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Great Smoky Mountains

Updated on March 13, 2015

Mountain Scene with Foreground Trees

Mountains and Trees
Mountains and Trees | Source

Great Smoky Mountains

A visit to the Smoky Mountains will be rewarding with splendid scenery. Here you will be able to view mountains, wildlife, and rushing waters, all from within your vehicle.

The Smoky Mountains offer an excellent vacation spot with family activities available.

Intro Image: Black Spaniel Gallery has taken, and fully owns, this image. We have the right to use it. No link can be provided. All other images not linked are also our images.

Intro Image: Black Spaniel Gallery has taken, and fully owns, this image. We have the right to use it. No link can be provided.

Distant Mountains

Mountains | Source

The Great Smoky Mountains

Visiting the Great Smoky Mountains offers panoramic vistas, glimpses of wildlife, and fantastic memories.

The main road goes from Gatlinburg, Tennessee, to Cherokee, North Carolina. It has always been, when we traveled it, in good condition. Be prepared to move slowly, simply because passing opportunities are not easily found. The road goes up to the state line, then descends on the other side. Along the road are many places with fantastic views. These usually have parking lots, so there is no reason for anyone stopping in traffic. They offer a photographer's wonderland.

In addition to views of distant mountainsides, swift moving water in small streams frequently parallel the road. Here rocks are exposed, giving a unique visual experience.

It would be almost impossible to get lost if the trip is taken in a vehicle. Yes, hiking can be an activity, but stay on the trails. In fact, if you wish to visit one of the waterfalls hiking is a necessity. In a vehicle, there are few turns possible. You can go straight through the park, take the one side road to Clingman's Dome, or take the route from the visitor station on the Tennessee side through Cade's Cove, which is a road that comes back out to itself.

For scenery go to Clingman's Dome or take the road to the state line. For wildlife and rustic buildings go through Cade's Cove. But go to Cade's Cove only if you have time to follow slow moving traffic through a narrow, winding road. Passing is generally impossible.

A separate part of the park, Roaring Forks, is a narrow, steep one way road. Once started, you are committed to finishing the trip. Here you will see rushing water, but the more tranquil trip through the park is a much easier drive. Roaring Forks may require cooling the brakes several times.

Apple Trees

Apple Tree Orchard
Apple Tree Orchard | Source

Apple Trees

This is from the grounds of the Apple Barn, a real nice restaurant, gift shop, and more. There is an orchard one can view.


Dollywood is a theme park, with the usual rides. But it also has mountain crafts being made while you watch. It can be a subtle learning experience for children, who are enjoying themselves so much they do not realize they are learning.

Of course Dollywood also houses music venues, and you might catch some nice performances.

Dolly Splash is the water park associated, but separate from, Dollywood. If you plan to also attend Dolly Splash you might take this into account when purchasing your tickets.


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Gatlinburg and the Smoky MountainsSmoky MountainsSmoky MountainsSmoky Mountains
Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains
Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains | Source
Smoky Mountains
Smoky Mountains | Source
Smoky Mountains
Smoky Mountains | Source
Smoky Mountains
Smoky Mountains | Source


Gatlinburg | Source


There are many places to stay in the area, but the crowd centers in a small stretch in Gatlinburg. The strip starts near the world class aquarium, and ends near the park entrance. While there is trolley service, staying right on or near the strip is best.

Rustic Buildings

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aquarium Scene
aquarium Scene | Source


There is a world class aquarium in Gatlinburg, about halfway through the town. A moving sidewalk takes you through a transparent tunnel, where you can get some unique views of the fish. Photography is difficult, since the tunnel reflects light and you may see your own image in your pictures. Lighting is too low for not using the flash unless your camera is set for low lighting. Another problem is you are, although slowly, moving.

Other Entertainment

There are many family friendly forms of entertainment in Gatlinburg. These include museums, miniature golf, and arcades. There is also a space needle from which the views are great.

In Pigeon Forge you can also find some entertainment, but walking is not as common. Here you may be able to wash dirt in the quest for precious stones, and find them. I believe they are not of great quality considering the cost of a bucket of dirt, but they can be cut and set into jewelry.


On the Cherokee side of the mountain is an Indian reservation. Here is a casino, and many additional entertaining venues. Since we never stayed on the Cherokee side, we know much less about it.

Rushing Water

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Rushing WaterRushing WaterRushing WaterRushing WaterRushing Water
Rushing Water
Rushing Water | Source
Rushing Water
Rushing Water | Source
Rushing Water
Rushing Water | Source
Rushing Water
Rushing Water | Source
Rushing Water
Rushing Water | Source


There is a loop just outside Gatlinburg that will bring you past artists and craft makers. These shops have unique items made by the artists and artisans whose shops you can visit.

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    • Joy Neasley profile image

      Joy Neasley 5 years ago from Nashville, TN

      I love the Smokey Mountains. It made for great vacations with the kids.

    • LiteraryMind profile image

      Ellen Gregory 5 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      Very nice landscapes. I actually like the picture of the fish in the aquarium -- it has character.

    • justDawn1 profile image

      justDawn1 5 years ago

      Haven't been to Dollywood's Splash Country yet, but we get a season pass to Dollywood every year :) Love it & can't wait to see the new ride this year, the Wild Eagle ! :)

    • agoofyidea profile image

      agoofyidea 5 years ago

      I'd love to go back to Dollywood. I loved watching the craftmen (and craftswomen) create old-time objects. The quiz was fun.

    • top101 profile image

      top101 5 years ago

      Looks great!

    • Andy-Po profile image

      Andy 5 years ago from London, England

      Excellent lens and a beautiful place to visit

    • pcgamehardware profile image

      pcgamehardware 5 years ago

      The only problem with this lens is that I didn't think of it first... Been to Gatlinburg many times and always had a fantastic time there. Cade's cove is so cool and you can't beat the scenery and wildlife anywhere... I also have some great pictures of the Smokey mountains, but I don't think I could have made a lens better than this... Great Job, Liked, Shared and *Blessed* ... Thanks for sharing and bringing back memories... :)

    • teamunited12 profile image

      teamunited12 5 years ago

      Beautiful lens...I've been through the smokeys several times and always enjoyed the trip.

    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 5 years ago

      You have excellent picture which capture the spirit and essence of Smoky, We had a great vacation in Smoky at Gatlinburg so I had just one wrong answer in all your polls, and by the way, it was a great vacation, I must go make some day...


    • puppyprints profile image

      puppyprints 5 years ago

      LOVE the Smokeys. If you are going to visit - be sure to check out Cades Cove

    • futurefocus57 profile image

      futurefocus57 5 years ago

      Would love to see a short history of the aerial tramway to Ober Gatlinburg. Great lens!

    • dahlia369 profile image

      dahlia369 5 years ago

      Smokey Mountains are such a beautiful area. I love the way they look in fall and of course I can't help myself but admire all the streams and waterfalls... :)

    • allenwebstarme profile image

      allenwebstarme 5 years ago

      I'm nature lover, wonderful lens, watching nature increase positivity in life. Thanks for sharing this stuff.

    • peachplanet profile image

      peachplanet 5 years ago

      @Ribolov LM: yes you do! I'm Croatian and have been to SLO many times!

    • MelonyVaughan profile image

      MelonyVaughan 5 years ago

      Loved the quiz! Great lens! I've been to Smokey Mountains and they are absolutely spectacular!

    • profile image

      JZinoBodyArt 5 years ago

      Very cool! I love the scenery!

    • Ribolov LM profile image

      Ribolov LM 5 years ago

      In Slovenia we also have nice mountains.

    • gypsyman27 lm profile image

      gypsyman27 lm 5 years ago

      My sons's mother lives in Tennessee and we used to drive from Atlanta and past the Smokey Mountains when we visited. Good work and useful information on this lens. See you around the galaxy...

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Enjoyed stopping by and reviewing your article, enjoyed it tonight.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Nice lens. Thanks for making it.

    • jimbarnes lm profile image

      jimbarnes lm 5 years ago

      i really enjoyed your lenses, thank you very much!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      useful info thanks for sharing

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      A delightful visit to the Smokey Mountains, I could have done better on those quizzes. Congratulations on being featured on the front page! I was particularly interested in questions 1 and 4.

    • lasertek lm profile image

      lasertek lm 5 years ago

      I like this lens! The pictures are great.

    • Natalie W Schorr profile image

      Natalie W Schorr 5 years ago

      Right in my backyard almost - a beautiful place!

    • profile image

      MaxL 6 years ago

      Nice lens! For someone like me far in Europe, it's nice to get a glimpse, even if only online, of the beauty oversee ;)

    • MargoPArrowsmith profile image

      MargoPArrowsmith 6 years ago

      This is the first time I ever got all the quiz questions correct!

      I love the Smokies, especially in North Carolina.

    • MargoPArrowsmith profile image

      MargoPArrowsmith 6 years ago

      This is the first time I ever got all the quiz questions correct!

      I love the Smokies, especially in North Carolina.

    • ChrisDay LM profile image

      ChrisDay LM 6 years ago

      Great lens - loved the pictures - the quiz was also good, not least because I had 100%.

    • grandma deal profile image

      grandma deal 6 years ago

      I enjoyed your photo galleries. I would like to learn how to make the photos change by clicking on them. That is cool.

    • jvsper63 profile image

      jvsper63 6 years ago

      I have never been there.,but i would love to go on day. I love green places. grass tree's..Nice lens

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Cade's Cove within the National Park is one place you do not want to miss!

      Deer, bears, elk, turkeys, and more make for one of the best days in the Great Smokey Montain National Park.

    • rebeccahiatt profile image

      rebeccahiatt 6 years ago

      I love the Smokies and I go there often

    • JanieceTobey profile image

      JanieceTobey 7 years ago

      I love the Great Smokies!

    • PNWtravels profile image

      Vicki Green 7 years ago from Wandering the Pacific Northwest USA

      I've never been to the Great Smoky Mountains, but it definitely someplace I'd like to see. Great photos!