Vacation In Nature In The Great Smoky Mountains National Park
When the country really opens up for traveling, one great way to vacation is among nature and out in the fresh air following the COVID-19 quarantine.
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a remarkable destination for those looking for scenery, nature, and beauty. Anyone with a little cabin fever from the COVID-19 pandemic can’t go wrong in heading out into this vast and amazing park. The following are just some suggestions of where to head and what to do.
1. Picnic areas in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
For those heading out for the day, picnic basket in hand, there are a number of excellent picnic areas to choose from. These include Big Creek, Cades Cove, Chimneys, Collins Creek, Cosby, Deep Creek, Greenbrier, Heintooga, Look Rock, Metcalf Bottoms, and Twin Creeks.
Some of the picnic areas are only open during the summer months when people are more likely to want to dine in nature. All provide picnic tables and benches as well as a barbeque grill. There are necessary rules to follow, however, including proper disposal of garbage. Not only is it unsightly, but leftover food items also tend to attract black bears. Nature experts say that should bear get used to eating human food, this might make them more active during the day and could endanger their lives. Make sure to clean up your picnic area before leaving, including the barbeque grill, and take your garbage and leftovers with you.
2. Waterfalls And Hiking Trails
Those visitors keen on hiking can choose a number of hiking trails, some of which lead to beautiful waterfalls. One example is Meigs Falls, located on the far side of Little River in the park. The trail is easily accessible from the road.
One of the more strenuous hiking trails in the Ramsey Cascades Trail, which starts in Greenbrier. While it may be steep and strenuous, the waterfall is definitely worth the effort. This makes Ramsey Cascades a popular choice.
For those visiting Gatlinburg, the Baskins Creek Falls Trail is an excellent choice. The trail begins with an easy upward climb but soon levels out, offering beautiful views on all sides over Gatlinburg itself and the mountains. The final section of the hiking trail is downward and a little steep, but, again, the falls themselves make the effort really worth it. This 40-ft two-tiered waterfall is truly beautiful.
3. Camping In The Cataloochee Valley
For anyone who is planning to camp out in nature, the Cataloochee Valley is a wonderfully scenic spot in the park. The valley is hemmed in by soaring peaks and besides being in nature, there are historic buildings to see here. Among them is a school, several homes, farm buildings, and two churches.
The area offers 27 campsites with varying degrees of amenities, including restrooms. Activities include bird watching, fishing for wild trout in Cataloochee Creek, and wildlife spotting, including deer, elk, turkeys, and more. Hiking trails through the valley head through an old-growth forest, as well as past the historic buildings mentioned above.
Whether out on a day trip or a camping adventure, head out into nature on your first, post-COVID-19 adventure. Enjoy the views, the wildlife and birdlife and so much more in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Note, the park is currently undergoing a phased reopening – visit the official website to find out when is the best time to visit.