Driving through Great Smoky Mountains National Park

About this time last spring, I took some of the kids and drove through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.   I thought it would be a fun day trip in my jeep as it was a perfect spring day.   My plan was to enter the southern entrance on US 441 near Cherokee NC and come out the northern entrance near Gatlinburg TN.   This is only about a 35 mile distance, but takes about an hour normally because of all the switchbacks and overlooks.

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Surprisingly, after entering the park we had to wait as trucks scraped ice and snow off of the roads.   We took advantage of the delay to do a quick hike right near the road barricade.   We were able to get going again after about an hour.

The Great Smoky Mountains are, of course, gorgeous with amazing overlook views of wooded valleys and mountain tops in every direction.   We stopped at several of these during the drive.   Once arriving in Gatlinburg, we visited the local Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream and rode the Gatlinburg Sky Lift before heading back home.   Gatlinburg is a great place to base when visiting treat Smoky Mountains.   Think of it as the east coast version of Moab UT with an overabundance of tourist trap attractions and pancake houses thrown in for good measure.

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The Great Smoky Mountains NP is a great park for enjoying beautiful scenery, seeing wildlife including black bears, and hiking.   There is a reason it is the most visited National Park.   I hope you can take advantage of this amazing National Park the next time you are in eastern TN or western NC.

rk

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