Posts Tagged With: Smoky Mountain National Park

Hiking to Abrams Falls

We love to hike on our vacations.  Usually park entrances are low cost or in the case of the Smoke Mountain National Park there is no entrance fee at all.

I had one hike I wanted to do in the Cades Cove area and that was Abrams Fall.  The hike is five miles round trip and will take three to four hours to complete.

There is ample parking at the trail head with primitive bathrooms and a trash container.  The road to the trail head is a small gravel road that veers to the right after the Elijah Oliver Cabin. We took some breaks along the river and it took us a little over three hours round trip.

Cade's Cove

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Abrams Falls

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Visiting Cades Cove

On our trip out to Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg I was really looking forward to visiting Cades Cove.  It did not disappoint!

We stayed in Townsend since we wanted an easy and less congested entrance into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  This area is perfect for accessing Cades Cove!

Arriving early is your best bet for wildlife viewing and to avoid other people.  We left at 7:50 for our twenty minute drive to the cove with very little traffic.  This was the least busy park day we would have on our trip!  There were a few light rain showers that I think helped keep the crowds away that day.

I was driving on Laurel Creek road almost half way to the cove when a huge bear darted in front of our car and up the hillside.  He was bigger than I thought local bears would be and he was running faster than I thought they could.  I was very glad I did not hit him with the car and it reconfirmed why the speed limit is so low in the park.  After seeing the size/ speed of him I was rethinking my desire to see a bear in the park.

Cade's Cove

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Once you reach the gate the road through Cades Cove is eleven miles long and while it offers a couple of cut through roads plan on spending at least a couple of hours on it.

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Friendly Falls in Wears Valley

If you leave Pigeon Forge via Wears Valley road to Townsend you will have a very picturesque drive.  An alpine coaster, cabins, resorts and little shops line the road. Halfway to Wears Valley on the left is a little stop called Friendly Falls.

Friendly Falls

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Friendly Falls offers their location as a place to stretch your legs, enjoy a cold drink by the falls and you can even get married there.  We stopped on Sunday morning on our way to Townsend just before noon.  Usually I am about vacation on the cheap side, however there is something to be said about paying a small amount for some quiet time along a waterfall with a cold beverage.

Friendly Falls

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Admission is $2 for adults OR you can purchase something from the store and enter for free.  Cold pop is $2 and beer is $3.  They also offer items like hot dogs, chips, ice cream, or sandwiches.

You can wade in the river between the two falls, be careful the rocks are slick.  The water was very refreshing on a hot day!

Friendly Falls

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They offer gem mining for kids in a flume, tables and chairs for relaxing with your food/drink and even a resident chicken. There are areas decorated with gnomes and fairies.  It’s cute and it is prefect for relaxing.  We spent over an hour people watching and enjoying our beverages along the river.

You can find more information here: http://friendlyfalls.com/

2135 Wears Valley RdSevierville, TN 37862
+1 865-429-2139

 

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Pigeon Forge The Old Mill Dinner

I had read good things about the Old Mill for dinner and knew we had to try it.  For tourist places that do not take reservations we try to arrive a bit earlier than normal for dinner.  I hate to wait an hour so if I have to arrive at 5:20 to eat at a decent time so be it.

A round 5pm I said to husband I know its early but we should head out to dinner soon.  We crossed the very busy 321 at a crosswalk because that road was crazy busy!  Going one block from 321 put us on the very quiet River Road and a nice trail along the river.  People were fishing and wading in the water.

Old Mill Pigeon Forge

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Super 8 Pigeon Forge

We recently spent a week in Tennessee this June.  To try to keep our trip lower cost I used hotel points for many of the nights we were on the road.  The Super 8 Pigeon Forge on Emert had good reviews and is in a good location.

If you have never been to Pigeon Forge I would describe to people as the Wisconsin Dells on steroids.  OMG!  Miles of mini golf, go carts, dinner shows and entertainment.  While there is a cheap/free (depending) trolley system this area is really not that walk able as things are spread out vs Gatlinburg.  I do not like to drive all over, I would rather walk to dinner so I was pleased to see our hotel was within two blocks of the Old Mill Restaurant.

If you do not walk to drive anywhere or really walk the hotel is behind Wendy’s, Arby’s, Ihop, Pizza Hut, Baskin Robbins, etc.  I would recommend you make the short walk to  The Mill and so did the sweet lady who checked us in.

The Super 8 has exterior hall ways and four floors with an elevator.  I had the option of booking a standard king room or a king room with a jacuzzi tub and fireplace.  No thinking needed there, I want the tub!

Super 8 Pigeon Forge

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Our fourth floor room was very spacious.  It offered a sofa pullout bed near the door.

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