Park Info

Specific Information about the Great Smoky Mountains National Park places, amenities and features.

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

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

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the most popular national parks in the United States, with more than ten million visitors a year.

There are several good reasons for this popularity. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is designated as an International Biosphere Reserve and offers as diverse a variety of flora and fauna as any other place on Earth. Continue reading

John Oliver Cabin Cades Cove Great Smoky Mountains

John Oliver Cabin
John Oliver Cabin The John Oliver Cabin is a pioneer log cabin located in Cades Cove, which now lies within the boundaries of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

The John Oliver Cabin is a pioneer log cabin located in Cades Cove, which now lies within the boundaries of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Unlike the national parks in the west, which were platted out from government lands, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was once thousands of parcels of land, owned by many title holders. Continue reading

Spring Wildflowers in the Great Smoky Mountains

Rhododendron along Kephart Prong
Rhododendron along Kephart Prong

Spring Wildflowers in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park draw flora lovers from near and far. The display of early blooms takes place from March through June as the park is transformed into a garden rivaling Eden.

But all of Nature’s artistry does not manifest itself at once. Several factors determine when and where flowers will be blooming. Continue reading

The Elk of Cataloochee

Cataloochee Elk Great Smoky Mountains
Cataloochee Elk Great Smoky Mountains

The Elk of Cataloochee

Located in the remote Southeast corner of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the Cataloochee Valley. And since the National Park Service reintroduced elk into the valley in 2001, wildlife lovers from all over the world have crossed the Cataloochee Divide to see the beautiful creatures! Continue reading