Great Smoky Mountains – Tennessee/North Carolina

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Date of Visit: August 2009

How we got there: Drove from Chicago to Gatlinburg, 9 hours

Lodging: River Terrace Hotel, Gatlinburg

Favorites:

  • Mt. LeConte summit via Alum Cave Trail: 11-mile out-and-back hike with 2,763 ft elevation gain.
  • Hike to Grotto Falls via Trillium Gap Trail: At mile 2.6 the trail goes behind a 25-foot waterfall. 585 ft elevation gain to that point.
  • Clingmans Dome: Short walk up a paved trail and a spiraling observation tower at the highest point in the park and the state of Tennessee, elevation 6,643ft.

Tips: One end of the famous Blue Ridge Parkway begins right outside the southern Entrance in North Carolina along Highway 441.

Next time: Visit Cades Cove. Stay overnight on top of Mt. LeConte at the LeConte Lodge.

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