Subject: Re: Great Smokey Mountain National Park
Full headers:
Path: news.netfront.net!goblin3!goblin2!goblin.stu.neva.ru!news.unit0.net!peer03.am4!peer.am4.highwinds-media.com!peer03.iad!feed-me.highwinds-media.com!news.highwinds-media.com!spln!extra.newsguy.com!newsp.newsguy.com!news4
From: PeterN <"peter,newdelete"@deleteverizon.net>
Newsgroups: rec.photo.digital
Subject: Re: Great Smokey Mountain National Park
Date: Tue, 20 Feb 2018 21:09:02 -0500
Organization: NewsGuy.com
Lines: 220
Message-ID: <p6ikc10p1i@news4.newsguy.com>
References: <p6hhjk0vsn@news7.newsguy.com>
<427c838a-5b58-4c0b-b537-ac7b79cadef1@googlegroups.com>
<739ce737-1498-4cfe-9168-2eb1b575ca45@googlegroups.com>
NNTP-Posting-Host: pd12e8c0999e7fd3722c7697ca55e95c8cc0ce92662b4dffa.newsdawg.com
Mime-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=utf-8; format=flowed
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; WOW64; rv:52.0) Gecko/20100101
Thunderbird/52.6.0
In-Reply-To: <739ce737-1498-4cfe-9168-2eb1b575ca45@googlegroups.com>
Content-Language: en-US
X-Received-Bytes: 9836
X-Received-Body-CRC: 55190679
Print Article
Forward Article
On 2/20/2018 4:57 PM, -hh wrote:
> Top post quick addition:
> 
> There's also a couple of churches with cemeteries (tombstones)
> that are short/easy distances from parking.  Offhand:
> 
> - Cataloochee
> 
> - Cades Cove .. one of the churches has a stone that's pretty
> famous, due to its "Murdered by North Carolina Rebels" line.
> 
> There's also a cemetery in Elkmont that's still being used
> (part of the NPS agreement), but I can't recall much about it.
> 
> There's also some more cemeteries back in the woods.
> 
> Also FYI, some of the creeks I've mentioned have "log" bridges
> on them which can be pretty photogenic.  Case in point:
> 
> <http://huntzinger.com/gallery/index.php/water/Kephart_Prong_bridge_...
> 
> Unfortunately, these are usually further back in the woods
> (away from roads).
> 
> -hh
> 
> 
> 
> On Tuesday, February 20, 2018 at 4:47:39 PM UTC-5, -hh wrote:
>> On Tuesday, February 20, 2018 at 11:24:17 AM UTC-5, PeterN wrote:
>>> I am thinking about going to the Smokey Mountain National Park. Does
>>> anyone here have any information about interesting photo spots, that are
>>> accessible. I cannot climb, or walk more than about half an hour.
>>
>>
>> I've done a good number of the waterfalls there; most are hikes.
>>
>> First, here's a PDF of the NPS Map:
>>
>> <https://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/upload/grsmmap2-2.pdf>
>>
>> But you'll also want this higher resolution Trail Map, for
>> better landmarks:
>>
>> <https://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/upload/GSMNP-Map_JUNE14-compl...
>>
>>
>> Next, be aware of distances (travel time, congestion).  As a
>> general rule of thumb, people generally stay in/near:
>>
>> * Generic 'Too far away, TN side:  Knoxsville.  These sort of
>> places work (& have respectable dinner choices) but the drive
>> time to/from the park will eat you up.
>>
>> * Townsend, TN.  Good for proximity to Cades Cove, okay for Little
>> Pigeon River valley too.  The food here has sucked over the years;
>> I'll be testing it this coming June to see if it has become decent.
>>
>> * Pigeon Forge, TN.  Huge tourist trap area.  Lots of stuff, but
>> also lots of congestion.  Similar to Gatlinburg, but add another
>> 30+ minutes to travel times.  Cheapest hotels in the region?
>>
>> * Gatlinburg, TN.  The "old" tourist trap town that was confined
>> so it couldn't grow (hence, Pigeon Forge).  Daily traffic gridlock
>> to manage/avoid & minimize exposure to.  A great place to HQ in,
>> if you're good enough to get moving in the morning (be out by ~7AM).
>>
>> * Cherokee, NC.  The old traditional tourist trap place on the
>> North Carolina side.  Visited it a few years ago for my first
>> time...dining was underwhelming (a Dairy Queen was better than
>> some of the diners); ended up at the new Casino one night.  Don't
>> really know this side of the park very well, but there are some
>> "skyline drive" roads that could have some promise.
>>
>> * Also 'far away':  Ashville, NC.  Probably better food at the
>> cost of longer drives.
>>
>> FYI, places I'm not familiar with staying:  Western corner, near
>> where the "Tail of the Dragon" road is (popular with motorcycles).
>> And similarly, the Eastern corner, where I-40 goes past (we've
>> day-tripped to this area out of Gatlinburg).
>>
>> For quasi-roadside subjects, I'd consider the following:
>>
>> 1.  Wildlife / Elk
>>
>> IIRC, the main viewing area is in Cataloochee, which is on
>> the Eastern side of the park.  From the NPS Website:
>>
>> "Most of the elk are located in the Cataloochee area in the
>> southeastern section of the park. The easiest way to reach Cataloochee
>> is from Interstate highway I-40. Exit I-40 at North Carolina exit #20.
>> After 0.2 mile, turn right onto Cove Creek Road and follow signs 11 miles
>> into Cataloochee valley."
>>
>> I've also heard reports of Elk near the NPS Oconaluftee visitor center
>> too (North Carolina side of Highway 441 (Newfound Gap Road).
>>
>> 2.  Wildlife / Other ... see "Cades Cove"
>>
>> 3.  Roadside vistas / high
>>
>> In general, I'm referring to landscapes of the mountains while up
>> in the mountains.  Note that the prevailing weather can result in
>> open/closed views on the same day/hour, depending on what's being
>> blocked from which direction:  it can be socked-in on the TN side
>> while the NC is clear & vice versa.
>>
>> - Newfound Gap .. large parking lot; expect congestion.
>>
>> - Clingman's Dome ... medium parking lot; expect congestion.
>>
>> - "Look Rock", on the Foothills Parkway (runs West, off of Rt 321,
>>    which is between Townsend, TN and Maryville, TN).  Parking lot,
>>    or take the short-ish (~.2 mile) uphill walk to the fire tower.
>>
>> - Any pull-off along any road that looks promising
>> --> including the Foothills Parkway en route to Look Rock
>> --> including Rt 441 between 'Chimney Tops' and Newfound Gap
>>
>> - A "TBD" for me is the new section of the Foothills Parkway.
>>    Think its still not open all the way to cars yet, though.
>>
>>
>> 3.  Roadside vistas / low
>>
>> This is referring to landscapes down in the valleys and is
>> typically going to be water-centric (creeks).
>>
>> - Little Pigeon River Road (From "The Y" in Townsend, to Metcalf Bottoms)
>> ** Be aware & plan for peak tourist days/hours traffic congestion **
>>
>> --> "The Sinks" (waterfall & swimming hole).. not listed on the
>>      generic map ... but it *is* on the trail map.  Located at the
>>      trailhead for "Meig's Creek".
>>
>>
>> --> Waterfall set back from the road .. can get it with a telephoto
>>
>> --> Turn-off/Elkmont ... old camp buildings; "Little River" (creek)
>>
>> --> Turn-off/Tremont Institute ... "Middle Prong" (creek) is along
>>    the road on the drive in.  Plus there's some nice sections further
>>    in (walking - wide easy path); the two sections do differ
>>    significantly (sun vs shade - bare rocks vs mossy).
>>
>> --> Creek in Metcalf Bottoms picnic area
>>
>> --> plus lots of generic pull-offs to explore
>>
>> FWIW, there's also "Laurel Falls" - a short (1 mi) hiking trail
>> that's so popular that it is paved.  Huge parking area with tons
>> of tourists during peak hours.
>>
>> - Newfound Gap Road / NC side
>>
>> --> Kephart Prong Trail?
>>
>> --> Smokemont Picnic Area?
>>
>> - Route 321 / 73 (North side, going East): Greenbrier
>>
>> --> creek along the road to the Ramsey Cascades trailhead
>>
>>
>> 4.  Gatlinburg - Roaring Fork Motor Trail
>>
>> This is a "nature trail from your car", but it features a good
>> number of pull-offs and short walks, such as to the Ogle House.
>> On the latter half (going downhill) there's a bridge over a
>> creek which has some nice views, plus "near the end" is a
>> location that's known as the "Place of a Thousand Drips".
>> Parking at these two last spots is very limited so it can be
>> tricky.  Again, be contrarian and go in the early morning for
>> the smallest crowds.
>>
>> 5.  Cades Cove
>>
>> This a one-way driving loop (closed on Sunday? mornings for bikes)
>> with stops along the way at various sites.  Expect tourists & be
>> aware of the hours of operation (closed at night too).  Single lane
>> and one-way, with clueless tourists who never realize that there's
>> 50 cars backed up behind them moving too slowly.
>>
>> --> most stops are at old buildings (farmhouse, primitive church, etc)
>>
>> --> trailhead for Abram's Falls has a creek immediately, plus
>>      some easy Creekside walking which has some photo ops
>>
>> --> the Visitor's Center has a small 'village' of old buildings too
>>      includes a grist mill
>>
>> --> multiple pull-overs which offer nice views of the grass fields
>>      in the valley, with mountain backdrops ...
>>
>> --> Wildlife.  There's quite a bit here, although most people
>>      don't see much.  Expect people to stop in the middle of the
>>      road if they see a deer.
>>
>> Also make the time for the drive to Cades Cove as part of your plan:
>> from Gatlinburg, I plan on ~45 minutes with an early morning start
>> without tourist traffic...but I know the road.  The section of the
>> Little Pigeon River Road between Metcalf Bottoms and the "Y" (Turnoff
>> to go to Townsend) is pretty twisty and and first-timers on the road
>> will go slower than its 25mph speed limit.
>>
>> Well, this should be a start!
>>
>>
>> -hh
> 
Thank you. That's exactly the type of info I was looking for. I will be 
driving North from FL, and have no fixed time schedule. I have heard 
that the park is beautiful in early April. For sleeping all I want is a 
clean place, with electric outlets. I learned long ago to pack a 
multiple outlet extension cord. As for eating, I have no great 
expectations.

-- 
PeterN