THE GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS:  It doesn't matter where you go, you see evidence of the living God! His face is reflected in streams and waterfalls. His supremacy, deemed by tall, stately foothills appear to touch the sky. The warmth of His love is seen through creatures, both large and small roaming throughout these hills.

 The "awesomeness" of God's creation echos throughout those majestic peaks.

Great Smoky Mountains Cades Cove is an excellent place to view wildlife.

 One of the most visited areas in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is Cades Cove.  Located about 27 miles from Gatlinburg, it's one of the best places to see wildlife in their natural habitat.  

At one time, Cades Cove was a hunting ground for the Cherokee Indians. It's exciting to walk through historical buildings that are still standing. You'll see structures that date back to the 1800's and 1900's. There's log houses, barns, churches, and a grist mill that is still operating today!

A great way to enjoy the cove is by traveling the 11-mile one way loop.  Traffic runs slowly with ample opportunity for sight-seeing and picture taking.

There's a visitor's center located about half way around the loop. It has lots of great information about the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  There are restroom facilities and a place to buy snacks.

There are many areas to explore inside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park!

Looking for a short hike? You might consider the Cades Cove Nature Trail and Abrams Falls. These are only about five miles round trip. Longer hikes that lead to Rocky Top and Thunderhead Mountain begin in this area as well!  Take the family and spend the whole day enjoying this beautiful waterfall!  Abrams Falls is a moderate five mile hike that is well worth the walk once you get there!  Take along some snacks for a picnic, or relax by the natural pool that stands underneath the falls. 

Camping in the Great Smoky Mountains is very popular during every season of the year!Cade's Cove Campground

The Elkmont Community is nestled in the Great Smoky Mountains only nine miles from Gatlinburg.  It's a beautiful area where the rich bought vacation cabins.  It's home to one of the biggest campgrounds in the Smokies.! It's also where you find great hiking trails!

 At one time, Elkmont was a popular logging town. It is such a beautiful area, that folks began building cabins and vacationing here.  It's an excellent getaway for a quiet day in the mountains, or a family picnic.

Elkmont has an excellent campground facility. It's usually open from the beginning of March until the end of November. However, you may still use the facility during the off season.  It's also a great place to enjoy the mountains in the comfort of your tent, or RV.  If you've come prepared to do a little fishing, there's a good trout fishing stream known as Little River.

 Elkmont is one of the only places in the world you can see Fireflies perform their lighting ritual. In Tennessee, we refer to them as "lightning bugs."But whatever you want to call them, there are literally thousands! They blink in sequence all at the same time! I've taken this tour! It's an awesome site! You really need to check this one out!

Thousands visit Clingman's Dome every year. Most everyone recognize it by its 54-foot observation tower. It's a half-mile walk to the tower. Although the path is paved, the way is steep. Once you make it, you'll realize it was worth the trip.   Clingman's Dome stands 6,643 feet. Not only is it the highest peak in the Smokies, it's also the highest in the state of Tennessee. Actually it lies on the state line between Tennessee and North Carolina.

It's a good idea to prepare before visiting Clingman's Dome. Make sure to wear the proper attire, keep a current weather forecast handy, and bring a backpack filled with essentials for mountain hiking.

National Geographic has lots of information about The Great Smoky mountains.  Be sure to check it out at

Branch Out with Great Smoky Mountains Association

As the year comes to a close, we want to say ‘Thank You’ for choosing Great Smoky Mountains Association program to help you Get Rooted in the Smokies.
Have a safe and happy holiday season and keep reading our emails to find out when registration opens for next year's events!

Hiking 101Hike the Appalachian Trail above Lake Fontana
Date: Saturday, December 2Time: 8 a.m.Location: Fontana Dam Visitor Center - North Carolina
Only two spaces available!
Lace up your hiking boots and join GSMA for our final hike of 2017! This 7-mile round-trip day hike will take you across the highest dam east of the Rocky Mountains to Shuckstack Firetower reaching above the Smokies at 4,020 feet in elevation.
Get More InformationGear Fest

Learn safe winter hiking skills
Date: Monday, December 4Time: 6 p.m.Location: Nantahala Outdoor Center - Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Robert Gordon of Nantahala Outdoor Center in Gatlinburg will provide a seminar on the best gear and techniques for winter hiking in the Smokies. Robert will provide you the advice you'll need to learn how NOT to be added to the next edition of GSMA's bestseller Into the Mist: Tales of Death and Disaster by David Brill.

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In the park this December
Saturday, December 9 - Festival Of Christmas Past.Click for more.Saturday, December 16 - Holiday homecoming. Click for more.

It's quiet and peaceful as you breath fresh mountain air and enjoy those Great Smoky Mountain landscapes.WOODED LANDSCAPES