Sunday, February 28, 2016

TENNESSEE: Great Smoky Mountains National Park II

Alum Cave - other hikers for scale
Continuing our tour of the Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee is home to many of the more popular attractions and hikes. As we mentioned previously (click here to read Part I),  HikingInTheSmokys was a great resource for us when it came to planning our hikes.

This trail in particular is one of the more popular treks in the Smoky Mountains. It is a great versatile trail that isn't particularly hard and doesn't take more than a few hours to complete even though it is about 6 miles round-trip. We started this hike early cause we knew the parking would be tough, and we suggest you do the same. This hike wasn't open all week due to the volume of crowds and some maintenance along the trail.
We both really enjoyed this hike. While many hikes will lead you to one final viewpoint destination, this trail was full of sights and challenges that were very engaging. Great views and interesting bridges, running water and the final view from the actual Alum Cave, which isn't really a cave more like an overlook that was dug during the civil war for salt deposits. Definitely a hike you don't wanna miss.
along the Alum Cave Trail

View from Inspiration point along the Alum Cave trail
Chimney Tops is another very popular hike in the area. Unfortunately, because we did some major hiking before this we only did about half this trail and turned back. From what we saw, there were lots of streams, bridges and soaring trees. The view from the top of this trail is supposedly amazing. While we can't speak from personal experience about the full hike, what we did see was gorgeous. There is a gradual incline which was a bit too rough on our legs for that day, but we'd like to complete this hike if ever we make it back to the Smoky's.

Laurel Falls is a bit out of the way compared to the other hikes, and very saturated with tourists. The hike to Laurel Falls is an easy mile or so of incline, and to be fair - we feel that the Deep Creek area has a lot more to offer in terms of scenery and solitude. While Laurel Falls is beautiful, there were so many people around it was very difficult to get a good shot of the scenery without including several tourists.

Morton's Overlook is more of a viewpoint while you are driving the main road through the Smokey mountains from NC to TN. We stopped here twice. It is a vast open valley with views as far as the eye can see. We also attempted to see a sunset here but the cloud coverage in the area at that time in the evening was overtaking the sun. It's a beautiful little turn off, and worth stopping for the view.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is located on the border of North Carolina and Tennessee. You can read our entries about hiking in the park here.

You can read our other entries about Tennessee here

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