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Great Smoky Mountains

Henry smith has made numerous visits to the Smoky Mountains, and has many photographs of its beauty.

Mountain Scene with Foreground Trees

Mountains and Trees

Mountains and Trees

Great Smoky Mountains

A visit to the Smoky Mountains will be rewarding with splendid scenery. Here you will be able to view mountains, wildlife, and rushing waters, all from within your vehicle.

The Smoky Mountains offer an excellent vacation spot with family activities available.

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Distant Mountains



The Great Smoky Mountains

Visiting the Great Smoky Mountains offers panoramic vistas, glimpses of wildlife, and fantastic memories.

The main road goes from Gatlinburg, Tennessee, to Cherokee, North Carolina. It has always been, when we traveled it, in good condition. Be prepared to move slowly simply because passing opportunities are not easily found. The road goes up to the state line, then descends on the other side. Along the road are many places with fantastic views. These usually have parking lots, so there is no reason for anyone stopping in traffic. They offer a photographer's wonderland.

In addition to views of distant mountainsides, swift moving water in small streams frequently parallel the road. Here rocks are exposed, giving a unique visual experience. Look closely and find small waterfalls, or walk a trail to one of the larger waterfalls.

It would be almost impossible to get lost if the trip is taken in a vehicle. Yes, hiking can be an activity, but stay on the trails. In fact, if you wish to visit one of the waterfalls hiking is a necessity. In a vehicle, there are few turns possible. You can go straight through the park, take the one side road to Clingman's Dome, or take the route from the visitor station on the Tennessee side through Cade's Cove, which is a road that comes back out to itself.

For scenery go to Clingman's Dome or take the road to the state line. For wildlife and rustic buildings go through Cade's Cove. But go to Cade's Cove only if you have time to follow slow moving traffic through a narrow, winding road. Passing is generally impossible.

A separate part of the park, Roaring Forks, is a narrow, steep one way road. Once started, you are committed to finishing the trip. Here you will see rushing water, but the more tranquil trip through the park is a much easier drive. Roaring Forks may require cooling the brakes several times.

Apple Trees

This is from the grounds of the Apple Barn, a real nice restaurant, gift shop, and more. There is an orchard one can view. Picking apples is not allowed, nor is it allowed to eat fallen apples. Yet seeing and photographing apples as they grow are activities one can do.

Apple Trees

Apple Tree Orchard

Apple Tree Orchard


Dollywood is a theme park, with the usual rides. But it also has mountain crafts being made while you watch. It can be a subtle learning experience for children, who are enjoying themselves so much they do not realize they are learning.

Of course Dollywood also houses music venues, and you might catch some nice performances.

Dolly Splash is the water park associated with, but separate from, Dollywood. If you plan to also attend Dolly Splash you might take this into account when purchasing your tickets.




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There are many places to stay in the area, but the people often frequent in a small stretch in Gatlinburg. The strip frequented by visitors starts near the world class aquarium, and ends near the park entrance. It is near the park entrance that the convention center can be found.

While there is trolley service, staying right on or near the strip is best.


aquarium Scene

aquarium Scene


There is a world class aquarium in Gatlinburg, about halfway through the town. A moving sidewalk will take you through a transparent tunnel where you can get some unique views of the fish. Photography is difficult, since the tunnel reflects light and you may see your own image in your pictures. Lighting is too low for not using the flash unless your camera is set for low lighting. Another problem is you are, although slowly, always moving.

Other Entertainment

There are many family friendly forms of entertainment in Gatlinburg. These include museums, miniature golf, and arcades. There is also a space needle from which the views are great.

In Pigeon Forge you can also find some entertainment, but walking is not as easy as might be desired. Here you may be able to wash dirt in a sluice in the quest for precious stones, and find them. I believe they are not of great quality considering the cost of a bucket of dirt is low, but they can be cut and set into jewelry.

Things You Might Miss in the Smoky Mountains


On the Cherokee side of the mountain is an Indian reservation. Here is a casino, and many additional entertaining venues. Since we never stayed on the Cherokee side, we know much less about it.


There is a loop just outside Gatlinburg that will bring you past shops of artists and craft makers. These shops have unique items made by the artists and artisans and can be purchased.

Great Smoky Mountains Art

Winter Is Beautiful

Winter brings some, albeit not much, snowfall. Mountain roads can be closed. However, once the roads reopen the snow on the rocks that jut from the roadside stream is a beauty to behold. Colder air settles above the lower stream allowing the snow to remain, and air just a bit higher at road level warms to a comfortable temperature.

Another spectacular sight is that of icicles clinging to the sheer walls above, melting slowly. Once the sun sinks towards the horizon the water from the melting icicles can refreeze making the roadway treacherous.

Activity Guide

Please leave your comment.

Joy Neasley from Nashville, TN on September 10, 2012:

I love the Smokey Mountains. It made for great vacations with the kids.

Ellen Gregory from Connecticut, USA on June 16, 2012:

Very nice landscapes. I actually like the picture of the fish in the aquarium -- it has character.

justDawn1 on March 18, 2012:

Haven't been to Dollywood's Splash Country yet, but we get a season pass to Dollywood every year :) Love it & can't wait to see the new ride this year, the Wild Eagle ! :)

agoofyidea on March 11, 2012:

I'd love to go back to Dollywood. I loved watching the craftmen (and craftswomen) create old-time objects. The quiz was fun.

top101 on March 08, 2012:

Looks great!

Andy-Po on March 04, 2012:

Excellent lens and a beautiful place to visit

pcgamehardware on February 29, 2012:

The only problem with this lens is that I didn't think of it first... Been to Gatlinburg many times and always had a fantastic time there. Cade's cove is so cool and you can't beat the scenery and wildlife anywhere... I also have some great pictures of the Smokey mountains, but I don't think I could have made a lens better than this... Great Job, Liked, Shared and *Blessed* ... Thanks for sharing and bringing back memories... :)

teamunited12 on February 28, 2012:

Beautiful lens...I've been through the smokeys several times and always enjoyed the trip.

Michey LM on February 26, 2012:

You have excellent picture which capture the spirit and essence of Smoky, We had a great vacation in Smoky at Gatlinburg so I had just one wrong answer in all your polls, and by the way, it was a great vacation, I must go make some day...


puppyprints on February 25, 2012:

LOVE the Smokeys. If you are going to visit - be sure to check out Cades Cove

futurefocus57 on February 24, 2012:

Would love to see a short history of the aerial tramway to Ober Gatlinburg. Great lens!

dahlia369 on February 24, 2012:

Smokey Mountains are such a beautiful area. I love the way they look in fall and of course I can't help myself but admire all the streams and waterfalls... :)

allenwebstarme on February 23, 2012:

I'm nature lover, wonderful lens, watching nature increase positivity in life. Thanks for sharing this stuff.

peachplanet on February 23, 2012:

@Ribolov LM: yes you do! I'm Croatian and have been to SLO many times!

MelonyVaughan on February 22, 2012:

Loved the quiz! Great lens! I've been to Smokey Mountains and they are absolutely spectacular!

JZinoBodyArt on February 22, 2012:

Very cool! I love the scenery!

Ribolov LM on February 22, 2012:

In Slovenia we also have nice mountains.

gypsyman27 lm on February 21, 2012:

My sons's mother lives in Tennessee and we used to drive from Atlanta and past the Smokey Mountains when we visited. Good work and useful information on this lens. See you around the galaxy...

anonymous on February 20, 2012:

Enjoyed stopping by and reviewing your article, enjoyed it tonight.

anonymous on February 20, 2012:

Nice lens. Thanks for making it.

jimbarnes lm on February 20, 2012:

i really enjoyed your lenses, thank you very much!

anonymous on February 20, 2012:

useful info thanks for sharing

anonymous on February 20, 2012:

A delightful visit to the Smokey Mountains, I could have done better on those quizzes. Congratulations on being featured on the front page! I was particularly interested in questions 1 and 4.

lasertek lm on February 19, 2012:

I like this lens! The pictures are great.

Natalie W Schorr on February 11, 2012:

Right in my backyard almost - a beautiful place!

MaxL on July 03, 2011:

Nice lens! For someone like me far in Europe, it's nice to get a glimpse, even if only online, of the beauty oversee ;)

MargoPArrowsmith on June 23, 2011:

This is the first time I ever got all the quiz questions correct!

I love the Smokies, especially in North Carolina.

MargoPArrowsmith on June 23, 2011:

This is the first time I ever got all the quiz questions correct!

I love the Smokies, especially in North Carolina.

ChrisDay LM on April 05, 2011:

Great lens - loved the pictures - the quiz was also good, not least because I had 100%.

grandma deal on April 05, 2011:

I enjoyed your photo galleries. I would like to learn how to make the photos change by clicking on them. That is cool.

jvsper63 on April 05, 2011:

I have never been there.,but i would love to go on day. I love green places. grass tree's..Nice lens

anonymous on April 05, 2011:

Cade's Cove within the National Park is one place you do not want to miss!

Deer, bears, elk, turkeys, and more make for one of the best days in the Great Smokey Montain National Park.

rebeccahiatt on January 30, 2011:

I love the Smokies and I go there often

JanieceTobey on January 16, 2011:

I love the Great Smokies!

Vicki Green from Wandering the Pacific Northwest USA on January 13, 2011:

I've never been to the Great Smoky Mountains, but it definitely someplace I'd like to see. Great photos!

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