Gatlinburg and the Tennessee Smoky Mountains

Great Smoky Mountains Park from Tennessee
Rarely can you actually “see” the border between states, but when you travel south on the Foothills Parkway in far eastern Tennessee, all you need to do is look to the east, and the Tennessee-North Carolina state line follows the highest ridge from northeast to southwest into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Gatlinburg Golf Club
As you approach the Gatlinburg-Pigeon Forge area, that same ridge is clearly visible as it divides the national park down the middle. Mount Laconte, the tallest peak in the park, is the second highest mountain east of the Mississippi, falling just feet short of Mt. Mitchell to the east.

Cades Cove Ridgeline
In the far southwest quadrant of the Park is the preserved settlement called Cades Cove, and that same ridgeline, above, continues southwest into Georgia. Restored farm structures in Cades Cove tell the story of Scots-Irish families who settled in this remote valley hundreds of years ago.

Cades Cove Grain Cradle
Back in Pigeon Forge, The Little Pigeon River, below,  flows out of the Park, and northward toward the mighty Tennessee. Catawba Rhododendron are already blooming at this elevation.

Little Pigeon River
Since the National Park opened in 1935, Gatlinburg has been one of the main destinations for Park travelers. First class resorts with artistic pools and waterfalls have been built all through the valley.

River Stone Resort
Where you have millions of tourists, you also have the irresistable attractions that vie for the family vacation dollar. One of the most dramatic is a nearly lifesize recreation of the Titanic, iceberg and all. Driving past this bohemoth is disorienting to say the least.

Titanic in Pigeon Forge
Another recent addition is the Hollywood Wax Museum, with a 150 foot tall King Kong clinging to the Empire State Building, while a Mt. Rushmore knock-off of Hollywood’s greatest stars looms in the foreground.

llywood Wax Museum
Back into nature, May wildflowers compete very well with the monstrosities of man, and serve as reminders of why we came to these mountains in the first place.

Gatlinburg Wildflowers

7 thoughts on “Gatlinburg and the Tennessee Smoky Mountains

  1. As interesting as some might think the Titanic replica or the Wax museum would be, I’d much rather tour what nature has to offer. That’s some slanted roof on that cabin. Enjoyed your post

  2. Photos are beautiful. Brad and I spent a vacation or two in that area………went white water rafting on the Chatooga River. Quite a ride!


  3. Man, these are some beautifusl shots. I would love to visit this area. We really enjoyed the write-up on us in the news letter. If our money is right and we hold out , we hope to come up there. Take care and stay well. Cousin Burnice

    Date: Mon, 20 May 2013 19:10:10 +0000 To:

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  5. I am so excited!!! Going to Knoxville the 12th of October. Going to be visiting the mountains and going to Norris Lake!!! Looks so beautiful! I can’t wait!!!!!

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