Driving the free road in the mountrains

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Travel Blog

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Fall colours along the roads

I head away from the waterfall towards the higher mountains. I want to go to see the Great Smokey Mountains National Park on the border between North Carolina and Tennessee. The park is up in the mountains and formed around the original first road crossing the mountains. Before this road was build it would be extremely difficult to pass the mountains around this area - hence the different sides of the Appalachian were quite isolated from one another. But then finally the states of North Carolina and Tennessee decided to build a road to connect one another.

 

This mountain area has later been given to the Federal authorities but one of the states stipulated that the road should be forever free to use. That is the reason why it is free of charge to visit the national park.

 

One thing I always heard so much about is the famous fall colours of the states. Driving down from DC along the coast to Charleston there were some fall colours - but it was a bit too early for the really great scenery. But as the drive takes me ever higher in the mountains the fall is displaying more and more of its colours - from green to yellow to orange to red - and well also to brown and no leaves left on some trees.

 

Along the road are many small streams - ok maybe it is basically the same little creek who knows - the creeks are all lined by trees dressed in the fall clothing.

Clingmans Dome viewpoint - only in America would a viewpoint look like this.

 

On a small detour from the main road is a major mountain. The Clingmans Dome. You can go to the parking lot and then walk the trail is only ½ a mile but it is steep hence most people tend to take advantage of the benches on the way up there. When I get to the top I kinda expect to get a great view out of the area - but there is nothing to see from the top except trees and some sort of construction which looks a bit like a flying saucer. If you want to actually get a view you need to go up on top of that thing. Hence I go up there and look out on the surrounding mountains - there is a great view from up there.

 

Unfortunately it is getting a bit late - my unfortunate detours earlier combined with a general slow pace of driving are keeping me up. Hence I only got time to do a bit more of sightseeing before it will get dark. I go and stop at a random stop - and hey this is the actual border between North Carolina and Tennessee and I could just consider leaving my car and go for a hike - after all the Appalachian Trail is just next to the parking lot - and it is only 1.972 to Katahdin Maine. I guess I could go on the trail but I really should inform my boss that I would be a tiny bit delayed in my return and there is just no internet around this place.

 

 

cvanzoen says:
Lovely autumn colors!
Posted on: Oct 28, 2008
Biglush_23 says:
This looks like a beautiful drive...hope you had some good music to go with the scenery ^^
Posted on: Oct 27, 2008
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Fall colours along the roads
Fall colours along the roads
Creek just next to the road
Creek just next to the road
Clingmans Dome viewpoint - only in…
Clingmans Dome viewpoint - only i…
Creek just next to the road
Creek just next to the road
Creek just next to the road
Creek just next to the road
The view from Clingmans Dome
The view from Clingmans Dome
The view from Clingmans Dome
The view from Clingmans Dome
The view from Clingmans Dome
The view from Clingmans Dome
The view from Clingmans Dome
The view from Clingmans Dome
The view from Clingmans Dome
The view from Clingmans Dome
The view from Clingmans Dome
The view from Clingmans Dome
The view from Clingmans Dome
The view from Clingmans Dome
The way up to the view point
The way up to the view point
The way up to the view point
The way up to the view point
Top of the viewpoint
Top of the viewpoint
Border crossing
Border crossing
Ready to go for a hike?
Ready to go for a hike?
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
photo by: tj1777