Saturday, September 30, 2017 : Great Smoky Mountains National Park

We spend the whole day in the most visited park of the United States, perhaps because it is close to several major cities (Atlanta, Nashville, Knoxville, Charlotte ...), perhaps because it has no entry fee. Anyway, the place is beautiful and, at the beginning of fall, it is still warm in spite of the elevation.


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Great Smoky Mountains National Park


We start our day with a visit to Mingus Mill, a curious turbine mill next to a small mountain creek.


After that, we start the real thing and drive up the mountain. On the crestline of the Appalachians, we stop at Clingmans Dome. Ths dome itself is closed for maintenance, but the view of the moutain ranges is gorgeous.


Driving down, we painfully cross the very touristic small city of Gatlinsburg. We would very much love to hike to Grotto Falls cascade but no way, the parking lot is packed. We have to choose another cascade.


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Laurel Falls


Great Smoky Mountains is famous for its waterfalls, it would have been too bad not to see a few. We drive to Laurel Falls, a set of very nice cascades on a mountainside, under a welcome shade of trees. Hiking up, we can see a snake. Viper ? Grass Snake ? Anything else ? Nobody seems to know. Anyway, the animal is not aggressive.


We spend some time at Laurel Falls. Marie takes pictures of both cascades from all angles.


We then drive to Cades Cove. It is already the end of the afternoon and we can briefly see two bears, from some distance, though.


It is now quite late. We have dinner at Gatlinsburg and then drive back to Cherokee, crossing the whole park again at night.