Autumn is the second best season for me, summer being the best one. Every year I wait for the weather to sooth a little from scorching summer heat, just to enjoy temperatures in lower 60s (Fahrenheit) and then in lower 50s, just perfect! Autumn weather brings the change in leaves’ colors all across the country. Fall times differ by about a month among different regions depending on the location of the state.
So far, we’ve been to most of the north eastern states like New Hampshire, Vermont, New York and Pennsylvania to see fall colors. But being at Smokey Mountains was the best experience of all. After al,l it is the most visited national park in the United States.
The Great Smokey Mountains is a mountains range spread across the border of Tennessee and North Carolina. The smokey mountains range spreads across 187,000 acres which is equivalent to 141,418 american football fields. Yes, that big! The top of this mountain range is Clingmans Dome at elevation of 6643 ft or 2025 m.
During our stay there, we tried southern food which was off the chart when it came to taste and cholesterol. No regrets. The weather was just soggy and wet but, that brings all the coulds down. So people, go when it’s raining to actually see why they call it the Smokey Mountains. Check the photos below and you will know it. We were lucky enough to capture this great beauty of nature in our camera. Places get so much crowded from Thursday through Sunday when all the tourists come around. Our experience in southern states was very pleasent as people were sweet and helpful.
During this trip, we also visited The Rock City in Georgia and Ruby Falls in Tennessee which are just 3-5 miles away from each other.
Rock City: It is literally a city of rocks with well maintained trails and marked path ways. The place stands out and looks over the city of Chattanooga, TN and gives a spectacular view of seven states. Attractions take about 1 to 1.5 hour to complete and it’s worth it’s entry fees.
Ruby Falls: The attraction is located on the same mountain so it’s not that far from Rock City. With a small entry fee they provide a guided tour of about an hour inside caverns. The speciality is a water fall beneath the surface of the earth about 1000 ft deep. Tour is not tiring as visitors never climb up or down too much because, tour starts at the side of the mountain and proceeds towards the core of it horizontally so when visitors reach the waterfall they actually are about 1000 ft underground.
Staying at Smokeys is a beautiful experience. Nearby town of Gatlinburg in Tennessee is one of a kind. Gatlinburg is the home of Ripley’s attractions, a lookout tower and a gondola to reach nearby mountain top. Gatlinburg is the best choice to stay for travelers who are solely interested in the natural beauty of Smokies, as it’s very close to all the scenic routes in the mountains. Another closest town to Smokies is, Pigeon Forge. Pigeon Forge is about an hour away form Sugarlands Visitors Center but it feels like Vegas of the South.
Locations like Clingmans Dome, Newfound Gap and all the small dedicated scenic lookouts are simply gorgeous. Unlike New Hampshire, Smokies scenic drives have scenic overlooks about every half a mile. This is a huge for professional and hobbyist photographers because, they can take as many stops as they want, until they get their best shot.
Every bit of Smokies look different and beautiful at dawn, noon, dusk and night (which is nothing, you see nothing at Smokies at night… may be stars). If you want clouds beneath you, then try going atop early morning when winds are calm. Our overall experience was very memorable and gave us our best fall trip ever.
Please take look at some shots below I could manage to capture. Thanks for reading!