There’s nothing quite like a day where you can do some Smoky Mountain hiking on vacation. That’s exactly what this area presents, with its diverse mix of things to do for people of all ages and of different interests. As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, we are not natural hikers or outdoor people by any means, but this is one time where we’re awestruck by the beauty of nature, and we can’t help but get outside to breathe in the air of the Smoky Mountains. Here’s a quick recap of what we did for hike day.
After an early breakfast at Log Cabin Pancake House, we set out for Newfound Gap. Now, the last time we were here a couple years ago in June, we were totally unprepared for the cold as it dipped into the 30s, altering our plans to venture up to Clingmans Dome, the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It would not be as chilly on this Smoky Mountain hiking day, however. We took our share of pics at this historic—and extremely scenic—location, and with the temperatures hovering in the mid to upper 50s, we were more than prepared for the highlight of our day!
You may not think of hiking in the Smoky Mountains as related to visiting Clingmans Dome, but the trek to the top from the parking lot is not for the faint of heart. There are benches—5 of them, I believe—that are there to help you catch your breath with the sharp incline and the thin air, which you’ll be huffing even if you feel you’re in average shape. The views are stunning as we were delighted to see miles and miles into the distance and get a glimpse of the blue smoke that gives the Smoky Mountains its name. My son and his cousin didn’t have near the struggle, but we all made it up, and we were treated to amazing views.
Fighting Creek Nature Trail
Our Smoky Mountain hiking wasn’t done yet, as we still had one more easier one to complete: Fighting Creek Nature Trail. So, 7 years ago on our second visit, we attempted this one, and our inexperience really showed. After passing the Oliver cabin, we were a little intimidated by how quiet and creepy it was, and we turned around and went back to the safety of Sugarlands Visitor Center. I know, it’s actually laughable to think about now, but this time we did the whole trail, knowing it was going to hook up with the more popular Cataract Falls trail.
That was our Smoky Mountain hiking day in a nutshell. There were no bear sightings, just a few wild turkeys minding their own business alongside the road, first thing in the morning. For more of our June vacation experiences, tune in as I’ll be telling you about some new and familiar things we encountered on another memorable Gatlinburg vacation. Thanks for reading!