The Smokey Mountains are the southeastern section of the Appalachian Mountains, which traverse from Georgia to Maine. The Smokey Mountains start in Georgia and run along the Tennessee/North Carolina border. They are called the Smokey Mountains because of the natural fog that is frequently seen around the higher peaks. They are home to Smokey Mountain National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway. During our time in Chattanooga , CaptK and I were able to explore the verdant forests that make up much of the area. As part of our explorations, we visited places like the kitschy but fun Gatlinburg and artsy, culinary delight, Asheville. We drove across Smokey Mountain National park, from Tennessee to North Carolina, as well as driving the Blue Ride Parkway from South Carolina to North Carolina. These mountains are not the soaring majestic peaks of the Rockies or the Alps. These are softer, quieter, nurturing ecosystems that are home to the hard wood forest at the lower levels, and evergreen forests in the higher levels. Hiking, rafting, camping, kayaking or tubing are the best ways to explore the wonders of these mountains. The picture above was shot from the highest point of the Blue Ridge Parkway, elevation 6053 feet at mile marker 431 in North Carolina. I hope these pictures inspire you to plan a road trip to visit the Smokey Mountains.
Benton Falls in the Cherokee National Forrest. It is about a 3 mile hike out and back from the Benton Falls Recreation Area where there are campgrounds, picnic areas and a sandy beach lake for swimming.
The Charcuterie Board at Curate, a tapas restaurant in downtown Asheville, NC. We shared this meaty deliciousness at the bar with a glass of Sangria. Make your reservation well in advance or be prepared to wait if you would like a table at Curate for dinner. www.katiebuttonreataurants.com
Smokey Mountain National Park showing its vibrant colors on a foggy fall day.
Downtown Gatlinburg and the Space Needle lit up at night. This photo was shot from the Loco Burro rooftop restaurant.
Fall Creek Falls State Park, in Spencer, TN, is home to camping, water sports and numerous falls including the Piney Fall pictured here.
There is nothing a hiker appreciates more than a hearty breakfast. The Over Easy Cafe in downtown Asheville serves up some of the best in town. Made from organic and locally sourced ingredients, you get a taste of what is available seasonally in the area. Pictured above is a sweet potato hash topped with a fried egg. www.overeasyaheville.com
Hiking above the clouds on Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga.
The observation tower at Clingman's Dome on a foggy morning. Smokey Mountain National Park.
Upper Creek Falls shot from the Upper Falls Creek trail, Pisgah National Forrest.
Rooftop bars with panoramic views of the smokey Mountains abound in Asheville. They are the perfect place to sip a cocktail and watch the sunset.
The fall colors on the trail to Clingman's Dome on a foggy day. Smokey Mountain national Park.
Chickamauga Creek in the early spring.
In the Spring, White Water Rafting or Kayaking is exhilarating. In the summer, as pictured above, it is more sedate.
The golden hued trees along Little River Trail in the fall. Smokey Mountain National Park
Upper Creek Falls, Pisgah National Forrest in the fall.