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Alum Cave Trail Great Smoky Mountains

Alum Cave Trail Great Smoky Mountains

Alum Cave Bluffs on the Alum Cave Trail Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Alum Cave Bluffs

The Alum Cave Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the most popular trails for good reason. This trail offers more interest and rewards per mile for the hiker than any other in the national park.

Due to the popularity of this trail, it is often an adventure just finding a parking space at the trail head, especially in  peak seasons. The parking lot is used by both day hikers and for overnighters staying at the LeConte Lodge and the LeConte Shelter. Continue reading

Photography in the Great Smoky Mountains

Photography in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains Blue Mist photography by Richard Weisser
Great Smoky Mountains Blue Mist

I have had the extreme pleasure of taking photographs in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park for over forty years.

Over that period of time there have been a lot of changes. Not only has the art of photography dramatically but the park itself has matured and been affected by weather and other environment influences. Continue reading

Cataloochee Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Cataloochee in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

The Cataloochee Overlook
The Cataloochee Overlook

Cataloochee is located on the North Carolina side of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Although it takes a little extra effort to get there, the rewards of visitation far outweigh the inconvenience of driving across the Cataloochee Divide on a narrow unpaved twisting access road.

As you work your way into the valley, the road suddenly transforms into a two-lane paved thoroughfare. The first should be the Cataloochee Overlook. From here you can see a vast area of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Take a moment to reflect on the first pioneers that looked upon this rugged land and were determined to make this place their home, Continue reading

Trees in the Great Smoky Mountains


Trees in the Great Smoky Mountains.

Trees Cover the slopes of the Great Smoky Mountains
Trees Cover the Great Smoky Mountains

It has been be said that there are more species of trees within the boundaries of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park than there all if the whole of Europe. The combination of latitude, altitude and the large amount of annual rainfall have produced a forest canopy that is unrivaled in North America. Continue reading

Best Short Hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Best Short Hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

What are the best short hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park? First of all, let’s clarify what I consider to be a short hike. A short hike would consist of a round trip of five miles or less.

Alum Cave Bluffs on the Alum Cave Trail
Alum Cave Bluffs

And just because a hike is short does not mean it is easy. Some of these hikes require a good bit of climbing and may seem a lot longer. But all can be easily completed in a half day plus whatever time you wish to spend at the destination. So here we go in my order of preference: Continue reading

Deep Creek Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Deep Creek in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Deep Creek in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one those out of the way places that is well known to locals but remains relatively unknown to the majority of park visitors.

That has always baffled me, because this little corner of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers more recreational and natural opportunities than any other region including Cades Cove and Cataloochee.

Wake Robin in Deep Creek
Wake Robin in Deep Creek

Here one can cool off on a hot Summer Day by tubing the area’s namesake watercourse – Deep Creek! In addition, the Lower Deep Creek Trail is one of the few off-road courses that is open to bicyclists. Continue reading

Historic Structures in the Great Smoky Mountains

Historic Structures in the Great Smoky Mountains

Little Cataloochee Baptist Church
Little Cataloochee Baptist Church

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park was not always public land. Unlike the majority of other national parks that were established on lands already owned by the federal or state governments, what is now the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was a collection of privately owned parcels.
Some of these parcels were huge tracts owned by timber and mining companies. Others were small self-sustaining farms and orchards. Still others were small lots with vacation, hunting and fishing cabins. Continue reading

The Newfound Gap Road in Autumn

The Newfound Gap Road in Autumn

Great Smoky Mountains
Great Smoky Mountains

A drive from one end to the other on the Newfound Gap Road in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Autumn has been likened to traveling from North Carolina to Maine and back to Tennessee.

The changes in exposure, elevation, temperature and vegetation offer a first-hand look at the mystery and grandeur of these mountains. Climbing to the Gap and back down again in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Autumn can literally take your breath away! Continue reading

Cades Cove

Cades Cove in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Great Smoky Mountains Cades Cove
Great Smoky Mountains Cades Cove

Cades Cove is the most popular destination in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. And for good reason.

Just about everything that the Great Smoky Mountains National Park has to offer is available in this place. Whether you are looking for wildlife, mountain views, the history of the Smokies, horseback riding, waterfalls, an improved campground, a designated picnic area or good hiking trails Cades Cove has what you are seeking! Continue reading

Smoky Mountains Ghost Appearance

Smoky Mountains Ghost

Photo of a Smoky Mountains Ghost
Photo of a Smoky Mountains Ghost

On a routine shoot in 2011 I was taking photos at Laurel Falls in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Nothing really stood out to me at the time. I take a lot of photos and this one did not stand out to me at the time.

Fast forward to 2015 and the launch of the new SmokyPhotos. As I began going through images both old and new with a very critical eye, I noticed a strange anomaly in this photo that I took at Laurel Falls. Continue reading

Hiking the Kephart Prong Trail

Kephart Prong Trail
Kephart Prong Trail

The Kephart Prong Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a popular hiking destination for those seeking a gentle walk with plenty of interesting features. Few trails in the park offer as much in such a short span as the Kephart Prong Trail. Continue reading

Andrews Bald in the Great Smoky Mountains

Andrews Bald Azaleas in Bloom
Andrews Bald with Azaleas in Bloom

Andrews Bald is a popular destination in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. And for good reason:

The bald offers wonderful mountain views, brilliant Fall foliage, and lots of blooming shrubs in early Summer. The Azaleas and Rhododendron can really provide an incredible showy display when in peak bloom. The open meadow is large and allows views in many directions of mountain peaks and deep valleys. Continue reading