Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Believe it or not, Great Smoky National Park is the most visited national park in the country, with over 11 million visitors annually. This park lies on the Tennessee/ North Carolina state line, and is pretty much equally split between the two states.  My friend and I explored a small portion of the Tennessee side while I was visiting her and her family in Nashville.

We left Nashville in the morning, well before the sun came up. Our first stop was in Gatlinburg, TN where we grabbed some Starbucks for a caffeine recharge, and rode the scenic ski lift to admire the fall colors. Next, we headed towards the park, driving the popular Newfound Gap Road to the Sugarlands Visitor’s Center. We had done some brief research on the park and were fairly certain we wanted to spend our time in the park hiking Ramsay Cascade Falls.

Ramsay Cascade Falls is around 8 miles round trip with about 2200 ft elevation gain. This hike is to the tallest waterfall in the park, and is considered strenuous. The trail takes you through a dense forest, along streams/rivers, across a bridge, and scrambling up some big rocks near the end. The nice part about visiting in late fall was that we nearly had the trail to ourselves, maybe crossing paths with a dozen people our whole hike. The fall colors were past peak, but they were holding on and oh so beautiful!

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