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Friday, December 30, 2016

great smoky mountains national park

In an effort to explore more of the United States, my boyfriend and I have been slowly checking off National Parks on our list. So far, we have traveled west to the oldest, one of the largest, and probably the best known national park, Yellowstone, and also the stunning snow capped mountain filled Grand Teton National Park. A little closer to home, we traveled north to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where we explored Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore along the banks of crystal clear Lake Superior. This past Thanksgiving, we spent a long weekend in eastern Tennessee exploring the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  

 Located along the border of both Tennessee and North Carolina, it is the most visited national park in the United States, with over nine million people visiting each year. The park covers nearly eight hundred and seventeen square miles making it one of the largest protected areas in the eastern United States. 

The Smoky Mountains are named for the ever-present fog that hovers around the peaks and valleys.

An abundance of wildlife such as white-tailed deerelkblack bearraccoon, turkeys, and woodchucks all call this beautiful park their home. It also boasts dozens of scenic hiking trails, spectacular look out points and fast racing waterfalls. The numerous roads throughout the park provide you with a driving tour where you can take in panoramic views, tumbling mountain streams, weathered historic buildings, and uninterrupted forest stretching to the horizon.

Sadly, on the last day of our trip, a previously contained wildfire quickly spread out of control due to drought conditions and high winds. The towns of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, gateways to the National Park, suffered major damage. Thousands of people were displaced or lost their homes entirely. Tragically, more than a dozen people lost their lives. It was one the largest natural disasters in the history of Tennessee.

All photos © Lisa Rozwadowski

Have you ever visited Great Smoky Mountain National Park? 

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