Winter in the Great Smoky Mountains

Posted by David  
Filed under Sightseeing

I was browsing Youtube for some of the latest Great Smoky Mountains videos when I came across this really cool video that shows what the Great Smokies are like in winter. It has been very cold this winter and we’ve seen dozens of freezing days and lots of snow. It has turned this National Park into a winter wonderland.

Check out this video for clips of the frozen rock formations, icicles and wintry waterfalls. It has a really cool shot of Spruce Flats Waterfall that I know you’ll love. All shot in High Def.

Have you made it to The Smokies yet this winter? Post a comment and let me know how your trip went.

Snow Storm Slams Smokies

Posted by David  
Filed under Sightseeing, Things to do

Over the last 4-5 days the Great Smoky Mountains have been blasted with snow: 10-30 inches in some areas. The ski resorts are loving it, but the casual travelers might not be as happy. Sure we all love seeing snow on the ground, but not if it gets in the way of your vacation.

The Great Smoky Mountains have had so much snow over the past few days that certain roads are restricted and trails are closed. Even Cades Cove, the most visited part of the Great Smokies was closed. There was a lot of ice out there making it very dangerous for people who are not accustomed to traveling in those conditions.

Check it this picture from Newfound Gap, it looks nothing like the photo I posted back in October.

So go and enjoy the Great Smoky Mountains this winter – it is truly a blessing to have this much snow so early, but please be careful when traveling and site seeing.

Newfound Gap

Posted by David  
Filed under Hiking, Sightseeing

Newfound Gap is a mountain pass in the Great Smoky Mountains. Newfound Gap is near the North Carolina and Tennesse border accessible from US 441 (also known as Newfound Gap Road). This is one of my favorite destinations in the Smokies. Not only is the scenic drive magnificent, but you also can visit the Rockefeller Memorial – the site where former U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt formally dedicated the park on September 2, 1940.

rockefeller memorial

Newfound Gap is one of the most popular destination in the Smokies. There is a large parking lot and plenty of hiking trails in the area, including the Appalachian Trail. It is generally pretty crowded if you go during the summer/fall seasons. Kids love to climb on the rocks by the Memorial and parents love to walk to the top of the Memorial. From here you can see for miles. One of the best views in the entire park.

newfound gap road

Clingmans Dome

Posted by David  
Filed under Hiking, Sightseeing

Clingmans Dome in the Great Smoky Mountains is one of the most popular tourist spots in the entire park. What attracts so many visitors to Clingmans Dome is the fact that at an elevation of 6,643 feet, it is the highest mountain in the Great Smokies. The views from the mountain top are spectacular – provided it isn’t too smoky :-)

clingmans dome view

Clingmans Dome is very accessible. Clingmans Dome Road begins just past Newfound Gap and leads up the mountain to the Forney Ridge Parking Area. Check our Great Smoky Mountains Map for further details.
Please plan your visit carefully. Clingmans Dome is often closed in the winter from December 1 through March 31 due to potential icy roads.

From the parking lot, it is just a short 1/2 mile hike up the trail to the observation tower at the top of the mountain. The observation tower gives visitors a 360 degree view of the entire Smoky Mountain park. It is truly amazing, especially if you’re lucky enough to visit on a clear day.

clingmans dome observation tower

One thing hiking enthusiasts will enjoy is the Appalachian Trail crosses Clingmans Dome, passing immediately north of the observation tower. If you hang around long enough you will see several thru-hikers pass by as they travel through the backcountry.

If you’re planning a trip to the Great Smokies, you must make Clingmans Dome part of your visit.

The Leaves Are Changing

Posted by David  
Filed under Sightseeing

Great Smoky Mountains in Autumn

Have you noticed the nights are getting longer? Do you find yourself grabbing a light jacket in the mornings when you take your dog out? Fall is in the air, can you feel it? The high temperatures in the Great Smoky Mountain region are in the low 70s and the low temperatures are dipping into the 40s in the high elevation parts. I just love this time of year. It’s not too hot, and it’s not too cold.

The landscapes and mountain tops are no longer covered in lush green, but now in shades of red, yellow, orange and brown. It’s one of the most beautiful times of the year for residents and travelers.

Thousands of visitors flock to this region every year just to see the leaves change colors. Most journeys start in Asheville, NC on the Blue Ridge Parkway and head all the way northwest to Pigeon Forge, TN. There are hundreds of stops along the way that are perfect for sightseeing, photography, painting and hiking. Nothing beats standing at a point near 4,000 ft of elevation and looking out over miles and miles of painted canvas.

Have you visited the Great Smoky Mountains during Autumn just to see the leaves change colors? What are some of your favorite spots to sight see?