This mention of the Smoky Mountain State Park can cover a lot of material, so instead I will focus on the Smoky Mountain State Park Entrance for this post, and then mention the State park with other specific things to see and do, with points in later posts.
One of all the parks in the United States that should be visited in your lifetime, at the least once, should be the Smoky Mountain State Park! I am lucky to be living in just this area, which is also in the Western NC Mountains. However the State Park is located specifically in Cherokee, NC area as well as stationed in TN.
Focusing on the Cherokee entrance here, I will mention that on a good morning or evening, you might just catch sight of the park’s increasing elk population. It is advisable to stay quite the distance from the elk and there are usually Park Rangers posted to help remind all visitors to STAY BACK! Generally you can get some GREAT pictures with a camera that has a telephoto lens.
One of the most important rules that the local children learn about the wildlife in the area, is that you do NOT feed the wildlife. The reason why is that it accustoms the wildlife to getting hand-outs and then chaos soon abounds with problems. So PLEASE, if you are visiting the area, DO NOT FEED THE WILDLIFE!
At the entrance to the Smoky Mountain Park is the Oconaluftee Visitor Center and a working 19th century Appalachian farm which is considered to be their museum. This farm is complete with farm animals during the summer, corn cribs, buildings and barns, demonstrations during the summer, and crops that were grown at that particular time.
This is a fabulous place to learn and smell the local Appalachian farm flavors, see how the farm worked, and see what all they sold or traded with others.
Your Smoky Mountain State Park visit should allow for the study a 19th century farm, a hike or two on one of the many trails throughout the park, a chance to see many of the beautiful mountain and meadow landscapes, a hike to one of the many picturesque waterfalls, a horseback ride within the state park, a visit to Mingus Mill (an old time grain processing mill), walk an identified plant and tree labeled path, raft in the Deep Creek community area, drive up and over into TN via the main winding road, camp and stay within the State Park, and to visit the Clingman’s Dome observation area. Be sure to also come in the fall and see the colors of the leaves in full swing!
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