Great Smokey Mountains

Location: 180 miles north of Atlanta at the border of North Carolina and Tennessee
Features: Mountains, Streams, Waterfalls

Great Smokey Mountains National Park is the states most visited National park, concerning the number of people, alhtough most of them stay only a couple of hours. The park has the highest peaks of the Appalachian Range and provides all the features of the southern Appalachen: 100% humidity in summer, lush vegetation, mountain streams, waterfalls and even a small population of black bears.
When we went to the Great Smoky Mountains in summer we made a 2-day hike to Gregory Bald, a plateau at high elevation.
The trail starts a few miles south of the Cades Cove Visitor Center.

Cades Cove
Cades Cove

It's a real pain, because it constantly goes up for 3 hours at the end before you reach the plateau. We expected to have a great view up there, that's what the ranger told us...well...in winter it might be really fantastic, but in summer, with a humidity of 100% you basically see nothing at all from the surrounding mountains. That's probably why they call it Great SMOKY Mountains, because the humidity looks like smoke. Well...at least there were tons of blueberries at the plateau. The campsite at Gregory Bald is not a nice one. First of all it is in a black bear area and secondly it has no water at all. So we decided to go back into the direction of Cades Cove until we got to the next river, where we also camped for the night
Cades Cove is a beautiful valley which is defenitely worth the long drive. Once you are there, you should consider a hike to Abrams Falls, a nice waterfall, only two hours of hiking away from the Visitor Center. We hiked that trail in winter, but even then there is usually no snow in the valleys and the trails there are no problem. On higher elevation you'll have a good chance of snow and it's a nice picture to see the mountains snowcovered...

winter in the Smokey Mountains winter in the Smokey Mountains
Smokey Mountains in winter
snow at the highest elevation

Directions: From Atlanta take I-85/I-985. It'll turn into highway 441. Follow it until you get to the first Visitor Center of the park.

Home - Attractions and Hikes of the south

Other Attractions:

Amilacola Falls SP / Atlanta / Black Rock Mountain SP / Blue Ridge Mountains / Boone Hall Plantation / Caesars Head SP / Middle Saluda River / Charleston / Chimney Rock / Gulf of Mexico / Horsepasture River / Magnolia Gardens / Oak Alley Plantation / Panther Creek Recreation Area / Providence Canyon / Savannah / Great Smokey Mountains NP / George L. Smith SP / Tallulah Gorge SP / Toccoa Falls / Wakulla Springs SP


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