Posts Tagged: national park

Outdoors in the Smoky Mountains: Life Outside the Cabin

Even with a world of entertainment and relaxation right there in your vacation cabin, if you want to get outdoors and explore, there are many easy ways. You can get close to many scenic wonders and still remain in your car, as well as sample many easy walks and other ways to enjoy Great Smoky Mountains National Park without a lot of effort – and all of it is free of charge.

So here’s our Big List of outdoor adventures in the Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge area.

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Everything Turns Green After the Fires

Local broadcaster WBIR Channel 10 News has footage of Great Smoky Mountains National Park in a recent story showing the dramatic recovery of the forests, following the wildfires of 19 months ago in the Gatlinburg, TN area. As the interview with the park’s fire ecologist Rob Klein makes clear, this is a great example of how quickly forests can snap back and regenerate with new life following a wildfire.

According to the story, 70 percent of the areas affected by the fires of November, 2016, are recovering very rapidly. Hundreds of brand-new Table Mountain Pine trees have already shot up to around 2 feet in height. Within a couple more years, says Klein,  it will be difficult to see that these areas were even burned. In fact, entire areas will become transformed into new forests over the next decade.

This is all good news, and it’s quite astonishing to see the images of before and after in various parts of the national park.

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The Quiet Walkways of Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The majestic hiking trails that stretch deep into the lush forests of the Great Smoky Mountains get all the attention, but not everyone wants to spend a whole day hiking just to get close to nature. The Quiet Walkways of Great Smoky Mountains National Park are the unsung heroes for those who are looking for a more casual trail experience, and they prove that humble doesn’t have to mean boring.

Image by J. Stephen Conn ©

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Total Eclipse 2017 in the Smoky Mountains, Tennessee

Image by NASA

On August 21, 2017, a total eclipse of the sun will occur, moving on a path across the United States from Oregon to South Carolina, and passing through the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee around 1:30 in the afternoon. If you want to watch the eclipse, either in person or by live stream, here’s everything you need to know.

The entire western half of Great Smoky Mountains National Park falls within the travel of the eclipse, and rangers have organized some optimum-viewing areas inside the park. There are also numerous opportunities in other parts of the park and the region to catch this rare event, not seen in the U.S. since 1979.

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Star Gazing in Cades Cove: October 8, 2016

Saturday night, October 8, 2016, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is allowing people into Cades Cove for a special Star Gazing evening. Normally the Cove is closed at night, but it opens up for a Star Party! Cades Cove has the lowest ambient light level in the area – one more thing that makes it special – and there’s a lot of sky that can be seen.

The cloud cover should be all gone and the stars should be amazing. Experts on hand with telescopes will show you a sky you may never have known. Check the Smoky Mountain Astronomical Society Facebook page for updates, and call 865-448-4104 Saturday to confirm the event is on – last minute weather changes can cancel these events suddenly.

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