Tag Archives: Family Outdoor Adventure

No More Rumor, US-441 is Open!

With an extra $500,000 dangling in front of the construction company working diligently on the road construction project would you expect anything less than a completion date over a month ahead of schedule? Well, if you did, they have proved you wrong; but in the end they have truly surprised and excited the businesses the rely on that section of road to bring in many tourists every year. Just in time for the tourist season to set in and having US-441 back open has changed the grim outlook many businesses had on the upcoming season to smiles and enthusiasm!

US-441 is one of our favorite drives in Western North Carolina because there are just so many things that you can do and see along the way! Here is a list of our favorite things to do while driving through the National Park on any given day, however, you may have to make multiple trips to complete the list.

The List:Screen Shot 2013-04-16 at 11.13.28 AM

– Mingus Mill: This neat old structure provides and easily accessible hike for all visitors and make for a nice little leg stretch and fresh air session.

– Picnicking – The US-441 drive is full of great secluded pull-offs that make for a great place to have a family picnic while enjoying the beauty of the park. Don’t feed the bears though! Picnic areas are located at Big Creek, Chimneys, Cades Cove, Collins Creek, Cosby, Deep Creek, Greenbrier, Heintooga, Look Rock, Metcalf Bottoms, and Twin Creeks.

– Newfound Gap – Just past/before the Clingmans Dome road turn-off is Newfound Gap, which is where a lot of cars stop to take a break and enjoy the view, have a picnic, or take advantage of the restroom. This is the about the mid-point of the drive and its all downhill from here on out, unless you go on a hike!

– Charlies Bunion – This popular day hike is about 8 miles round trip, but is relatively flat and well maintained. If you want to say that you have walked on the Appalachian Trail then this is the hike that you need to do, and the view at the end is pretty awesome. There is also a chance for you to see an Appalachian Trail shelter and drink out of a mountain spring!

Screen Shot 2013-04-16 at 11.13.53 AMMountian Farm Museum: These historic structures were once part of a functioning Appalachian community that was tucked away in the Great Smokies. Now these structure rest at the entrance to 441 and if you can catch the live demonstrations that go on you will most likely learn something new.

– Mount LeConte – This awesome peak is rare in the National Park because it offers the highest lodging and dinning facility to guests in the eastern United States! At 6593ft it is the third highest peak in the National Park but still provides awesome views. There are four different ways to hike up to Mount LeConte. The most popular along US-441 is going to be the Alum Bluff Cave Trail which will take you straight up the mountain and along cliffsides for about 4.9 miles. This is a great day hike for the family looking for a challenge, you legs will be soar, guaranteed!

– Chimney Tops – This hake is another one of those steep incline ones, but again it is worth the work once you get to the top. The unique jagged rock formations at the top make for some creative and careful climbing, but it is a great place to sit, relax, take in the view over a snack or picnic. This is a great day hike, and if you get to hot on the hike then the river at the bottom is a great place to let the kids play and cool off!Screen Shot 2013-04-16 at 11.14.26 AM

– Clingmans Dome – This is one of the most popular stops along this section of road. Clingmans Dome takes you to 6643ft in elevation and if you are there on a low smog day then you will be able to see forever! The hike up to the lookout tower is about a mile and a pretty good incline, but is is a paved trail, which make for easier walking. The hike is well worth the reward once you get to the top!

– Cades Cove – Now this place is truly breathtaking, however, you do have to venture off of 441 for a bit to reach Cades Cove but it is an awesome spot. This motorway creates a loop that visitors can drive along and view historic buildings and sometimes wildlife. In the peak of tourist season though you can bet on a line of traffic because I am not the first person to write about Cades Cove, it is a very popular spot! Now on the weekends if you get there early enough there are no cars allowed on the road, just bikes, you can bring your own or rent one, but the rentals go fast.

There are many more things to be enjoyed and seen along the US-441 section of road, I have merely skimmed the surface and provided you with some ideas to get you going. We hope to see you soon in Western North Carolina and if you are looking for a cabin don’t forget about Yellow Rose Realty and their great options!

See ya soon,

The Team at Yellow Rose Realty

Tubing at Deep Creek

Tubing at Deep Creek, fun things to do in the smokies, family fun in Bryson City, NC
Familly Fun at Deep Creek in Bryson City, NC

A favorite activity of locals on hot summer days, tubing at Deep Creek in Bryson City, NC is sure to be a highlight of your trip to the Smoky Mountains. Enjoying the splash of cool water as you float down a beautiful mountain stream is an experience you will never forget!

Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your tubing adventure.

♦ Wear quick-dry synthetic clothing. Avoid wearing cotton, especially with young children. When cotton gets wet, it leaches body heat. Cold kids tend to complain and complaining usually puts a damper on the fun.

♦ Wear supportive footwear such as water shoes or an old pair of sneakers. Avoid flip-flops. They are likely to get lost in the water and are not particularly comfortable to walk in on uneven terrain.

Rent a tube from one of the vendors along the road leading into the park. They will help you load them onto your vehicle. Beware! The tubes are light so they easily blow off the top of your car even when tied down. You will likely pass at least one person pulled over attempting to rescue their tubes from the side of the road. Don’t let this happen to you! Drive slowly on your way into the park.

♦ When you enter the park, follow the road until it dead-ends at the main parking area. Unload the tubes and walk up the pathway until you reach the point you wish to enter the water. There are several entry points, the furthest being about ¾ mile from the trail head.

♦ We recommend that kids under 75 pounds put in at the bridge about half a mile up the trail for their first few runs. There is a rapid a bit further upstream that can flip over the smaller tubes. Suddenly finding yourself completely submerged in cold water can be a bit of a shock and may lead to crying. Crying is no fun for anyone. To avoid this, let kids build their confidence with a few shorter runs before going all the way to the top.

Little kids 30 pounds and under should wear a PFD, which can be rented along with your tubes. Though they may insist they want their own tube, this is not the best idea. Chances are, you will end up carrying the tube (and them) on the way back up and if they take a swim, there is likely to be quite a bit of the aforementioned crying. Have them ride with you. Trust us on this!

Tubing is a fun activity for people of all ages and is a great way to enjoy the beauty of the Smoky Mountains. The best part is that Deep Creek is located just a few miles away from your Bryson City or Cherokee vacation cabin rental!  Have a great time!