Page 112 - Cityview Magazine - July/August 2017
P. 112

Cades Cove is a short drive from Lamar Alexander Parkway. This corner of the park boasts some of the most beautiful slices of nature that East Tennessee has to offer. If you find yourself enjoying the joys of Cades Cove, a bonus adventure can be found on
Rich Mountain Road—an alternative route out of Cades Cove and back
into Townsend. This road is one-way, primitive, and mostly untouched. If you are a lover of mountains and biking, this is the road for you. Wildlife, abandoned buildings, streams, and breathtaking vistas are in abundance on this road; you’ll find some gorgeous views and plenty of tranquility.
The Cades Cove side of the mountains is the definition of tranquility no matter where you are. Little River Road starts off at Cades Cove and winds slowly and peacefully through the mountains and turns into Fighting Creek Gap Road towards the backside of Gatlinburg. This is the perfect road to travel for fall colors, while you’re likely to spot some wildlife during the warmer months. There are also picturesque trails to enjoy. The Sinks is a short trail to a beautiful waterfall—an excellent view for the photographer in your family.
The Sugarlands Visitor Center is just down the way; it boasts short trails to some of the area’s most beautiful spots and has an expansive natural history exhibit for guests to enjoy. Fighting Creek Gap Road can then also be taken into Gatlinburg where you can enjoy some of the more marketed pastimes
of the Smoky Mountains: shopping, moonshine, mini-golf, fudge, pancakes, and so much more.
Another option at the backdoor of Gatlinburg is the Roaring Fork Motor Trail. This trail is a loop road, six-miles long with plenty of waterfalls, trails, views, and wildlife to take in. If hiking is a hobby, we recommend getting out of your car long enough to trek down Trillium Gap Trail, located off of Roaring Fork. Grotto Falls on Trillium Gap Trail is a rare treat. Not only is it a beautiful falls, it is a waterfall you can physically stand behind and watch as
it pours into a pool. Roaring Fork itself was heavily damaged by the fires last
November, but nature has worked hard to rebuild the beauty it provides. While you are still likely to see some evidence of fire damage, it should not be enough to keep you from visiting this gorgeous spot. We definitely recommend setting aside two or three hours to enjoy Roaring Fork. Pack a picnic, take the family, enjoy good company in the great outdoors from the comfort of your car, or appreciate the thrill of a fun hike.
Speaking of good picnics, you should not miss a journey down Wears Valley Road, which connects Townsend
and Pigeon Forge. This little gem of a road, sandwiched in between the busy, exciting Pigeon Forge and the peaceful, slow-paced Townsend, holds some of the best options the Smokies has to offer. A perfect picnic spot is Metcalf Bottoms, where you will find picnic tables, a pavilion, and a large creek made perfectly for the kids to play in. Metcalf Bottoms is tucked off to the side in the middle of the forest, but if you travel down Wears Valley a bit further, you will come across craft shops, antique shops, and country stores. There are multiple cabin rentals along the road that boast brilliant views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. Renting a cluster of cabins is a grand idea for the next family reunion or large gathering. This spot is particularly popular for small weddings and elopements. However, even if you do not stray off of Wears Valley Road, the views seen from the drive alone are worth checking out.
Much like Wears Valley Road,
River Divide Road offers many rental properties for a visit to the mountains
of East Tennessee. One end of River Divide puts you close to Chapman Highway, a well-travelled route from Knoxville to Sevierville. The road itself is a long winding route toward Pigeon Forge that serves as a way of avoiding Sevierville. If you would like to enjoy some of the attractions Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, and Sevierville have to offer but do not want to stay in a hotel on any of the main strips of these destinations, renting a cabin off of a back road like River Divide is a perfect option. You can enjoy peace, privacy, and nature without giving up convenient access to the kind

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