Monday, December 16, 2013

Cades Cove

​Cades Cove, part of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, is one of the most popular travel destinations in the south. A scenic valley surrounded by the Smoky Mountains, Cades Cove contains some of the best views of the Appalachian Mountains. With over two million visitors a year, the cove has become the place to visit when traveling to the Great Smoky Mountains. Cades Cove is a valley rich in history, and set apart from any signs of city life.

​Once a hunting area for Cherokee Indians, the cove has a rich history that goes back hundreds of years. Cades Cove has been a nationally registered historic area since 1977, with buildings and log cabins dating back to the early 19th century. Within Cades Cove visitors can walk inside churches and homes, visit old mills, and see the history of the small pioneer civilization that dwelt there. An 11-mile loop in the valley allows visitors to drive around the cove, and see the sites and views from the car. Cades Cove is also famous for the deer, and occasional black bear sightings in the area. The cove is one of the best locations in the Great Smoky Mountains to spot wild animals as well as view fantastic scenery.

​For those that want to experience a little more adventure, the cove offers multiple hiking trails, as well as horseback riding and bicycle rentals. Well-known trails, such as Abrams Falls and Rocky Top, begin in Cades Cove and attract hikers of all skill levels. During the summer, there are several backcountry campsites available on the trails, offering an overnight experience in the cove for those that are interested.
​When visiting the cove, it is recommended to set aside at least 2 hours to drive around and explore. Cades Cove is especially busy during the summer season and in the fall, but has extraordinary views year round that keep many visitors coming back for multiple trips.

Mountains around Cades Cove

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Gatlinburg Attractions

Gatlinburg Tn is one of the cities that borders the Great Smoky mountains national park and is my personal favorite city to stay in when visiting the park. The town has a lot of interesting attractions and hotels that are right up against the park.

Gatlinburg Aquarium

The Gatlinburg Aquarium hosts 10,000 sea creatures including more than 350 individual species! The aquarium is really a fun time for all ages and boasts a coral reef, touch a ray bay, shark lagoon, and penguins playhouse just to name a few awesome exhibits. The aquarium is located at 88 River Road
Gatlinburg, TN 37738 and with google its usually easy to find some gatlingburg aquarium coupons.

Ober Gatlinburg

Another really cool attraction is Ober Gatlinburg. Ober Gatlinburg is an amusement park and ski resort located in the mountains around Gatlinburg. A large trolley takes you up to the park and inside you can enjoy food, games, and ice skating. Outside during the winter time there is a world class ski resort thats perfect for skiers of all skill levels.

Ole Smoky Moonshine

In the appalachian mountains and especially in the smoky mountains region there has been a strong culture of making moonshine that has been passed on from generation to generation for over a century. The Ole Smoky Moonshine distillery located in Gatlinburg Tn has perfected the ancient moonshine recipe passed down from the smoky mountain locals. You can watch the distillery in action and get samples for free at the Ole Smoky Moonshine distillery located at 903 Parkway, Ole Smoky Moonshine Holler, Gatlinburg TN, 37738.


Great Smoky Mountains Top Attractions

The Great Smoky Mountains national park is a special area of the Appalachian mountains located in East Tennessee. This area of the Appalachians is second in most rainfall in the US which supports a wide range of species and helps create a smoky fog that gives the park its name. The smoky mountains has always been my favorite vacation spot since its beauty always captivates and you never run out of fun opportunities.

Cades Cove

When visiting the smoky mountains Cades Cove is a must see. Its a beautiful valley with large mountains jutting up all around it and wildlife everywhere. In the spring the cove is blanketed with captivating wildflowers of all colors and black bear sightings are very common here during most of the year. Cades Cove features an 11 mile one way loop road that allows motorists to go slow and enjoy the scenery. Also, from early may until late September on Wednesdays and Saturdays until 10:00 am only foot and bicycle traffic is allowed on the loop road. There are also many trails that begin in Cades Cove, including a short nature trail, the 10 mile round trip Abrams falls trail, and the longer trails to Thunderhead mountain and Rocky Top mountain.

Abrams Falls

Abrams Falls is an awesome waterfall with a deep pool below it people swim in. A moderate hike with beautiful flower and forest views I highly recommend seeing Abrams Falls.

Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail

If you stay in Gatlinburg the roaring fork motor nature trail is something you have to experience. Its a 6 mile drive framing old farmsteads and the beautiful grotto falls and rainbow falls.

Chimney Tops Trail

The chimney tops is a mountain with large boulders resting at its peak. The trail is not really long but it does gets quite steep at some points. However, there is no better 360 degree view anywhere else in the park than there is at chimney tops mountain.

Clingmans Dome

Clingmans Dome is the highest point in the park and offers incredible views with only a half mile walk from the parking lot. Clingmans dome is very accessible, a great place to take kids, and at 6,643 feet on a clear day you can see 7 different states!

Appalachian Trail

The Appalachian trail is a national scenic trail in the Appalachian mountains that extends from Georgia all the way to Maine. The trail follows breathtaking, scenic ridgelines in the smoky mountains that offers some of the best mountain views in the smokies. Also, shelters are spread throughout the trail to allow camping overnight but pitching a tent is prohibited. To reserve a shelter please call (865) 436-1231.

The Great Smoky Mountains offers endless attractions and fun for all ages. Cades cove, Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, Chimney Tops Trail, and Clingmans dome are just a handful of unforgettable places in the beautiful Great Smoky Mountains national park.


Gatlinburg is one of the towns on the edge of the smoky mountains with much to see and do. It's my favorite town to stay in when visiting the smokies because its less touristy than Pigeon Forge and provides many awesome hotels and restaurants.

Pigeon Forge

Pigeon Forge is another one of the towns located on the edge of the smoky mountains and is not very far from Gatlinburg. It provides more to do than Gatlinburg and has many tourist attractions including the famous theme park Dollywood.

Newfound Gap Road

Newfound Gap is the lowest mountain gap in the national park that you can drive on. Beautiful scenery includes high elevation ecosystems that are similar to eastern Canada's boreal forest. An awesome drive to experience when traveling through the park.

Mount LeConte

The third highest peak in the park, and arguably the most beautiful, is Mount LeConte. The peak is available by many trails and a resort where you can stay in a cabin at the peak is run by the NPS but its very popular and must be booked months in advance.

Smoky Mountain Speedway

If you are into fast cars the Smoky Mountain Speedway is one of the coolest race tracks to see. In the heart of where NASCAR originated the track offers great views and an awesome day trip or couple hour deal that's great fun for families.

The Great Smoky Mountains