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Thread: great smoky mountains

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    klamath falls, oregon
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    1,444

    great smoky mountains

    I'll be camping with some relatives at Great Smoky Mountains National Park in mid/late October. I've heard that, at that time of the year, it is the most visited NP. Oh well, I've done Yosemite and Yellowstone in the summer, so maybe I'll be able to handle it!

    Anyway, we have two nights (Monday, Tuesday) at Elkmont campground, two more (Wednesday, Thursday) at Cade's Cove CG. Any advice on things to see and do, preferably with the minimum amount of driving, would be appreciated. Unfortunately, my wife is in great cardiovascular shape, but hiking downhill causes her a lot of knee pain, so shorter and more level is better in terms of hiking. We'll have bikes, but I get the impression that biking right in the park is not really a viable option.

    Thanks in advance for any help.

  2. #2

    Re: great smoky mountains

    Excellent, I'm in Knoxville so I really consider that side of the Park my backyard. I think Elkmont really fits your wife's considerations well--Little River Trail is a basically a level grade, country lane for about four miles above the campground, with fishermans' paths down to the water (some steep, some less challenging.) Goshen Prong Trail (which follows Fish Camp Prong, go figure) is a bit more of a traditional, rocky trail, with a few grades up to Backcountry Campsite #23 but is quite lovely as well. Otherwise, there aren't a lot of "loops" out of Elkmont except the one made by Jakes Creek/Cucumber Gap/Little River Trail that's quite worth doing, but again has a few minor grades.

    As for Cades Cove, the major consideration will be traffic along the one-way loop. Unfortunately for you, you'll have to navigate at least half the loop to get to, say, Abrams Falls Trail, or--my favorite--Forge Creek Trail. The latter is quite special, a bit rolling and rocky at first, but going through some old growth along the creek for a couple of miles. Again, the grade stiffens as it heads up toward Gregory Bald, but I'm sure you and wife could sort out when to turn back. Otherwise, there are some nice trails that have trailheads back toward Townsend, starting with Anthony Creek Trail there in the picnic area, Bote Mountain Trail along the West Prong of Little River...of course there's the Middle Prong/Tremont area back toward the Townsend "Y" to explore as well.

    At any rate, feel free to PM if you would want any detailed information, and I really recommend you pick up the famous "Little Brown Book" on GSMNP trails:

    https://www.amazon.com/Smokies-Mount.../dp/0937207152

    The trail elevation profiles might be especially useful to y'all.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Sunshine State
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    929

    Re: great smoky mountains

    Click image for larger version. 

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    This table shows some trails we hiked 2-3 weeks ago. Parking spot for Laurel fall needs reservation now.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    klamath falls, oregon
    Posts
    1,444

    Re: great smoky mountains

    Thanks - that is some great info!

    I assume that rain might be a strong possibility at that time of the year?

  5. #5

    Re: great smoky mountains

    Quote Originally Posted by h2oman View Post
    I assume that rain might be a strong possibility at that time of the year?
    Generally October is one of our drier months, but I would always take a shell just in case. Otherwise it's possible that it might be warmer than you expect--but of course make sure you're drinking filtered water...our wild boars are neat animals but less than hygienic.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Central Illinois
    Posts
    65

    Re: great smoky mountains

    I am headed to the region too, in a about a week. Any noteworthy galleries in the region? Or are there any other photography related attractions?

  7. #7

    Re: great smoky mountains

    Quote Originally Posted by knjkrock View Post
    I am headed to the region too, in a about a week. Any noteworthy galleries in the region? Or are there any other photography related attractions?
    I'm afraid you might have missed a couple from earlier in the year: UT's Ewing Gallery had an exhibition of Walker Evans prints, while those soft-handed Uber-drivers over in Asheville had a nice traveling exhibition in from the Whitney. (FWIW Benjamin Walls seems to be a going concern over in Asheville, though I'm not really familiar with his work.)

    Otherwise, if you're interested in the history of photography in and around the GSMNP, you might start by researching George Masa (who IIRC was featured in Ken Burns' documentary on National Parks); Albert "Dutch" Roth and Jim Thompson also documented the region pretty thoroughly--a quick search ought to turn up a number of online galleries of their work.

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