The Newfound Gap Road in Autumn
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!
This is not a route one should select for making good time. As a matter of fact, although the speed limit varies from 35-45 M.P.H the chances are that you will not achieve those speeds for the duration of the journey. There are simply too many natural and beautiful distractions to allow anyone to speed idly along.
Also, there are may twists and turns along the way that simply demand caution and careful negotiation. The fact that engineers were even able to construct this twisted ribbon of pavement across the landscape borders on miraculous.
There are many pull-offs along the highway that offer such attractions as crashing and boisterous rivers and incredible overlooks. One should endeavor to periodically park and get out and experience the park up close and personal.
This adventure is memorable and exquisite any time of year, but when Autumn paints the trees red and yellow and orange and gold the ecstasy escalates to Nirvana. It seems that every curve along the highways presents a new palate of color generously applied to a different canvas.
And while I always recommend that the Park is best experienced on foot an a quiet and remote trail, there is something to be said about so much exposure to the natural beauty of the park in such a short period of time.
No trip to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is complete without at least one trip along the Newfound Gap Road from end to end. I highy recommend it!