World Famous Smoky Mountains
There’s no place quite like it in the world. A surreal haze emanates from the peaks and valleys, almost as if a magician conjured up the view for his enjoyment. The vistas so awed the Cherokee Indians they dubbed it “the land of the blue smoke.”
You know them as the Great Smoky Mountains. This subrange of the Appalachian Mountains form some of the most beautiful vistas of the Blue Ridge Physiographic Province. The naturally occurring fog is caused by volatile organic compounds released by the vegetation and give the mountains their hazy look. A sunrise or sunset here will be a memory you’ll never forget.
From their peak at Clingman’s Dome on down, the breathtaking views available within a short walk from the roads make the Great Smoky Mountains some of the most accessible scenic vistas in the United States. Many just relax in their vehicles and meander through the miles of roads. Simply stop anywhere you want to snap a quick photograph or relax and have a delightful picnic and take in the scenery. Great for people with issues with mobility, you can drive through Cades Cove or the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail near Gatlinburg. Cades Cove features frequent bear and deer sightings against splendid mountain backdrops. Roaring Fork winds through the forest where you can take in the trees, the nature and even a small waterfall along the road.
Beginners and experienced hikers alike can enjoy hundreds of miles of hiking trails. Over 70 miles of the Appalachian Trail traverse the Park and many weary travelers pause their over 2000 mile journey from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine to stay in East Tennessee lodging. The hike to Charles Bunion along the Appalachian Trail is among the most popular hikes in the park. Also popular are short trails to Rainbow Falls, Abrams Falls, Laurel Falls, or my favorite Grotto Falls where you can hike a trail that goes behind the waterfall so you can watch the water fall from above you. To catch a glimpse of a peregrine falcon check out Little Duck Hawk Ridge along the Alum Cave Trail off Newfound Gap Road.
Besides sightseeing and hiking, the most popular activity in the Smokies is fly fishing. With over 700 miles of available trout streams, there are countless opportunities to catch a Southern Appalachian Brook Trout. This native species is present in over 300 trout streams in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Most are easily accessible near roads, but for those feeling adventurous there are some remote streams that you can hike to for a more secluded fishing adventure.
Abrams Creek seems to be the favorite among local anglers due to its large width and the large size of the Rainbow Trout found there. Try your luck fly fishing in this serene spot!
With their easy access, gorgeous scenery, hiking trails and plentiful waterfalls, its easy to see why the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited National Park in the United States. Over 11 million people visited the Smokies in 2017 and the number of visitors rises every year. Glorious sunsets and picturesque sunrises among the miles of wooded forest and accessible roads make the park an unforgettable experience. Enjoy