Happy Friday Friends! We spent one day, just one day at the Smokey Mountain National Park over Memorial Day Weekend. I expected huge crowds, we got going a little late due to an exhausted child, but we sure did get a great overview and a few hikes in before we had to leave.
There are 5 towns that have entrances on the Tennessee side of the park. We were aiming for maximum time in the park and wanted to avoid the tourist attractions found in Gaitlenberg and Pigeon Forge.
We chose the sleepy town of Townsend. There is a super cute campground right on the river that would be a perfect spot to park a camper for a week there.
Here is the traditional sign picture (there was a rushing creek by the sign) we could not get too close to the sign and the pullover was small, but we managed to get a few pictures of the sign.
We immediately went to the east to do the iconic (and most popular) loop in the park. Cades Cove. Fourteen miles at 20 miles per hour, but slower if a international tourist sees a turkey and stops.
We did not see any wildlife, except a turkey, one deer and a crow. Remember we are from Minnesota, so we see these things in our backyard, kiddo was pretty unimpressed and fell asleep. There were bears earlier in the morning, but we missed them.
About halfway through, we stopped to hike a small trail to an old cabin- that was interesting to see. Water would be a challenge where these cabins were located.
We briefly stopped for ice cream at the end of Cades Cove and here is where we found the treasure.
We did not have enough time to make the 5 mile Angels Falls trail, so I was looking for a shorter hike to see a waterfall. A ranger pointed me in the direction of Spruce Hat Falls. It is a two mile hike, pretty tough, but worth it when you arrive.
We loved this hike, we saw just a few families and one man with bear spray on his belt, then I felt totally unprepared. It is a hidden gem in the park.
It took us about 45 minutes to get there, we were tired and about 30 minutes to get back.
We did have to rest.
It was totally worth it! I think she was hoping we would stop for Sonic burgers when we were done.
Pretty slippery, and a nice couple took our picture.
We had to head back by 4pm, our 7 hours in the park was magical and memorable.
Thanks to the State of Tennessee , there is no admittance fee to this national park. Very rare- but so much appreciated!