5 Reasons To Hike The Great Smoky Mountains
If you’re looking for your next outdoor adventure, the Great Smoky Mountains in North Carolina and Tennessee offer stunning alpine treks filled with waterfalls and black bears. Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited national park in the country and we can see why. Here are four reasons to put the Smokies on your must-hike list.
1. The Views
Hike the Appalachian Trail to Charlie's Bunion for spectacular views of the famous Smokie's mountainscape! The trailhead begins at Newfound Gap parking area and is 4.5 miles to the Bunion. The name dates back to the 1920's when native mountain-guide Charlie Conner stopped to rest at the rock outcrop, and had a bunion the size of the surrounding rocks. #sundayfunday 📸: Bob Carr
The 9-mile roundtrip hike to Charlie’s Bunion showcases some of the best panoramic views in the park. You’re surrounded by mountains at the summit. We won’t blame you for spending a while here before starting the return trip.
2. The Waterfalls
Great Smoky Mountain National Park has more than 100 waterfalls, but Ramsey Cascades is the park’s tallest. It’s a 5- to 7-hour hike to the falls, but most of the 8-mile trek follows the river from the trailhead to the gorgeous cascades at the end.
3. The Wildflowers
Wildflowers bloom in the Smokies all year long. The best time to visit to see the colorful floral display is spring and summer, but even in February, you’ll see little buds peaking out from the snow. Try the Cove Hardwood Nature Trail for a relaxing wander through the blooms or check out the Gregory Ridge Trail for flora with a view.
4. The Sunsets
The fog lingering on the mountains creates a gorgeous “smoky” effect at sunrise and sunset. The park’s third highest peak, Mount LeConte, offers a dramatic view at both daybreak and dusk, but the 5-mile hike requires some preparation (and guts) to take to the trails in the dark.
5. The Wildlife
Little Cinnamon Girl #cadescove #cadescovephotography #cadescovewildlife #cadescovebears #smokymountains #smokymountainphotography #smokymountainliving #smokymountainwildlife #smokymountainblackbear #greatsmokymountains #greatsmokymountainsnationalpark #naturephotography #nationalparks #nationalparkphotography #nationalparkwildlife #nationalparkwildlifephotography #wildlifephotography #tennesseemountains #tennesseewildlife #tennesseewild #sonyimages #debcampbellphotography
Your best bet for spotting black bears (or coyotes, deer and ground hogs) is in the Cades Cove valley. Take the 5-mile roundtrip trail through the area to Abrams Falls or choose from any number of other trails that start in the cove. If you visit in the spring, summer or fall, you might catch a glimpse of curious bear cubs exploring their home.
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