Monday, October 22, 2012

The Many Roads of the Great Smoky Mountains

View the beautiful fall colors of the Great Smoky Mountains. There are 384 miles of roads that wind through the Smokies offering breathtaking views of mountains, valleys, streams, forests, and historical sites.

Cades Cove Loop an 11-mile road offering one of the best opportunities to see wildlife, and a popular excursion for fall visitors to the park. There are several well preserved historical buildings to explore as well as a visitor center.

Cataloochee an isolated valley with abundance of wildlife and well preserved historical buildings near Maggie Valley.

Heintooga Ridge and Balsam Mountain is a high elevation tour with frequent overlooks and summertime wildflowers.

Little River Road which was originally a railroad bed road, is now an 18-mile route running from Sugarlands Visitor Center to the entrance of Cades Cove.

Newfound Gap-Clingman's Dome-The Newfound Gap road is the only one that completely traverses the Park, running 132 miles between Cherokee, N.C. and Gatlinburg, TN. (Fall colors are usually seen in higher elevation from early October but aren't typically as colorful as in the lower elevations. If you want a glimpse of some beautiful scenary, the higher elevations offer better views of the surrounding mountains.)

Parson Branch an 8-mile gravel road that leads from Cades Cove Loop Road to US 129 toward the North Carolina side of the Park and Calderwood Dam. The Parson Branch exit is just after the Cades Cove Visitor Center. No RVs or trailers are allowed.

Rich Mountain Road runs one way, 7 miles north from Cades Cove Loop to the Park boundary of Rich Mountain Gap and down the mountain to Townsend, TN. It's peaceful, quiet, and beautiful- definitely worth the drive.

Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail a 5-mile one way road near Gatlinburg, TN. The creek runs parallel with the narrow road for much of the drive. No trucks, RVs, and trailers are allowed.

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