Fall Travel Highlights

Fall’s changing leaves,​ with their stunning reds,​ oranges,​ and purples,​ both herald the​ end of​ summer and delight the​ eyes. This fall,​ treat yourself to​ a​ display of​ color like no other on​ earth and visit the​ Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Feast your eyes on​ the​ rich hues of​ billions of​ leaves on​ over 100 different species of​ trees as​ you​ breathe in​ the​ fresh,​ crisp autumn air.

Hiking the​ Smoky Mountains will give you​ spectacular panoramic views of​ the​ great diversity of​ wildlife the​ park has to​ offer. There is​ no shortage of​ hiking trails. With over 800 miles of​ them,​ you​ will be able to​ find the​ one right for your level of​ expertise. And plants aren’t the​ only type of​ wildlife you’ll enjoy. You’re sure to​ spot many furry critters at​ home in​ the​ natural habitat,​ including deer,​ elk,​ and even the​ occasional black bear!

For the​ adventurous at​ heart,​ a​ fun—an inexpensive—way to​ enjoy the​ Smoky Mountains is​ to​ campout in​ the​ park. What’s better,​ the​ campgrounds aren’t one-size-fits-all. Instead,​ you​ have a​ few options to​ choose from,​ so you​ can select the​ area of​ the​ park that’s right for you. Play Lewis and Clark and trek out to​ the​ backcountry. you​ can only get there by foot! For those of​ us less keen on​ “roughing it,​” frontcountry offers running water and flush toilets. There are also campgrounds that accommodate groups of​ 8 and some made for folks who bring along their horses.

Of course,​ there’s more to​ the​ Smokies than leaves. the​ park has the​ makings of​ a​ romantic getaway for two or​ a​ trip that’s fun for the​ whole family. Here are just a​ few of​ the​ activities this national park has to​ offer:

• Bicycling
• Auto tours
• Wildlife viewing
• Historical sites
• Hiking
• Waterfall walks
• Picnicking

In fact,​ there’s more to​ do in​ Smoky Mountain National Park than you​ can probably fit into one trip. For history buffs,​ there’s the​ Mountain Farm Museum. This museum is​ actually an​ extensive collection of​ 19th century farmhouses. Highlights include a​ barn,​ apple house,​ and working blacksmith shop. Be sure to​ arrive in​ time for one of​ the​ live gardening demonstrations.

Lesser known than Hoover,​ the​ Fontana Dam is​ also an​ impressive site. It’s actually the​ tallest concrete dam east of​ the​ Rocky Mountains—480 feet to​ be exact. the​ dam,​ with a​ reservoir size of​ 11,​700 acres,​ forms Fontana Lake,​ which provides boat access to​ more remote areas of​ the​ park. to​ learn about how the​ dam was built,​ you​ can check out the​ visit center operated by the​ Tennessee Valley Authority.

Don’t forget to​ include Clingmans Dome in​ your itinerary. the​ dome is​ the​ highest point in​ the​ whole park and the​ highest point in​ all of​ Tennessee. It’s a​ half-mile walk to​ the​ observation tower,​ but well worth it. at​ 6.643 feet,​ the​ tower offers you​ an​ unrivaled view of​ the​ Smokies. Typically,​ you​ can see for about 20 miles,​ but if​ you’re lucky enough to​ be there on​ a​ clear day,​ you​ can see as​ far as​ 100 miles.

If you​ need a​ break from nature,​ Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg are near by and chock full of​ family fun. There’s Dollywood,​ numerous shows and restaurants,​ miniature golf,​ go-karts,​ and the​ Ripley’s Believe it​ or​ not Aquarium,​ just to​ name a​ few.
Fall Travel Highlights Fall Travel Highlights Reviewed by Henda Yesti on July 26, 2018 Rating: 5

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