Nature was not on holiday when it formed the trees providing America with some of the nation's most beautiful fall foliage in The Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina. Over 100 species of trees are found in the National Park of the same name. Each adds a different hue, location and time frame to the beauty of leaf season. Tourists from all over the country risk the twisting roads for an eyeful of the glorious view.
Arguably one of the nation's most crowded tourist destinations there are still some out of the way areas within the park. There are over half a million acres of land in the GSMNP and 800 miles of hiking trails. The park service website recommends an area on the east side, or North Carolina section, of the park called Cataloochee. This may be a relief from the bumper to bumper traffic which is common to this area in part due to popular tourist attractions like Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.
The amusement park visitors will find that Dollywood has limited hours of operation and activities on the calendar through December and does not fully close until January, February and most of March. It reopens in April for almost normal operation reaching its full hours of operation in mid-June. For twelve days starting in the middle of September the park hosts free concerts in its Bluegrass & BBQ series. Visitors to the area will find numerous options in accommodations including rustic cabins.
Other scenic areas to consider visiting in this area include the unique Blue Ridge Parkway of North Carolina and Virginia. This 469 mile long drive stretches between the Shenandoah National Park and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The roadway has been named an All American road by the Federal Highway Administration. Only 27 of these are so designated in the nation.
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