Size-wise, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is quite small in comparison to other National Parks I have visited in my years of travel. More or less, it’s about 30 miles wide and 60 miles long. Nonetheless it has more than 1,500 different flowering pants, dozens of native fish, over 200 species of birds and 60 of mammals. According to the brochure, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited national park in the nation.
Our day began at the southern entrance to the park, at the Oconaluftee Visitor Center where we obtained a map and got some road information.
No commercial vehicles are allowed in the park.
A steep climb brought us to the summit at Newfound Gap, elevation 5,046 feet where the states line of North Carolina and Tennessee meet.
North Carolina is on the right and Tennessee is on the left.
The 2,174 mile Appalachian Trail passes through Newfound Gap.
We walked it for about 500 feet and now we can proudly say “we walked the Appalachian Trail!”
The best views were at Newfound Gap.
The Cherokee Indians described these mountains as shaconage meaning “blue, like smoke.”
A steep descent brought us to the northern entrance Sugarland Visitor Center. It’s somewhat larger than the southern entrance visitor center.
We watched a 20 minute film about the Smokies then went through their great museum where they present information about many of the animals and plants found in the park.
We strolled along a one-mile nature trail to a small waterfall. The afternoon became quite hot.
Mary cools her feet.
To see the other 34 photos I took, click this link…
Here’s the officaial government website link…
Here’s a Wikipedia informational link…
We left the park and passed through the touristy town of Gatilnburg, Tennessee. About 20 miles to the northeast we re-entered the park and spent the night at the Cosby Campground where it was really hot. “YUK” said the weather wimp…that’s me! A cold front weather system is supposed to arrive this area today and I’m ready for a little bit cooler weather!
All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2010
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