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Trip Report Great Smoky Mountains National Park Trip Report

I didn't have time to really research the trip because I flew in from another trip the day before.

We flew to Knoxville and drove to Gatlinburg. Our first day we drove down the Newfoundland gap road, north to south from Gatlinburg to Cherokee in North Carolina. We stopped by a few lookouts, which weren't so impressive. Tried driving toward Clingmans road, but it was so foggy, that we turned around about a mile before. We also toured inside an old mill, the Mingus Mill. The whole trip down to Cherokee and back to Gatlinburg took less than 4 hours with multiple stops for viewpoints, no hikes. Within the park, roads are very curvy and winding and you can't go more than about 25-35 miles/ hour.

We then drove back to Quality inn and suites in Gatlinburg. Room was very large, but we got several calls at 12:30 am and no one answered when we picked up. At the check in desk there was a note from the police dept about people calling up guestrooms pretending to be the front desk and asking for credit card numbers. Didn't give a safe feeling, especially since I thought there were interior corridors when booking it, and there weren't. Free breakfast and parking.

The next morning it thundered and rained for several hours. By the time we left it had stopped and was sunny and beautiful. This time we drove toward the park and made a right toward Sugarland visitor center. We drove past that and stopped at Laurel Falls to hike. It took about 45 minutes on the way up with frequent stops and less than 40 on the way down. The falls were impressive and this was the highlight of our trip. Later on we drove to Meig's falls or sink falls- which are falls that you can see without hiking to- located close to the roadway. In the afternoon we drove onward to Cades Cove which was an 11 mile loop drive. We stopped on the way within the loop to tour the Oliver Family's log cabin and rangers gave us a history of the place. When we got to the gift shop in Cades Cove it started raining so we decided to leave the park and head toward Townsend and on to Knoxville.

We checked into the Clarion Inn in the evening- which was very far from the airport and I hadn't known that when booking. It felt safer with interior corridors, and we woke up at 3 am the next morning to catch our early morning flight back home.

All in all was an ok trip; we really liked the hike to Laurel Falls. 2 days was enough for us because we didn't hike a lot. Today when researching I happened to come across Fontana Lake and Dam which looks nice, but didn't know it existed. Maybe some other time!

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