Roaring Fork offers a dramatic counterpoint to Cades Cove Loop Road. Where Cades Cove Loop meanders through a wide open valley, Roaring Fork closes in, with the forest sometimes literally just inches from your car's fender. The one-way, paved road is so narrow in places that RVs, trailers, and buses are not permitted. The 6-mi Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail starts just beyond the Noah "Bud" Ogle farmstead and the Rainbow Falls trailhead. Stop and pick up a Roaring Fork Auto Tour booklet ($1) at the information shelter. Numbered markers along the route are keyed to 16 stops highlighted in the booklet. Along the road are many opportunities to stop your car and get closer to nature. Among the sites are several old cabins and the Alfred Reagan place, which is painted in the original blue, yellow, and cream, "all three colors that Sears and Roebuck had," according to a story attributed to Mr. Reagan. At one point the roadside is littered with fallen and now decaying chestnut trees that were killed by the chestnut blight in the early part of the 20th century. There are several good hiking trails starting along the road, including Trillium Gap Trail that leads to Mt. LeConte. The road follows Roaring Fork Creek a good part of the way, and the finale is a small waterfall called "The Place of a Thousand Drips," right beside the road. Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail is closed in winter (usually December–March).
Roaring Fork Motor Nature Tr., Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina, 37738, USA