Pioneer the Great Smoky Mountains

Guest post by Lucy West

Let your mind wander across the rolling mountains of Appalachia that once sprouted with settlements of the early American pioneers. The majestic mountains of rural America can be best witnessed in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Head to the Great Smokies to see the wonders of Appalachia in Tennessee!
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Visit the old settlements founded by early pioneers that sprang up across the hills of Appalachia. In the Smoky Mountains National Park near Gatlinburg, Tennessee you can experience the earliest days of America from the viewpoint of natural wooded forests and farming homesteads. With over 4 million visits a year, Smoky Mountain National Park is the most popular national park in the United States. Many folks start with the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, an 8 kilometer one-way road that takes you through the most spectacular mountain scenery.

Place of a Thousand Drips, along the Roaring Fork Road, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Place of a Thousand Drips along the Roaring Fork Road at Great Smoky Mountains NP

Stop in the Roaring Fork Trials to experience fantastic hikes through scenes of forest and wildlife. You may just spot a deer or even a bear, so keep a lookout on these old homestead trails! Take the scenic drive past the historic cabins and barns that paint the most beautiful views of rolling Appalachia forests. When traveling in spring capture photographs of bountiful blooms. The Great Smoky Mountains are simply irresistible beauty in the fall, when the foliage is lit up in the sun with deep reds, yellows, and shades of orange. Just before Loop Road, check out the daily 19th Century life at Noah Ogle Place. This house once the home to a family of an Appalachian farmer is a great place to get acquainted with pioneer life. Noah “Bud” Ogle was one of the first Euro-American settlers to reach Gatlinburg and set up a homestead with his family.

Blue Ridge Mountains during fall season

Blue Ridge Mountains during fall season

Mount Le Conte is a popular hiking area, so I suggest you camp inside! Start bright and early when the sun rises and spend the night in a cabin like the early pioneers. At LeConte, take advantage of accessible hiking trails and walk along the mountain streams and seek out the misty Rainbow Falls down the Rainbow Trail. Take another popular trail in LeConte, Alum Cave Trail to witness the splendor of beautiful vistas, quiet wooded areas, and a spectacular sunset on the horizon at dusk. Arch Rock is the perfect place in LeConte for a photograph. Cade’s Cove is another stunning area of Appalachia you won’t want to miss! Travel here to find the old sandstone chipped away to reveal a layer of young limestone left through weathering. But what makes Cade’s Cove the second most sought destination in the park is the well-preserved homesteads of settlers and beautiful mountain views all around. This 6,800 acre valley was occupied by Cherokee Indians long before the settlers came to Tsiyahi or “the place of the river otter.” Once the home for fantastic wildlife such as bison, red wolves and elk, these great beasts have since vanished from the land. Here is the place for mountain laurels, rhododendron blooms, wild turkeys and a world of abundant history. Wildflowers bloom across Cade’s Cove painting a valley over mountains of magnificent Appalachia.

A trip to the Great Smoky Mountains is not complete without a trip to Clingman’s Dome, the highest peak in the park. Hike to the top and stand in awe at the perfect panorama of the Appalachian Mountains. Catch it all in the afternoon after the misty fog settles over the Great Smokies and the endless rolling hills that meet North Carolina in the distance. This breathtaking view is a rare sight of an endless panorama of Appalachia. Before you set out within the park, it’s a great idea to plan ahead before your journey by starting with Sugarland’s Visitor’s Center first and foremost! Check out the museum and gift shop inside and talk to the knowledgeable park rangers within. They will help map out an unforgettable experience complete with comprehensive itinerary!

Be sure to stop in to the Visitor’s Center for all the tips and facts about the forests and trails. When you have hiked all the trials in Appalachia, let your mind be at ease knowing your car is waiting in Parking Heathrow .

Your Appalachian adventure starts today!

About the Author: Lucy West is a keen traveller, writer and often even dabbles in photography. Based in the beautiful Kent countryside she tries to takes time out and to write and is passionate about all things social media. You can contact her at [email protected]