Sights around Great Smokey Mountains NP

Sep 9th, 2005, 02:30 PM
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Sights around Great Smokey Mountains NP

What are some good sights near Great Smokey Mountains NP? Grandfather Mountain? Biltmore Estate? Chimney Rock? Whitewater Falls? Fontana Dam? Sights in the National park? I plan on taking a trip there next summer. I am planning on driving from Maryland in one day. Is summer a good time to go as far as the weather? What is the humidity there compared to Maryland? What is a good base near the park enterance?
asdaven is offline  
Sep 9th, 2005, 06:45 PM
Join Date: Aug 2005
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Oh my...spent 2 weeks every spring and fall up at Elkmont camping...this was way back when they still had black bears that were wild and came into the campground. Nowadays, it's gotten "Dolly-fied", but then it's always had a bit of that in Gatlinburg anyway.
(BTW...while in Gatlinburg, you must go by the Smoky Mountain Candy Kitchens and eat a sample of the taffy for me...please!!)

Website for the park is:

Hum...are you a hiker? Camper? Mount LeConte was a great hike but was a while ago. Used to be able to reserve "shelter cabins" up there way back when...don't know about now and the website doesn't say. Remember having to trek to the outhouse at dawn in the snow. Sounds awful but God it was paradise except for the bolo time after three brothers who'd had a bean dinner the night before. Yikes!

Anyway...I digress...
So big YES votes from me for Grandfather Mountain, Whitewater Falls, Cades Cove, Elkmont (I wonder if they let folks go tubin' down the rapids anymore...?).
Can't profess to have been to the Biltmore but I'm sure it's quite nice. Ditto Fontana Dam.
Early summer's better...humidity from what I remember was typical but then we were from North Alabama and were used to it.
If you're not camping and feel like a splurge you might consider renting a chalet on Gatlinburg Mountain. Or there's plenty of Bed & Breakfast places there too. I recently stayed at Blue Mountain Mist in a cottage and it was wonderfully romantic and reasonably priced. Here's their website:
They also rent rooms in the main house.

Regardless...have a beautiful time there.
And skip a rock in a calm pool of water in the stream for me please.
God, it was a little piece of heaven on earth back in those woods!
llrpurch is offline  
Sep 11th, 2005, 03:35 PM
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We are hikers, but not campers. I plan on renting a cabin or staying at hotel in and around Gatlinburg or Cherokee, but both close to the park. What is Cherokee like? Is it much of a town? I have dogs and I need to find pet-friendly lodging. I know I can't take them into the park, but plan on leaving them in a cabin or cottage.
asdaven is offline  
Sep 11th, 2005, 08:09 PM
Join Date: Aug 2005
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Go for a cabin if you can. The hotels in Gatlinburg are kinda cheesy, like the rest of the touristy aspect of the place. Sevierville and Pidgeon Forge have also gotten fairly commercialized.

Try a search on Yahoo or Google for:
cabin smoky mountains "pets allowed"

I just did and 3570 hits came up. From perusing the first page of hits it looks like about 50% of the results allows pets. The other's has a "no" in from the the search field for "pets allowed".

We typically didn't go into Cherokee that much. I do remember a trip there when I was very young. Looking back as an adult, especially in todays world of better enlightenment, it's a disturbing memory. I have no idea how it is now there. God willing, better than I remember.

GOOD for you, taking your pups with you!! Vacations without my pups are not only boring, but stressful too since I worry about them. If you ask at one of the park information centers they might actually be able to steer towards some trails that are dog friendly. One word of warning is that snakes up there can be scary. There's rattlers, cottonmouth vipers, possibly water moccasins (but those are usually coastal and lake critters)...nasty things. Again, park info centers should be able to tell you what the threat is on the snakes.

Sugarlands Information Center as at the main entrance to the park coming in from Gatlinburg is where dad ALWAYS had to stop EVERY time we went, twice a year. It's still a good source of general info and maps of the various trails.

Hope you have a wonderful time!
llrpurch is offline  
Sep 11th, 2005, 10:55 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
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My vote goes to Chimney Rock and the Biltmore. Had a great hike on one of the trails at Chimney Rock with spectacular views. The Biltmore was worth the trip as well. The Vanderbilts have quite a legacy that we can all appreciate. Just one word of advice--there aren't too many rest stops along the Blue Ridge Parkway so take potty breaks when you can.
offlady is offline  
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