Attractions, Hiking, History, Parks

Greenbrier Road Auto Tour

This route follows the Little Pigeon River to Trillium Gap. No trucks, trailers or RVs are allowed. The roadGreenbrier-Mountain-Stream leads to the John Messer Barn and the trailhead to Ramsay Cascades, arguably the best waterfall in the Park. The hike is 8 miles roundtrip and is challenging. A lesser visited area of the Park, the Greenbrier section is one of our favorites. Besides the Ramsay Cascades, the visitor has the opportunity to view large stands of virgin growth such as northern red oak, eastern hemlock, and red maple. In fact, the Great Smoky Mountains are home to 21 champion-size trees. When the Park was created in 1934, old-growth forests were saved from the lumber companies and preserved for Smokies visitors. To get to Greenbrier Road, leave Gatlinburg at light #3 and head east on Hwy 321. Travel for approximately 7 miles and turn right on Greenbrier Road. If you include the hike to Ramsay Cascades, expect this tour to take upwards of 5 hours.

You can easily leave the road and walk down to the river and walk on the large bolders to get right in the middle of the river and little waterfalls.  There are a lot of areas to swim in or just sit on a rock and enjoy the beauty of nature at its best it is so very relaxing. There is also some great hiking trails.  The Porters Creek Trail is one of the best known trails for spring wildflowers. There are often lots of butterflies and many varieties of birds to enjoy.   You will find creeks, some historical areas and a small picnic area.   If you come ot the Smokies for peace and quiet, they can often be found at Greenbrier.

Address – 3635 Taliluna Ave., Unit 1 B, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, TN 37919

Attractions, Hiking, History, Parks

Mingus Mill

Just a few hundred feet off of US441, and just a 1/2 mile north of the Oconaluftee Visitor’s Center you’ll find the Mingus Mill. The mill still works and is water powered (it is not a water wheel). The Park Service Volunteers grind both wheat and corn and sell the fruit of their labor. Youngsters will have a great time heading upstream from the mill to play in the water.

The mill itself, and nearby creek are both highly photogenic. There are usually lots of butterflies and dragonflies in the area as well, allowing for many nature shots as well. Hawks and other birds can also be found in the mill area.

I would suggest going to Clingman’s Dome and this mill all in one day. It’s not the kind of thing you make the whole trip to go to, but if you’re there, it’s worth stopping. Lots of wildflowers, wildlife and historic buildings along the way. It is a short easy walk. It is also educational.

Address – 1/2 Mile North of Oconaluftee Visitor Center, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, NC
Website –

Attractions, Parks

Cades Cove in The Great Smoky Mountain National Park

Cades CoveThe Cades Cove Loop is located a few miles beyond the Townsend Park entrance.  Cades Cove is 6,800-acres nestled in a beautiful isolated valley in the East Tennessee section of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It is a representative sample of this Park’s natural and cultural history as well as its recreational opportunities. Open fields lap against 5,500-foot mountain peaks. With more than 2.5 million visitors annually, it is the Park’s most popular destination. Most people come to Cades Cove to observe the wildlife such as white-tailed deer, black bear, raccoon, turkeys, woodchucks, and other animals. Cades Cove offers some of the best opportunities for wildlife viewing in the park.

I have been to Cades Cove and only seen one Elk the entire time I was there. But, There are ranger talks, homesteads, cemeteries, etc.  There are actually 14 cemetaries in Cade’s Cove.  However, only 11 have been found.  

Bear, deer and elk inhabit the mountains surrounding the valley and often traverse the wide fields in an effort to get from one side to the other, to graze or just enjoy the sun on their fur.  I have been to Cades Cove and only seen one Elk the entire time I was there. I have also been to Cades Cove and seen 4 different bear sightings. Also see my blog post on Odis Abbott. This place is a definite for me every time I visit the area.

Web address –
Location – about 23 miles of twisting roads from Sugarlands Visitor Center

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Longest Zip Line Course in The United States

Legacy Mountain Zip LinesLegacy Mountain Ziplines in Pigeon Forge provides some of the most remarkable views The Great Smoky Mountain National Park has to offer.

If you are the type of person who thrives off of adventure and loves remarkable views then look no further than Legacy Mountain Ziplines in Pigeon ForgeŸ.  They are the first eco-friendly zipline adventure available in the Great Smoky Mountains area.  The zip lines have direct views of the historical Pinnacle & majestic Mt LeConte mountains.

Legacy Mountain Zip lines offer:

7 zip lines up to 2,500 feet long
Located on 400 acres of beautiful land
Beautiful views of the Smoky Mountains
4.5 miles of ziplines, 450 ft off the ground!

If you are staying in Legacy Mountain Resort,  ask for Sherry.  She will give you $20.00 off!

Physical address 2431 Upper Middle Creek Road, Sevierville, TN 37876
Web address