Breathtaking views, roaming wildlife, cascading waterfalls, amazing natural atmosphere… If you have time you can spend entire week at this area because it is so huge.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the country’s most-visited national park. According to my research, over 11 million visits per year. Some part of it is in the western part of North Carolina and the other part is in Tennessee.
It is said that the name “Smoky” comes from the natural fog that often hangs over the range and presents as large smoke plumes from a distance. This fog is caused by the vegetation emitting volatile organic compounds, chemicals that have a high vapor pressure and easily form vapors at normal temperature and pressure.
We spent one day in this area and visited following places.
- Blue Ridge Parkway
- Overlooks in Blue Ridge Parkway
- Clingmans Dome
- Great Smoky Mountains National Park
- Chimneys Picnic Area
Blue Ridge Parkway
The Parkway is America’s favorite drive route. It is 469 miles long and the experience of the drive can vary throughout the year. We just used 14 miles of it in the South part. Though the landscape was so amazing, we spent almost 2 hours on it. There are so many overlooks that you can see the miles of forest and smoky mountains and old tunnels.
According to my findings, at 6,643 feet, Clingmans Dome is the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It is the highest point in Tennessee, and the third highest mountain east of the Mississippi. You can drive to the visitor center with your car and the road ends in a large parking area from which a 0.5 mile trail leads to the summit (the dome).
When we arrived there although the summit was too windy and cool, it was worth to it. We took lots of photos of spectacular landscape.
Chimneys Picnic Area
Chimneys Picnic Area is one of the most popular places in the park to spend an afternoon picnicking. The one-way paved loop road has picnic sites on both sides. Each picnic site is equipped with a heavy-duty grill and a picnic table, all inside a wood-framed gravel picnic area. It is located in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, right next to the West Prong Little Pigeon River in which we put our feet.
It’s also a great photography spot. There are several locations where you can hop from rock to rock to easily locate yourself in the middle of the stream.