The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most-visited national park in the country for a good reason: millions of people live within a three hour drive of it. But it’s also because the national park has some beautiful scenic overlooks, exciting trails, old historic buildings, and provides that much needed escape from urban life to nature. It’s also a park the continues to give me something new every time I visit.
The Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail is my favorite place to explore in the park; it’s a one-lane, one-way route through a beautiful area.
The Mountain Farm Exhibit at the Oconafuftee Visitor Center in Cherokee is a great place to stretch your legs.
Grotto Falls in the summer is the perfect place to cool down as you walk behind the waterfall or dip into the grotto.
Rustic bridges like this are all over the park.
Have you ever been to the Tunnel to Nowhere?
Tom Branch Falls in Deep Creek is a popular tubing place in the summer months.
The only thing better than sunsets from Clingmans Dome…
…are sunsets from the Morton Overlook.
This stone bridge is hidden along a trail near Elkmont, but you can find it if you try.
The Foothills Parkway is a little-known section of the national park that offers some pretty spectacular views.
Sure there are lots of black beer and deer in the national park, but there are also bees!
Cades Cove is a beautiful place to explore year-round.
I guess this horse in Cades Cove decided to test the theory the grass is greener on the other side.
The Cable Mill is open to the public during the summer months and some weekends.
Mingus Mill is tucked away near the Oconaluftee Visitor Center in Cherokee.
When the colorful leaves fall from the trees it creates one of those carpet my great grandparents had in their house.
Fall is a great time to enjoy waterfalls.
From Clingmans Dome to Cades Cove it takes about 2-3 weeks for the fall colors to pass through the national park.
Yellow is always the first color to appear in autumn; this is the view from the Morton Overlook.
I could spend days driving Newfound Gap Road between Gatlinburg and Cherokee in the fall.
Traveler. Writer. Photographer. Born and raised in Virginia, living most my adult life on the coast of the Carolinas, I am the Southeastern Traveler. I'm always looking for the next great travel story to tell. What's your story?