An April 2004 trip
to Gatlinburg by Ehlena99
Quote: A week in the Smoky Mountains for photography and nature
I think it was a great place to stay, but I suppose more than anythign the staff was very helpful when a family from Ohio locked their only set of keys inside the Jeep. They tried several ways to get into the jeep, and finally called the police to help us get it worked out. Everyone was very helpful and very understanding as we tried to get it fixed.
All in all, it's a nice hotel with a very friendly and understanding staff.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on September 16, 2005
Rocky Waters Motor Lodge
Gatlinburg, Tennessee 37738
Restaurant | "The Trout House"
It was late--after sunset--and we were cold, so it was a place to sit down and get dinner and a drink. I will say that they did have good food, but I am not a fan of fish, so I had ham. My father and friend had fish, and even though the description on the menu mentioned "gooey" and "encrusted", they both agreed that it was a good meal.
It may not be the classiest place on earth or have the best food, but it was a restaurant worth the price in atmosphere and food.
Member Rating 2 out of 5 on September 16, 2005
Smoky Mountain Trout House
Gatlinburg, Tennessee 37738
We started first thing in the morning with cameras, a video camera, backpacks, water, and trail mix. It was a beautiful morning with snow in the higher elevations, but it was melted at most of the lower elevations. The trail starts off fairly easily, but it quickly moves to a steep climb that continues to the top. I recommend getting a book that tells you exactly what to expect on the trail because much of the history could be missed by someone not being aware of it. The trail to Rainbow Falls is part of a much longer trail going all the way to Le Conte Lodge--the only lodge in the park. It is a strenuous climb there is no doubt about that, but it is a very beautiful climb. We saw deer, squirrels and many birds along the way. Once at the top you see the whole reason for the climb. Rainbow Falls is the highest single plunge in the Smoky Mountains. Although my family was enamored by the falls I found several squirrels who seem to live in the rocks around the Falls. One in particular stood out because he was very light tan color with red eyes. The squirrels are very friendly and almost seem to pose for pictures.
At the top of the climb there was still snow around the rocks and ground, but it was a comfortable temperature with a coat on.
Prepare for temperature differences in the bottom and top of the hike- as I said there was no snow at the bottom of the Rainbow Falls trail, but there was at the top. When we hiked it the temperature dropped probably 15 degrees on the hike.
Wear appropriate shoes--I don't understand people trying to hike a trail like Rainbow Falls rated moderate to strenuous in flip-flops. It makes my feet hurt just thinking about it.
Bring plenty of water and a snack--water is a definite must for this climb. The snack may be an option, but even with a good breakfast by the time you get to the top it's time for some kind of snack.
Most of all--enjoy the scenery. I still now complain about the hike to Rainbow Falls, but I cannot deny the fact that it was absolutely beautiful on that whole trip. The trees, flowers, animals, and water on the trip leave options for many, many beautiful pictures and memories of a park that reflect the beauty and history of our country.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 16, 2005
Rainbow Falls Trail
Great Smoky National Park
Gatlinburg, Tennessee 37738
Cades Cove seems to me to be what the Great Smoky's is all about. In this area people are intruding, but it feels like that in most National Parks to me. Anyway, Cades Cove is simply gorgeous. We woke up very early to travel across the park road to Cades Cove. We didn't manage to make it before sunrise, but we were close. Cades Cove is gated and not open all the time, so when we got there, we had to wait until the rangers opened the gate. Immediately, I was struck by the beauty of the place. It is just a short drive into the section of the park before I saw a field filled with deer. The animals there are so unconcerned with who is watching them. The people mean no harm, and the animals are not afraid. In the morning light, the deer looked so peaceful and serene- like they had no cares in the world.
Across the road is a field of horses. When I looked closer, there were also deer hiding in that fence. We paused for a few photos--that was the whole point of the trip--and then continued on farther into the park. We came to the John Oliver Cabin next, and it is a very short hike back into the woods. It was almost as if you could feel the history running through the walls of that cabin. It has a creek, woods, trails, and the cabin, and the whole area is very photogenic. We spent the majority of the morning in that area, taking the time to expore the cabin and surrounds and then turning and seeing the 'smoke' in the mountains.
Farther along the Cades Cove Loop Road, we came to the Baptist Church. As we were sitting in the parking lot, one of us spotted a pileated woodpecker in the trees, which allowed for even more photos. To me, the church is worth the short drive off the main loop road because of the small cemetery beside it. History just resonates through this place. Although we passed many other places, including another Oliver Cabin (this time Elijah), the next place that really stood out to me was the Cable Mill area. This is a larger area, including a visitor center that shows how a mill would work.
There are other working farm areas and plenty of traditional demonstrations. The Visitor's Center has many souvenirs of the area, including some homemade jams and jellies. (YUM!) Always available are postcards, pictures, and plenty of books about the area.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on November 9, 2005
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee
East Liverpool, Ohio