"One of the Most Beautiful Places on Earth" Top 5 Page for this destination Great Smoky Mountains National Park by mrclay2000

Can't See the Forest for the Trees

This is easily one of the most beautiful places in the United States and probably the world. Every square inch seems to rest beneath the shade of towering hardwoods that are impossibly green in the spring, and vividly explosive in their fall foliage. Unlike the evergreens of the western U.S. where I am more at home, the Tennessee and North Carolina hills are filled with oaks, poplars, rhododendrons, hickories and maples of many varieties that make this place so justly famous and world-renowned in the fall.

On the other hand, the spring is also a remarkable time to visit. The greenness of the park seems common to every tree, and after spring freshets, the colors are even more vibrant.

Once you've stayed a few days however, the magical scenery tends to cloy you with its wealth, and even the rolling mountains seem lethargic and even wearisome. For the most part of my four days here, the first two were incredulous over my experience. I could not fathom the impossible greenness of the trees nor the endless beauty of ridge upon overlapping ridge, especially on the Carolina side. By the third day however, even the charm of the roadside creeks and the greenness of the trees failed to distract me from the lack of variety in the trails and the narrow range of possible activities in the park. One reason I selected Smoky for a destination was its numerous population of black bears, but as always, the bears were as elusive as possible, and their place taken largely by endless fields of white-tailed deer. Between the two species, deer just do not cut it.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Cool, temperate, beautiful vistas, mountain streams
  • Cons:Few activities other than horseback, kayaking or fishing
  • In a nutshell:One of America's most beautiful parks!
  • Last visit to Great Smoky Mountains National Park: May 2001
  • Intro Updated Feb 19, 2003
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Reviews (15)

Comments (25)

  • mrclay2000's Profile Photo
    Oct 15, 2009 at 6:24 PM

    Some people in any crowd are going to dyslexic or unable to read. Thus missy1029. . .

  • Oct 14, 2009 at 5:57 PM

    To the person who wrote that the only wildlife they saw in SMNP were millipedes & snails. Did you open your eyes. Did you get out of your car & hike or bike anywhere in the park? Next time you visit, hike or bike and you will see all sorts of wildlife.

  • madamx's Profile Photo
    Apr 2, 2009 at 8:43 PM

    Nice page; thanks for giving me more insight into this national park.

  • sprdak11's Profile Photo
    Apr 4, 2007 at 6:31 AM

    Interesting page. Best wishes.

  • Sep 6, 2005 at 5:40 PM

    Great read!! Helpful tips...I will remember them next month when I visit!! Jen

  • iandsmith's Profile Photo
    Apr 28, 2005 at 3:18 PM

    Gosh, a Mr Clay page without drama. I feel almost let down! Evocative stuff, as usual.

  • goingsolo's Profile Photo
    Nov 15, 2004 at 6:02 PM

    Another excellent NP page with fantastic writing and insights! I've leaning towards visiting this park, but I'm partial to the western US and places where rainfall is scarce.

  • roamer61's Profile Photo
    Jun 29, 2004 at 4:38 AM

    Nice pages on the park. It is the only other eastern park I really want to go to. Nice photos.

  • zrim's Profile Photo
    Mar 16, 2004 at 8:13 AM

    You have made VT into your own personal art form. 5 star tips, all of them. (Just came back to re-visit this great page)

  • grandmaR's Profile Photo
    Jan 3, 2004 at 7:19 PM

    You sound like my uncle from CO who felt hemmed in by the trees in the east. He was uncomfortable with a cloudy sky or where he couldn't see the mountains on the horizon.

mrclay2000

“I have no illusions. I lost them on my travels.”

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