We love the Smoky Mountains. Wish you were here!

Archive for November, 2009

The Kephart Prong Trail is One of the Smokies’ Most Popular


Robin Fowler took this photo while hiking on the Kephart Prong trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and added the comment “This is one of the prettiest and most peaceful places I have ever been to in my life!”

The Kephart Prong Trail (‘prong’ means a bend in the river) is a four-mile hike (in and out) that crosses the Oconaluftee River six times, with narrow footbridges provided at each crossing. The trail itself is an old road-bed with broken and exposed pavement at the beginning of the trail and eventually leads to a backcountry shelter.

The trailhead is about seven miles north of the Oconaluftee Visitor Center on US 441. The hike is considered moderate with an elevation gain of 810 feet (2700 ft – 3510 ft).

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A Beautiful Fall in the Smokies


As the colors change, everyone enjoys the grand panoramic vistas. Yet the most brilliant colors are often viewed up close, especially when the afternoon sun is backlighting the scene, as photographer J.R. vanLienden captured in this week’s Postcard From The Smokies.

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Blue Ridge Parkway 75th Anniversary Kicked Off in Cherokee


BRP75Just as the 75th anniversary of Great Smoky Mountains National Park draws to a close, the neighboring Park’s anniversary has just begun. Last week, the Blue Ridge Parkway kicked off its 75th year with a ceremony at the Ravensford Overlook near the southern end of the 469 mile scenic roadway. The Cherokee NC location was significant for several reasons — it’s where the two parks and the Qualla Boundary share borders, and it acknowledged the Cherokees’ major role in bringing the Parkway through the reservation and into Swain County.

Jerry-WolfeThe kick-off ceremony included a “passing of the torch” from one Park to the other, ceremonial dances by the Warriors of AniKituhwa and a Cherokee blessing from 85 year-old tribal elder Jerry Wolfe, who was born and raised only a mile from the Ravensford Overlook in a cabin where the parkway now runs.  View video.

More about the Parkway’s 75th Anniversary here.

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All together now… “Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way”


Christmas music is a big part of the Polar Express Train Ride experience with everyone joining in. And while one might assume that the conductor would direct the singing, it’s actually the singing chefs that lead the passengers in singing familiar Christmas carols.

Departing from the Bryson City train depot, the Polar Express train ride continues through Wednesday, December 23. A great holiday tradition with caroling, hot cocoa, a treat and chance to talk to Santa.  More info and schedules.

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Mountain Golf is a Year-round Activity in the Smokies


On just about any nice day throughout the fall and winter, you can play a round of golf at the 18-hole Smoky Mountain Country Club near Bryson City. It’s a true mountain course with elevation changes of 400 feet; and at the top, the views are spectacular. The 6000 yard, par 70 public course is open daily until the Christmas holidays; and through the winter months they’ll be open any day when the temperature is 50 and above.

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