park, and Rainbow Falls is located on the way to the top. At 80 feet tall, Rainbow Falls is the highest waterfall in the Smokies.
  • Newfound Gap Road - This 33-mile stretch runs from Cherokee North Carolina to Gatlinburg, Tennessee. At its highest point, Newfound Gap Road crosses the mountains at 5, 046 feet. 
  • Clingman's Dome - The highest point in the Smokies, Clingman's Dome offers amazing views from its observation tower. 
  • Mountain Farm Museum - This 19th century farmstead at the Cherokee, NC entrance to the park, iscomplete with a farmhouse, work buildings, and a barn.  If you go in the summertime you will be able to see live demonstrations of what it would have been like to live on a farm during this time period.

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