Driving through the Smoky Mountains heading towards the Blue Ridge Parkway

We stayed in Gatlinburg, Tennessee which was very close to the Sugarlands visitor center and one of several entry points for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It was also close to the main road that takes you from there to the end of the park, the Oconaluftee Vistors Center in Cherokee, North Carolina. The Oconaluftee Center is right around the corner from the start (or end depends on if you are driving north like us or south) of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

It takes about an hour to drive from Gatlinburg to Cherokee on Newfound Gap Road (elevation 5046 feet) but that’s if you drive straight through. And who would want to do that with such amazing views!

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, mountains, autumn, October

At this pullover, we were able to see the road we were going to be on once we drove down from our high position on the mountain. At this elevation it was cold and windy with snow flurries. Not what you’d expect from mid-October in Tennessee.

Newfound Gap Road, mountains, road trip, mountain views, tennessee

Finally after several pullovers to take in the stunning autumn views, we made it to the Oconaluftee Visitor Center. There is more to see at this center than just maps, souvenirs, snacks and a bathroom before the long drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway. There is a mountain farm museum where you can learn how families lived in the mountains 100 years ago.

farm museum, Oconaluftee Visitors Center, Cherokee North Carolina

While I wish I had taken time to explore the farm, I was much more interested in these animals that were out in an open field… and causing traffic jams as people driving past pulled over to take photos of them.

Elk, Oconaluftee Visitors Center

After this it was time for the long drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway!

Teri – with a very big tree outside of the visitors center.


About imagesbytdashfield

Fine art photographer who loves to see and capture the amazing things in this world. Owner of Images by TDashfield photography. www.imagesbytdashfield.com
This entry was posted in architecture, nature photography, Parks, photography, Travel Photography, wildlife photography and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Driving through the Smoky Mountains heading towards the Blue Ridge Parkway

  1. Timothy Price says:

    Smokin’. Beautiful photos. You got up to our elevation.

  2. spanishwoods says:

    Love these images…beautiful

  3. Pit says:

    A gorgeous area with spectacular sights, isn’t it? We were there in 2018, though in a slightly different area.

    RailTrailsRoadTrip 2018 – Day 8 [Travelling the Cherohala Skyway]

  4. equinoxio21 says:

    Smoky mountains are very beautiful. Drove there nearly half a century ago… (I am getting slightly in shock at the time… 😉) ’78? ’79? Around then.
    Todo bien amiga? 🤗

  5. They are beautiful aren’t they! Tengo días buenos ,tengo días malos..
    es la vida

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