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stlfisher

Smokey Mountain Vacation

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This is way late, but last October my wife and I had our honeymoon in the Smokey Mountains. We stayed in Gatlinburg and had a great time taking in the sights and sounds of the surrounding area and the park itself. We took a couple hikes each day with Rainbow falls and Abrams Falls (a must see IMO) being the most scenic. I did a little fishing and the wife enjoyed the hiking and the local antique shops. Below is synopsis of what we saw and the areas we visited.

Cades Cove:

This area is probably the most popular place in the park. This is an area that sits between two mountain ranges and the 11 mile loop is a great place to see wildlife, but get there at dawn if you can. If you are staying outside the park this requires you to leave about 45 minutes before sun up if coming from Gatlinburg...probably 20 minutes if coming from Townsend. The afternoons and evening are very crowded and you will spend 2-3 hours driving the 11 mile loop during the peak season. At dawn we just zipped through and that is when we saw a few black bears. We also beat the traffic to the Abram Falls Trailhead which is about halfway through the Cades Cove area.

Abrams Falls:

Abrams Falls as I mentioned above was probably our favorite place to visit. The trailhead is in the Cades Cove area and runs along Abrams Creek and ends at the falls. The falls were awesome and probably 100 feet across and 25-35 feet high emptying into a gorgeous pool about 200 feet long. The hike is about 5 miles before the falls and as a bonus the trail runs along Abrams Creek. This was the area that I decided to fish...up and down the trail then at the falls. I caught 4 little trout at the falls (You can wade about halfway up to the falls from the downstream side) and 3 more along the trail beside the creek. They were all little rainbows between 5-8 inches. Of all the creeks in the Smokey Mountains Abrams Creek is considered to be one of the best and it certainly looked that way. It is larger than most...and has plenty of good habitat. If you can spend time hiking away from the trailhead a bit you would have the whole section to yourself. The stream has brook trout and some large browns although the brook trout are higher up above the falls, and I saw no way to get past the falls from my location. Don't over look the meadow section to the left of the trailhead...everyone goes right along the trail.

Cherokee, NC:

Not sure I like this area at all. Everyone is different, but the dancing Indian's outside the shops and the fact I was nearly killed by a drunk driver didn't leave me wanting to come back. Something about a dancing man dressed in Indian garb sectioned off by orange cones and a string as his dance floor...did not strike me as entertaining, nostalgic or traditional. My wife loved the antique shops, but they were all the same and I would have rather been fishing!

We took the Blueridge parkway on our way back and entered the Smokey mountains in a remote area..As we were driving up along a ridge we ran into a heard of Elk hanging out along the road. We were literally in the middle of about 50 of them with several huge males within 5 feet of the car. Pretty cool and definitely made the day.

Soon after we pass the Elk along the road we spot a gravel road and a sign says 26 miles to Cherokee, NC (ok for car use). We decided it would be a good opportunity to see other wildlife and drive though the mountains. Needless to say for the entire the 26 miles my wife was terrified we were going to drive of the mountain. We saw no additional wildlife of any kind besides a few squirrels. It was a pretty, but stressful drive and you really needed an off road vehicle for that drive. It took us 3 hours to go 26 miles and we barely made out before dusk. And the exit was right by the dancing Indian…although he was must have turned in for the evening.

Gatlinburg:

Our home base for the week was Gatlinburg. It is touristy and if you want a quiet place to stay this is not it, but the kids and wives would love the shops and tourist attractions. There are all kinds of shop's, food, and things for the family to do and see. Old smokey moonshine was fun...from what I remember...free samples and then more free samples and I was plastered.

Overall we had a great time and many sights to see. The fish are going to be small (4-8 inches), but you have a chance at a brook trout and the brown trout do get quite large on some of the creeks. There is a ton of water in the park...I mean a ton...and some very scenic streams to fish, but not all of it holds fish...so do a little research if you go off the between path. October is crazy packed, but with the fall colors is was pretty awesome. I would certainly recommend it as great family destination and a neat place to fish....just don't go expecting any large fish. It will probably be very crowded during the summer and fall. There are plenty of hikes and we enjoyed the horseback riding as well. Clingmans Dome and Newfound gap overlook are excellent sightseeing locations as well. You can camp in the park, but there are no cabins in the park itself, but plenty nearby. You can also stay in Townsend or Cosby for a quieter less crowded atmosphere. If you want to go back country your options are pretty limitless for both hiking and fishing.

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Works for me, went there about 25 years ago it was even crowded back then I don't think the Indian in Cherokee had learned to dance back then but you could get a picture with him. We added 3 days at Dale Hollow on the way back. Smallies and wlleyes.My bride even said Dale Hollow was the best part of trip. The best part at Gattlinberg were the hiking trails and the strams and waterfalls in the park

Justin, C W Mcall "Convoy" It was the dark of the moon..................................

and a GMY haulin' hogs........brings back memories, I had more fun in my life than anyone deserves.

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Good write up.

We stayed at a pretty nice cabin in Townsend a few years back for a few days. It was a stopover on our way to Hilton Head. I had a day blocked out for fishing but it rained a ton and everything was blown out. Squeezed in a couple hours of fishing the morning we left trying to get a brookie, but I got skunked. We did the Cade's Cove loop one evening -- saw plenty of deer, turkeys and tail lights. Saw a black bear in the park one day. I really liked the area, and would like to go back for longer trip with more focus on the park and fishing.

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Good write up.

We stayed at a pretty nice cabin in Townsend a few years back for a few days. It was a stopover on our way to Hilton Head. I had a day blocked out for fishing but it rained a ton and everything was blown out. Squeezed in a couple hours of fishing the morning we left trying to get a brookie, but I got skunked. We did the Cade's Cove loop one evening -- saw plenty of deer, turkeys and tail lights. Saw a black bear in the park one day. I really liked the area, and would like to go back for longer trip with more focus on the park and fishing.

Yeah, I wished i spent more time fishing, but enjoyed what time I was able to fish. I think the brookies are pretty high up from what i was told. Nice area though. Suppossedly the Brown's can get quite large, from what i have read, but no luck on any of them either. I read some interesting information on the food sources and the acicidty of the water contributing to the small fish. The lenght limit is 7 inches for Rabinows...nuts.

Your scenic drive reminds me of an old song by CW Mcall. Hope you enjoy. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PhQF5ih-tWc

I can't hear the song for some reason (think my speakers are busted on my work CPU), but parts of the video look a bit similar. Yikes!

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Little late on this one, but that's an awesome trip. I've made the trek to hike the AT a couple of times and spent a lot of time in the park. I haven't fished it yet, but I intend to this summer on the vacation trip I take. Great write up and certainly spot on!

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Yeah, it's a great spot and perfectly suited to a guy like me that likes to get away, search for a native trout without a bunch of folks around.

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