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Smoky Mountains

Reviewing: Smoky Mt. Nat. Park Smoky Mountains  |  Rating:
devo By devo on
Badge: Author | Level: 3 | Outdoors & Recreation Expertise:
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I recently visited the Great Smoky Mountains National Park with my father and an uncle. I am a nature lover and a bit of an amateur Zoologist, so I had a pretty good time. The Smoky Mountains sport some of the world's most breathtaking views, especially when the fog rolls down the slopes. As far as animals go, the park has thriving white tailed deer, wild turkey, and black bear populations, but I would have liked to have seen a reintroduction of some of the area's lost wildlife such as bison and elk. I'm not entirely sure if red wolves have been reintroduced although I have heard a small population exists somewhere in the Carolinas. The park has well-kept hiking trails and roads and is definitely visitor friendly. It is probably the busiest park in the US, so camping there has to be planned well in advance. There is, however, a considerable downside to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The towns just outside the park, Gatlinburgh and Pigeon Forge, are assults on good taste. These communities are crowded, tacky, and clash with the rugged asthetics of the Smoky Mountains. There are so many "Ripley's Believe it or Not" attractions to give you an aneurism. I would rather stay inside the Park in a tent made of my own skin than stay in Gatlinburgh or Pigeon Forge. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure there are plenty of decent things in those towns, but they are smothered by the upside-down Ripley's museum and the gargantuan neon signs. There is a nice artistic community just outside of Gatlinburgh that I would highly recomend though. Hundreds of independent local artists have shops, cafes, and studios along an 8 mile looped road and it is a pretty nice place to visit.