Most of the last day is taken with the drive home, but we did get up early and go catch sunrise from a new spot. This time, just after (heading to Tenessee) the Newfound Gap Overlook. Since we didn’t do much Sunday, I’ll use this post as a wrap up.
Wednesday night – drive to Gatlinburg
Thursday – hike Huskey Gap Trail, early night, no sunset
Friday – hike Rainbow Falls, Aquarium in the afternoon, dinner at Smoky Mountain Brewery
Saturday – hike Mt. Cammerer, Sunset Photography
Sunday – sunrise photography, hike Grotto Falls, hike Laurel Falls, Cades Cove
Monday – sunrise photography, return trip
We started early on Saturday and went up to Clingman’s dome for a chilly (as expected) sunrise.
After that, we headed over to the Roaring Fork Motor Trail to the Grotto Falls trail head. It’s a moderate hike and climb at 2.6 miles round trip with 585 ft of elevation. We had been there once before on the first trip to the Smokies and were not able to visit on the second due to the Motor Trail being closed that time. Grotto falls is a neat one in that you can walk behind the falls. With a little bit of scrambling into the river below, you can also get a pretty well aligned shot of the falls.
The second stop was at Laurel Falls en route to Cades Cove. Laurel is an easy hike, 1.15 miles, all paved (somewhat poorly in places) to a more pour-over type falls. There’s also the option to scramble around a bit at the falls to get down to the second level and again out into the river a bit.
This trip up was special – we found a black bear cub just before the top of the trail. It was down over the steep edge of the trail, so it was hard to see and hard to get pictures of. Continue reading