I have always wanted to visit the Smoky Mountains. On our recent whirlwind business trip that also included Dayton, Ohio and Hot Springs, Arkansas, we had the opportunity to drive through Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and the beautiful Smoky Mountains of Tennessee.
The drive was breathtaking. Dense forests lined the highways for hundreds of miles, and aside from the highways, nature was untouched. In case you haven’t seen them–the Smoky Mountains are actually smoky. And while I don’t know what I was expecting, these mountains are in no way like the Rocky Mountains that I enjoyed while living in Colorado over the past two years. It’s a totally different experience.
As an added bonus, Smoky Mountain National Park is free!
I could have spent an entire day just sitting here and absorbing this view!
We enjoyed the streams, waterfalls, bubbling brooks, and moss-covered rocks throughout the park.
Scattered throughout the area, you will find these old log cabins which are fun to explore!
Our takeaways from our short drive through eastern Tennessee? The Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg areas were much more touristy than we were expecting. It was kind of carnival-like. When we visit Smoky Mountain National Park again, we will probably visit when it is less touristy, and we will likely find accommodations that are off the beaten path a bit. However, if you have kids with lots of energy and you don’t mind crowds, the carnival-feel might be exactly what you’re looking for!
The scenery of the drive is well worth it, and we would be interested in some of the river-tubing trips that the area has to offer, not to mention hiking more throughout the park!