Thursday, July 1, 2010

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Wednesday, June 30

There are a couple reasons for visiting the Deep Creek area of the Smokies. First. it was on my way from Tsali. There was a short trail to walk. and, the trail brought you to 3 waterfalls.

Its not easy to navigate through Bryson City. Coming in from the SW, came into the "back" way, I got the tour. Fortunately, there are good signs to show the way to Deep Creek.

When I got there, I could see why - tubing. Lots of vendors hawking tubes for floating on the creek.

Picked up the area informational pamphlet ($1.50) trail-side. First was a climb up to Juney Whank Falls From there, you can follow the horse trail (making a loop) or drop down to the Deep Creek Trail. I opted the second.

After a steep decent, I was on the Deep Creek Trail - a very wide trail. It was a short walk up to Tom Branch Falls. This is a small, tall falls where the water drops into the main creek.

Another short hike up along Deep Creek brings you up to the junction of Deep Creek Trail and the Indian Creek Trail. Just up some 200 feet on Indian Creek Trail is the Indian Creek Falls. This was the largest of the falls on the loop. The photo above is of Indian Creek Falls.

From Deep Creek area, I headed to Cherokee, NC, stopping for lunch. Cherokee is at the South end of the Great Smoky Mountains NP and on an Indian Reservation. Its a tourist trap town. Ended up fast food to easy the hungries.

Next, it was a drive on into the park. Stopped to look out the Mingus Mill. Took a couple photos here. Then back up the road. Paused to take some photos at overlooks.

Took the extra 7 mile drive up the Clingmans Dome road. They are doing work on the parking lot. I did not walk up the trail (lots of climbing) to the observation deck. Just too much for my legs. From Clingmans Dome, back on Hwy 441, it was a very short drive to Newfound Gap

The lower photo in this post is a HDR photo of the view from Newfound Gap. This is at the Tennessee/North Carolina state line. It is also the point where the Appalachian Trail crosses the park road.

By now, it was time to head back to Asheville. It was a uneventful drive back.

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