Search This Blog

13 March 2012

Southeast US: Day 3, 1st part, Great Smoky Mountains & Blue Ridge Parkway

Back again to our itineraries in Southeastern US. I remind you that here you have the whole tour.

Today we will keep on visiting the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and we will start part of our drive in the Blue Ridge Parkway, on which I wrote here. We have approximately 200 Km to drive, but on a two-way scenic road, and not counting detours for hiking and sightseeing, except for the Clingman’s Dome which is included (point C in the map).

Ver mapa más grande

So, to start with we leave Gatlinburg and take the detour to the Roaring Fork Road, a gorgeous scenic road –lots of scenic roads in here- where I advise you to drive slowly enjoying it and stopping for pictures, etc. The truth is with the early morning light  you can enjoy scenes as beautiful as these ones, I think I already showed some of them to you while I was there:

Roaring Fork

Roaring Fork

When you finish this loop road, you will get back to Gatlinburg and from there you take the road again to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park  and cross it until you are more or less in the middle of it. That is where you will find a signalled road on your right to the Clingman’s Dome2025 m heigh, the highest peak in the park and the third east of the Mississippi. By the way, we will be seeing the first one, Mount Mitchell, quite soon. It was on this road, and in the middle of a traffic jam –provoked by them- where I was so lucky to be able to see these bears, a moment that very enthusiastically I told you then, and I can’t resist myself to copy once more the pictures here :)

Bears at the Great Smoky Mountains

At the end of the road there is a park site and from there you walk to the observation tower. Even if it is only half a mile, it is all uphill, so take your time. A piece of advise, before you get here try to ask at one of the Visitor Centre’s at the entrances of the Park –you have the Sugarland one when you come from Gatlinburg- about the weather up there, because it might not be worth going, taking into account all the traffic, if it is going to be foggy and you won’t be able to see a thing. The views up there are impressive.

From Clingman's Dome

From Clingman's Dome
Of course, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is so big and has so many things to do that you could stay here for many days, these would be only some of the things you can do, the ones I chose.

 Our next hike will be out of the Park, near Cherokee –where I advise you to stop for lunch because you won’t have so many places after it), just a bit after exiting through the south entrances, Oconaluftee. I will continue with that hike… in our next post!!

1 comment:

  1. Wow....beautiful mountain.
    i love this country.
    Thanks for sharing.