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Best Budget Activities in Great Smoky Mountains

By: Cityseeker
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Chimney Tops

Chimney Tops is a mountain in the central Great Smoky Mountains, and one of the national park’s most iconic geological features and popular hiking destinations. Legend has it that the mountain was given its name by Appalachian settlers before the national park was formed, and that the mountain was once covered in soot. The Chimney Tops trail ends at the foot of the southern, tallest capstone, at 4724 feet (1440 meters) above sea level.

Chimney Tops, Great Smoky Mountains, TN, United States, 37738
Alum Cave Trail

The Alum Cave Trail, also called the Alum Cave Bluff Trail, is a moderately difficult 5-mile (8 kilometer) hiking trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Considered the most scenic of the five trails that lead to Mount Le Conte, the trail begins its ascent of the mountain at 3,830 feet (1,170 meters) and passes streams, scenic viewpoints, and landmarks such as Inspiration Point, Arch Rock, and Cliff Top. Near the end of the trail hikers will find the rustic cabins of LeConte Lodge, the only commercial lodge in the park, and the peaks of the mountain itself.

Alum Cave Trail Trailhead, Gatlinburg, TN, United States, 37738
Ramsey Cascades

Ramsey Cascades is the tallest waterfall in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and one of its most spectacular. The waterfall spills 100 feet (33 meters) down a sandstone cliff close to Mount Guyot’s western slope, and can be accessed through the Ramsey Cascades Trail, which begins at Ramsey Prong Trailhead and is lined with tulip trees, silver bells, and yellow birches. The stunning falls, old-growth forests, and beautiful trail offer a memorable experience to all hikers who set foot here.

Ramsey Cascades, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg, TN, United States, 37738
Cades Cove

Despite its name, Cades Cove is a stunning valley, not a cove. Located promiscuously on the border of both Tennessee and North Carolina, the valley is known for its stunning scenery and abundant wildlife. Visitors to Cades Cove will marvel at the Thunderhead Mountains towering over the valley. Keep a sharp eye on the landscape - bears, white-tailed deer, coyotes, ground hogs, and turkeys have been spotted throughout the area. Visitors can also learn about the Cherokee tribes that used the valley as a hunting ground for hundreds of years and explore the 19th-Century buildings left behind by the area's first European settlers.

Cades Cove Loop Road, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg, TN, United States, 37738
Fontana Lake

Fontana Lake is a pristine site encased with lush forests and rolling hills. This is a massive reservoir that spans about 17 miles (27 kilometers) and forms part of the southern border of Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the northern border of part of the Nantahala National Forest. The lake is named after the local Montvale Lumber Company logging town. Visitors can enjoy hiking, fishing, boating, swimming, and picnicking at the site. This attraction warrants a visit during your trip to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Fontana Lake, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg, TN, United States, 37738
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