Consolidated rundown of the long weekend trip that Janet and I took to the Smoky Mountains starting Wednesday night and arriving Thursday April 23rd, 2015.
Smoky Mountains Day 1 itinerary: 9:30pm (CT) – depart Chicago (Midlothian) Drove through the night 8:30am – arrive in the Smoky Mountains Stopped at Sugarlands visitor center Headed to Ramsey Falls (+ coffee) 10:20 – started hike 12:15 – arrived at the fall 1:15 – start descent 3:30 – return … Continue reading
Smoky Mountains Day 2 itinerary: Stupid early – drive to Clingman’s Dome Nap in Clingman’s Dome parking lot 9:00 – Hiked to Clingman’s Dome Continue down the Appalachian Trail Fail to find Siler’s Bald 4:30 – return to Clingman’s Dome lot Returned to hotel Day 2’s itinerary really only had … Continue reading
Smoky Mountains Day 3 itinerary: Slept in (forecast of rain) 11:30 – stopped at NOC for a hat 12:00 – Alum trail to Mt. LaConte 7:00 – return to trailhead Return to hotel, made dinner Went to Morton Overlook for sunset It was supposed to rain on Saturday, so we … Continue reading
Smoky Mountains Day 4 itinerary: 6:30 – got to Cades Cove (sunrise) Drove two loops around Cades Cove Started hiking Middle-Prong trail Turned back due to rain Stopped at “The Sinks” Returned to hotel – nap 4:30 – Chimney’s Trail 7:00 – return to trailhead Bear sighting Drove through Gatlinburg … Continue reading
Some closing notes:
Driving through the night is not great, but it does save a day. I didn’t feel too tired to do hikes on the first day. Prepacking food was good because grocery stores weren’t readily available in Gatlinburg and because a grocery stop inevitably takes more time than planned.
I think the hotel vs. cabin was a good trade off. Much less time spent getting places, though the motel was nothing more than a place to sleep and charge batteries vs. the cabin was a cute little place out in the hills. The Motel 6 was perfect for this as we didn’t have to contend with *any* Gatlinburg traffic.
Ignore forecasts until they are confirmed to be true. We got going late Saturday because of the forecast of rain. Speaking of – that’s the caveat to a weekend trip, I suppose – if the weather turns bad it can take up the vast majority of the trip. We hiked anyway for the one rainy-ish day, but the hotel would have been boring as hell to sit in if it was really down-pouring.