Explorations of the Smokies

Take a look and discover some of the Smoky Mountains most treasured locations.  Here, in Explorations, we will feature our own personal experiences of locations and places throughout the Smoky Mountains and surrounding areas. 

Our Explorations are unique, off the beaten path, and just downright interesting.  So for those who want something a little extra when they visit the Great Smoky Mountains, check out our list of Smoky Mountain Explorations!

Alum Cave Bluff

On one of the most beautiful trails in the Smokies, you'll find Arch Rock and Alum Cave Bluff.

Appalachian Trail

From Newfound Gap, we head south on the Appalachian Trail to Tremont for a multi-day hike.


Cataloochee was once home to a community of 1,200 people. We experienced some of the preserved buildings there.

Cataract Falls

A small waterfall that's a quick, easy hike located behind Sugarlands Visitor Center

Chimneys Picnic Area

This is an excellent place to have a picnic or to just set back and relax.

Clingmans Dome

Take a look at our firsthand experience at Clingmans Dome during sunset.


A great historical site featuring many old abandoned structures in the Smoky Mountains.

Fontana Dam

Having seen Fontana Lake several years from Clingmans Dome, we finally drove down and checked it out.

Laurel Falls

We set off early one morning to check out the Laurel Falls trail and waterfall.

Mingus Mill

Mingus Mill near Oconaluftee offers a glimpse into life over 130 years ago.

Waterfall on Cataloochee Turnpike

A relatively unknown mountain road proves mostly mundane but there are a few surprises.

Waterfall on Cataloochee Turnpike

A quick look at the Oconaluftee Visitor Center on the south side of the park.

Parsons Branch Road

Our experience of Parsons Branch Road was exciting and, at time, a little scary.

Rich Mountain Road

We leave Cades Cove via Rich Mountain Road on a rainy afternoon.

Roaring Fork

Read about one of our favorite attractions in the Smoky Mountains, the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail.

Sugarlands Visitor Center

Here we learned about Smoky Mountain bats, beetles, and buys!

Tail of the Dragon

We stumbled upon the Tail of the Dragon, an 11-mile stretch of US 129 that has 318 curves.

The Road to Nowhere (North Shore Drive)
The Road to Nowhere

We experience the infamous "Road to Nowhere," just north of Bryson City, North Carolina.