Tuesday, November 27, 2012

great smoky mountains national park

I realize that it has been just over two weeks since my last post, and while I find serious discomfort in letting my blog go dormant for any length of time over a week, I was on a much needed vacation. And this wasn't a fishing trip but more of a chance to get the family out and explore a landscape that is quite foreign to us flat-landers. For those who visit this blog just for fishing reports, sorry to disappoint, the next few posts are purely about hiking the Smoky Mountain National Park.

This post is dedicated to just some of the sites we found while traveling 441 that runs through the heart of the park connecting Gatlinburg, Tennessee with Cherokee, North Carolina. From the very first mountain sunrise, I knew we were in for something special.

sunrise over the smoky mountains
On the Tennessee side, 441 hwy follows along the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River. In its upper elevations, it’s everything you could expect from a high gradient mountain stream.

west prong of the little pigeon river
As the river approaches Gatlinburg and beyond it flattens and widens dramatically. On our journey up the mountain, the Little Pigeon provided some excellent scenery.

a lower gradient section of the river
Driving through the park, there are so many countless pull-offs and hiking trails to explore. While this post won’t have enough room to go over every place we set foot, the view from Newfound Gap was one of my favorites.

newfound gap
And to give you just a small taste of the wildlife here, I will leave you with these few shots. Coming down from the mountains on the North Carolina side we had the pleasure to come up on a herd of grazing elk. While they weren't so much bothered by our presence we were able to capture a dozen or so excellent photos before the rangers felt it was best we moved on.

a herd of grazing elk in the national park

the largest bull in the bunch
Stay tuned for some of my favorite shots from Cades Cove and the Pisgah National Forest.


  1. I believe the area is part of the Elks natural range. Its hard to believe but many groups are working to restore some of the historical range in the east. some of those rivers look pretty too

    1. i believe these are planted for restoration purposes as well. freakin cool stuff for sure

  2. That is awesome, in Pakistan there is a national park called Deosai national park which is about 12000 feet high from the sea level if you are interested get imediate flights for pakistan because after some time snow fall cause blockage the way.

    1. Wow Amy that sounds great! I totally want to visit there. Too bad I already booked a trip to Hell this year. Maybe Pakistan next year.

    2. damn spammers, google does a decent job overall from keeping them posted

  3. Blake
    So glad you are sharing this tirp with everyone. My wife and I live about 5 hours from the Smokies and we are there at least twice a year. We go mainly for the scenery and not to fish, because my wife doesn't want to he left alone while I am fishing. Was the Elk in Cades Cove? That is one beautiful place I love seeing all the wildlife there. Of all the plades in the Smokies my wife and I have visited has to be Clemon Dome. At 6,643 feet, Clemom Dome is the Great Smoky Mountains National Park's highest point. It is the highest point in Tennessee, and the second highest point east of the Mississippi. Only North Carolina's Mt. Mitchell (6,684 feet) rises higher. We go there everytime we visit the Smokies. My wife and I have been there when you are standing in the clouds, it is one awesome feeling. I am looking forward to your next post. Thanks for sharing

    1. no, the elk were actually right off 441 as you come down the hills on the north carolina side. if you look close, thats actually the visitors center in the background of the far away shot of the elk. the other people watching said its rare to see em and it was a real treat. excellent country out there and i was gonna post some of the pics from cades cave in another post. it deserves its own attention. hope you stay tuned, good to hear from you again.