The trip from Cherokee to Gatlinburg through the Great Smokey Mountains National Park has always been one of my favorites. It is a relatively short trip over the mountain but gives a great perspective of how large the mountains are and how many mountains there are in the area.
The highlight of the trip is Clingman’s Dome – the highsest point in the Smokey Mountains where you can literally see for miles and on a good day above the clouds (aka smoke). You have to get luck to get there before the thin whispy clouds start to move in and hide the view. We were fortunate this time to hit that small window (for this time of year). The last time Cara and I were here visibility was extremely limited. This time I am guessing we had a range of around 30 miles or so. Supposedly under perfect conditions when pollution is low you can see over 100 miles and 7 states.
I didn’t take a lot of pictures in Cherokee (other than the Sequoia/Sequoya monument) and the village at the ranger station because so much of it is just junk stores and nonsense. Same on the Gatlinburg side. This is one case of the journey being much better than the destinations – on either side of the mountain. Yes – we went to the casino – no we didn’t take pictures. For one it was dark and two if you’ve seen one video poker machine – you’ve seen them all. More pictures of the ride over the mountain after the jump. Includes a few pictures from the ranger stations on each side and some fine literature we found for sale on the Gatlinburg (Sugarlands) side of the mountain.