Great Smoky Mountains National Park

After doing the post for yesterday at Dillsboro, I went for a drive through downtown Dillboro and neighboring Sylva and walked around both.  Sylva has the Jackson County Court House up on a hill overlooking downtown.  Last time I was here I toured the courthouse.  Yesterday I just took a few pix.

Off this morning (Thursday, May 18) and into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park from the south at 8:15am.  Compared to the yesterday, the best day on the BRP, the park was for me, a bit of a bust.  Fun driving the switchbacks and curves.  Just a few good vistas compared to the Parkway.  I’ve seen all this, like three times now and simply drove through it with relatively few stops.  It takes only and hour and a half.  I skip two of the major features here: Clingmans Dome and Cades Cove.  But because I’ve seen them I can readily tell you about them and describe them anyway.  First here’s the best of my pix today on entry into the park.  As you can see the vistas don’t compare to those in the Asheville part of the BRP.


Clingmans Dome.  A side trip from the main park north/south drive, here it is off of Newfound Gap.  At 6,643 feet, Clingmans Dome is the GSMNP’s highest point.  Also the highest in Tennessee as well as the second highest point east of the Mississippi.  A paved trail leads to a 54-foot observation tower and I can tell you from experience, the half-mile hike up is will get your heart pumping.  Here you can see from aerial photos, the parking lot, the trail and the top of the dome which sports that 54′ tower.

Vistas from the tower are spectacular. On clear day, views are over 100 miles and into seven states.  The whole deal is breathtaking, getting there and the views.

Between Clingmans Dome and Cades Cove going north the drive is all downhill, following a creek all along the way.

Cades Cove is a broad valley surrounded by mountains.  Seeing it is on an 11-mile one-way loop.  When I was here, it was crowded.  Coming up on a traffic jam, all the peeps are out of their cars and peering at a black bear up in a tree.  Have these people never been to a zoo?  It’s just a small one at that.  I mean c’mon.  There’s a lot of historic examples of the folks who once made their living here as well as their home here.

Here’s some of my own pix of the drive through the park that are typical.
Okay, and then at the Townsend access, I’m outta here.  It’s still early so I drive on to Lexington, Kentucky.
Well that’s it for the day and I’m afraid to say, that’s about it for the trip.   Tomorrow all interstate highway and home.  I’ll do another post in a day or so to recap, but in the meantime I want to thank all of you who have followed me on this trip.  The joy and comfort of having each of you riding all means a lot.  Thanks for that.  Cheers to all.
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10 Responses to Great Smoky Mountains National Park

  1. Andrea Paine says:

    Enjoyed your blog. Safe travels home tomorrow. I always stay in Lexington when I drive home from Florida – actually Georgetown. Six hours and you’ll be home.

  2. Pete Ruts says:

    Andrea. Yep, sadly, end of trip. Happily, I’ll be back home. Cheers Andrea, happy to have you in shotgun. Good trip.

  3. Jakob Ruts says:

    Hi Papa it’s Jakob. Good to hear you are having fun. See you Sunday. Love you!

    • Pete Ruts says:

      Hey Jakob. Glad to see you’re in shotgun with me. See you Sunday for sure. I’ll tell you the story of how I get out on the road and approach each day. Remind me. Love, Papa.

  4. Doug and Janet says:

    Hi Pete,
    Safe travels home. To coin a phrase, there’s no place like it. We’ve enjoyed your trip and comments about each venue. Looking forward to the next one!
    Fond regards,
    Doug and Jan Miller

  5. Dad,

    YOU ARE THE MAN. Thx for the adventure, as always.

  6. Joyce Vacca says:

    Hi Peter, I enjoyed the trip, especially being retired, and having time to read the blogs. Safe travels home

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