Gatlinburg Sky Lift
Gatlinburg Travel Blog› entry 2 of 6 › view all entries
A great way to see downtown Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains is from the Sky Lift. 1,800 feet high at the top of Crockett Mountain. Don't forget to get your picture!!! This is just one of many attractions to see and do in Gatlinburg. Here are so more Davy Crockett Mini Golf, Hillbilly Golf, Aquarium Of The Smokies, Earthquake The Ride, Guinness Book of World Records, Mysterious Mansion, Christus Gardens, Ripley's Believe It Or Not, Space Needle, Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway and Ski Resort. If you have ever been to Orlando's International drive or Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada you will understand that it is all tourist!!!!! Take the time to see the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
There are plenty of resturants to fit your fancy like: Alamo's, Panera Bread, Applebee's, TGIF, McDonalds, Burger King, Wendy's, Shoney's, Pancake Houses, Greenbrier, Bennett's BBQ, Hard Rock Cafe', and some local places just to name a few. What ever you like there is a resturant for you.
Gatlinburg also has a fantastic Arts and Crafts community. That alone will take a good afternoon to see. It is the largest group of independent artisans in North America. Since 1937 it has grown to more than 80 studios,galleries, shops, resturants, cafes, and tearooms in it's 8 mile loop. November thru February is Winterfest with thousands of lights along the parkway in downtown Gatlinburg.
When entering the national park thru the Gatlinburg entrance, make a stop at the Sugarlands Visitor Center. A great place to start your journey with books, maps, and guides to help you with your adventure. From the center head south on US441 towards Cherokee, North Carolina. Along your way to the Newfound Gap there will be quiet walkways, overlooks, hiking trails, and river pulloffs to stop and visit. Give yourself plenty of time to enjoy all of these. BRING YOUR CAMERA!!!!
As you travel up the mountain the road climbs from an elevation of 1,465 feet to a lofty 5,048 feet at the Newfound Gap. At one point in the road known as "The Loop", the highway literally crosses over it self here! A loop design was necessary because of the steep slope.
At the top is the Newfound Gap, On the east side of the road there is a parking area. This is the one stop along the way that is a must stop. The elevation is 5,048 feet. It is the highest point along the road. This gap was not known to be the lowest path throught the mountains until the 1850's. From the Newfound Gap there are views in both directions, one into North Carolina and the other into Tennessee. The views here are spectacular. You will never know what you will see, sometimes the fog covers everything or in the winter time snow covers the trees and mountains...beautiful!!!! The winds can be gusting and the tempature can be 15 to 20 degrees colder at the top of Newfound Gap. We were under a wind advisory all day today. Be advised that during the winter months the route between Gatlinburg, Tn.
You can also jump on the 2,144 mile long Appalachian Trail, it begins in Georgia and ends in Maine. Straddling the state line at Newfound Gap is the Rockefeller Memorial. It was built as a tribute to the Rockefeller Foundation for their donation of $5,000,000 which helped the states of Tennessee and South Carolina buy land for the park. It was this gift that helped make Great Smoky Mountain Park a reality.
Clingmans dome road is a seven mile spur road that will take you to Clingmans Dome, the highest point in the park. (road is closed in the winter months). The road leads to a parking area 332 vertical feet from the summit.
If you like to gamble, follow Hwy 321 over the mountain in to Cherokee and stop at Harrah's, good luck with the roll of the dice. The town is located in the Cherokee National Forest and is home to the Cherokee Indian Nation. Other than the gambling there is not much going on in the wintertime. Follow Hwy 19 out of Cherokee and head for Maggie Valley. You can go horseback riding at Queen Farm's stables or head over to Cataloochee to go skiing or see some wild Elk.
It's cold this morning and we are up early heading over to Cades Cove to see the wild deer. It's about an hour and half drive from Gatlinburg to Cades Cove. Along the way there are plenty of waterfalls, hiking trails and the Sugarlands Visitors Center(Great Smoky Mountains Visitor Center) to visit. Give yourself the whole day for this adventure. Pack yourself a lunch, there is nothing to eat while at the cove. A "cove' in the Smoky Mountains is a flat valley between mountains or ridges. This cove is a showcase fo some of the most inspiring natural and cultural treasues that the southern appalachian mountains have to offer. Cades Cove is a 11-mile one-way loop road. If you are driving this narrow road, be on the lookout for wild deer, turkey, and black bear.
When Cades Cove was a faming community, an unpaved two-way road followed the same general route as the present 11-maile one-way loop road. In 1900 about 125 Cove families used the road, though not all of them lived immediately on it. There are over 70 historic buildings in the park. The Methodist Church was built by J.D. McCambell, a blacksmith, and carpentar, built this church in 115 days for $115. He later served many years as it's minister.
CABLE MILL AREA - The grist mill is on it's orginal site. Other historic bulidings in this complex were brought from elsewhere in the park. The blacksmith shop, though typical of old-time blacksmith shops in the Cove, was built in recent years, as was the building housing the visitor center. BLACKSMITH SHOP - Iron was esstial in the Cove and in all of rural America in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, and the blacksmith wa it's master.
For most of it's history Cades Cove has been a place to visit. But for more than 100 years it also was a great place to live. Native Americans visited the Cove. They hunted it's deer, elk, bison, and bears. Cherokee trails crossed the mountains and came down into the Cove, then up out of the Cove and across the opposite mountains. When the Joshua Job family became one of the first to settle the Cove in 1821, no Cherokee lived in the Cove.