Happy National Park Week! My, it has been a long time since my last post. Though I have a list of places I would like to write about, this past year has been a bummer for travel. Maybe you have had a year like me when you have wanted to travel but have stayed close to home (due to COVID-19 protocols for safety) working through your travel-related shows in queue. Vaccinations and decreasing cases made us hopeful we could travel, and we chose locations within a day’s drive. We narrowed down our options and decided to visit the Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg TN area and planned to spend one day in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.
The Great Smoky Mountain National Park (GSMNP) offers fee-free entrance! We entered at the Gatlinburg entrance and drove to Newfound Gap, Clingmans Dome, and then through the Cades Cove loop. You can see a lot of the park via the road, but there are many trails as well, if you wish to hike. I found the information on the accessibility tab very helpful: https://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/accessibility.htm. All the visitor’s centers had good, clean, and accessible restrooms, clear sidewalks and ramps, and designated parking spaces. The paths near the Cades Cove visitor’s center were wide and level and offered a chance to see the exterior of some historic buildings and mill. It was a beautiful day to visit the GSMNP!
Visit https://www.nps.gov/subjects/npscelebrates/national-park-week.htm for ways to celebrate the week and Earth Day, connecting to the National Parks virtually, and finding information on parks near you or passes.