It’s Still Fall, Y’all!

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November is coming to a close, but that doesn’t mean it’s over yet! The leaves are still changing so there’s time to experience the wonderful colors the Smokies have to offer. You may just have to take a walk on the wild side with some adventurous coasters or saddle up for a whole new outlook on the beauty our area has to offer.

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We now have an incredible selection of coasters in the area. Start off small with the Alpine Slide at Ober. This 1800 foot track is fun for all ages! They also have the Ski Mountain Coaster where you can enjoy a faster ride down a 3750 foot metal track! If you would like to see the colors from all areas and angles, try the other coasters in the area as well. Stop by Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster 640px-DW_Wild_Eagle.JPGon your way into town to experience their 35 mph coaster. Or if you’ll be lodging in Pigeon Forge, the Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster would be a fun stop for the kids (and adults!). Go big or go home with Dollywood‘s roller coaster the Wild Eagle®. It is definitely one of a kind! While “flying” high above the park itself, the views you catch showcase the Smoky Mountains.

 

sunset riders 250xTo slow down the pace a bit, head over to Cades Cove. This 11-mile loop through the National Park offers a close up look of the flora and fauna we have in the area. Take your time to drive around the loop or just take the shortcut at one of the two they have. They also offer Horseback Riding Tours Guided  Hayrides, and Carriage Tours up until November 30 (weather permitting). You’re sure to see some of the wild animals in this area and some of the prettiest close up views from inside the park itself.

 

Want to soar through the trees? Head over the CLIMB Works Zipline Canopy Tour to get up close and personal with nature. Start off with an ATV ride to the top in groups of six. Sticking with a “true tree canopy” feel, during the tour  your feet won’t touch the ground for 2 1/2 hours! You’ll walk over 3 sky bridges giving you a ‘bird’s eye view’ when not zipping. If you’re looking for more of a challenge they also offer Mountain Biking. El Regis Trail is a two mile loop that is considered intermediate, but beginners up for a challenge are more than welcome on it as well.

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This blog is sponsored by ERA In The Smokies Realty and
Rentals located at 207 Parkway in Gatlinburg. For more info. on a Gatlinburg Cabin for your Smoky Mountain Vacation or all the reasons to move to the Smokies, call 1-800-309-0277. ERA In The Smokies is a leader in chalet and Log Cabin Rentals and Real Estate Sales in the Gatlinburg area.

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Fall Leaves in the Smoky Mountains!

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Hobblebush photo courtesy of Harvard ForestWhy are fall colors so remarkable in the Smokies? One reason is the area’s amazing diversity of trees. Some 100 species of native trees live in the Smokies and the vast majority of these are deciduous.

How do colors change? As summer ends, the green pigments in leaves deteriorate, giving other colors a chance to shine. Carotenoids, the pigment that makes carrots orange and leaves yellow, are exposed as the green fades. Reds and purples come from anthocyanins, a pigment that is formed when sugars in leaves break down in bright autumn sunlight.

Bring the family to see the leaves change!The Great Smoky Mountains National Park usually experiences an autumn leaf season of several weeks as fall colors travel down the mountainsides from high elevation to low. However, the timing of fall color change depends upon so many variables (including rainfall) that the exact dates of peak fall foliage color each year are impossible to predict in advance.

 

Elevation profoundly affects when fall colors change in the park. Drive the Blue Ridge Parkway!
At higher elevations, where the climate is similar to New England’s, leaves begin to change as early as mid-September with the turning of yellow birch, American beech, mountain maple, hobblebush (above right) & pin cherry.

From early to mid-October, fall colors develop above 4,000 feet. To enjoy them, drive the Clingman’s Dome Road, the Blue Ridge Parkway (right), or the Foothills Parkway. Support the Park, buy the Cades Cove Story!The fall color display usually reaches peak at mid and lower elevations between mid-October and early November. This is the park’s most spectacular display as it includes such colorful trees as sugar maple, scarlet oak, sweetgum, red maple, and the hickories.

Autumn is both a beautiful and a busy time in the Great Smoky Mountains. The annual show of fall colors attracts huge numbers of sightseers, especially during the last three weeks of October. Areas in the park which experience the longest traffic delays are Cades Cove (see book pictured left) & Newfound Gap Road. Try some of these less crowded autumn hikes & drives:

  • Check for current discounts!Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, a narrow, steep, but paved one-way road that winds through rich forests and offers glimpses of rollicking Roaring Fork creek. As the name implies, this road is designed for leisurely travel and enjoyment of nature.
  • Blue Ridge Parkway follows the crest of the mountains for 469 miles, all the way to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. Frequent auto pullouts along the first few miles provide spectacular views of the Smoky Mountains in all their autumn finery.
  • Balsam Mountain Road offers intimate views of northern hardwood forest at the top, transitioning to cove and southern hardwoods toward the bottom. The road eventually leaves the park and enters the Cherokee Indian Reservation.

There are no rental cabins located within the Great Smoky Mountain National Park; however, take a look at some of these cabins with phenomenal views:

  • Stay a week or Stay a lifetime!Chipmunk Haven– This is a cute, private log cabin with a view, a rare find! Chipmunk Haven has 2 bedrooms and 2 baths, an outdoor hot tub, an indoor whirlpool tub, and is located just 3 miles from the downtown Parkway in Gatlinburg.
  • At Trail’s End– This luxurious cabin is located in a peaceful setting off the beaten path
  • Almost Heaven – This 2 bedroom, 2 bath cabin is located minutes from the National Park. You can enjoy the fall color from your hot tub or porch –no hiking necessary.
  • Winfield Heights – From a spa-like couples getaway to a family-fun vacation, the cabins of Winfield Heights offer you and yours deluxe accommodations and amenities–in-room whirlpools, outdoor hot tubs, pool tables & fireplaces. Enjoy both a mountain view AND a downtown city view!

ERA In The SmokiesSpecial thanks to the Smokies Guide, the official newspaper of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park as well as www.nps.gov/grsm for providing the fall color update information.

This blog is sponsored by ERA In The Smokies Realty and Rentals located at 207 Parkway in Gatlinburg. For more info. on a Gatlinburg Cabin for your Smoky Mountain Vacation or all the reasons to move to the Smokies, call 1-800-309-0277. ERA In The Smokies is a leader in chalet and Log Cabin Rentals and Real Estate Sales in the Gatlinburg area.