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.