A Great Smoky Mountain Vacation

By matthew prisco, reportor

   Have you ever seen an elk or did you ever see a black bear? Well if not,  I  think a trip to the Smoky Mountains is for you (summer and fall are the most popular times to go). There are many different sections in the park so there are lots of things to do. Did you know that they are part of the world’s oldest mountain range?  The Appalachian Trail runs through Great Smoky Mountains National Park which is the most visited national park in the United States.

   Franklin D Roosevelt dedicated the park in 1940. It is home to over 1,500 black bears along with many white tailed deer, coyotes, groundhogs, turkeys, raccoons, and skunks.  These animals are  very easy to see in the Cades Cove area of the park, which is a little village in the woods. The first settlers came in the 1820’s and 650 people lived there in 1850.  Now it gets over 2 million visitors coming to see the historic buildings. Another great area to visit is the Cataloochee Valley which is the place to go for elk watching. It takes a long windy dirt road to get there, but it is worth it!

There are a lot of great hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  I would recommend Clingmans Dome.  It is really steep because  at 6,643 ft, it is the highest point in the state of Tennessee.  The 360 degree view is amazing. If you are a waterfall person (like my mom) you might like Laurel Falls or Grotto Falls. Laurel Falls is a double decker waterfall and Grotto Falls is a waterfall you can walk behind the water.

So if you are looking for something to do this summer this is the place to go!