Smoky 1

I have to be honest, when I look back at our 5-day visit to Great Smoky Mountains, one memory blocks out all the others. Clouds. Never-ending clouds dumping buckets and buckets of rain. I think we saw blue skies peek through twice. I would estimate it probably rained 40-50% of our total time there and was cloudy 85%.


That might not seem like a lot of rain, but trust me, it is. Nothing ever dried. It wears you down. And most unfortunately, it hamstrung our itinerary.


However, I feel like we still got a great picture of the park. In usual #SwitchbackStyle we packed a lot into our days…

My favorite part was backpacking for 2 days on a 23-mile stretch of the Appalachian Trail. Even though we cut it down from 3-days because of the rain and we couldn’t see any of the hyped spectacular views along the way. It was very cool to stay the night in an AT shelter where we shared sleeping space with 12 other few thru hikers and section hilkers (2 of whom gave us an impromptu concert <see video> with the “guits” they packed all the way from Maine). For more on the fascinating AT, check out Elizabeth’s post on Friday.

And of course we hit all the highlights like Cades Cove and Abram Falls (surprisingly we saw only 2 others there because, guess what, it was raining!). We even made it a bit further off the beaten path to check out the more impressive Grotto Falls that you can walk behind. Then we used our one non-rainy afternoon to hike an 8-mile out-and-back to the Ramsey Cascades. It was great way to cap off the visit and by far and away the best waterfall in the park. Elizaeth says itmight be her favorite of the trip.


But instead of blabbing about all this stuff and whining about rain, how about I just let you check out the Great Smoky Mountains video….


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Written by Cole

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8 Comments on "VIDEO: Great Smoky (and cloudy, and rainy) Mountains"

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Marty underwood

Too bad! The Smokies are glorious. And oh the wildlife you can see!
You hiked to Ramsey Cascades not falls.


Too bad about rain. The Smokeys are glorious and wow the wildlife you can see.

You hiked to Ramsey Cascades not falls.

James Bordonaro
So sorry you guys didn’t have good weather. I was there in July and it was really nice to be under the tree cover away from the heat down in the valley. I pretty much despised Gaitlinburg and Pigeon Forge for all the tacky commercialism. However, even though I didn’t go there (nor would I ever probably) Dollywood appeared much more refined as I often drove by the place on the way to tubing (very lazy rivers for the most part). Great thing about the Nat. Park was actually seeing bears! Long Long Long line of cars though one day… Read more »
A. Janelle
Through years of ‘first hand’ experience and research, does NPS know a thing or two about the bear we tend to overlook? No guilt trip intended. Possibly bears are not to be considered domesticated because they share the same terrain with us but because they are truly wild creatures. Designed to remain that way not for us to pet, tame or feed but to be respected and admired for why they are most definitely created; maintaining nature’s balance. When the sign says…don’t feed the animals…there is a reason. I liken it to government hand-outs…after receiving it once, not much work… Read more »
James Bordonaro
Janelle, Thanks for your comments. I agree with you. Animals are not put on the planet for our amusement and generally feeding animals is not something I would encourage. My main point is that NPS shouldn’t guilt the public into not feeding the bears by claiming that they have no choice but to kill a bear that has become habituated to humans. The decision to kill an animal rests entirely in the hands of the NPS. When a shark bits a surfer do we kill the shark because its doing what comes naturally? I am not saying that this is… Read more »