We dodged the raindrops to bring George up to Brook n Wood for the first time. The weekend looked like a wash out but we decided to risk it and in turn had a great time riding bikes, playing wiffle ball and just being outdoors and enjoying nature. Friday was totally rained out so we left on Saturday morning. We had a few storms move through but mainly had more dry weather than wet. We had dinner and bathed the kids before heading out Sunday night and I’d have to say that packing up in the rain on Sunday was the worst part of the trip. Check out some of our highlights in the video below and thanks for stopping by.
When searching for a family friendly hike in the Smokies who could resist a half mile paved trail to the highest peak in the national park?
What if I told you the hike was straight up? Well, at least it felt that way. Having a four year old in a hiking back pack whilst climbing didn’t help things either. About halfway in I was set to order a helicopter to pick me up at the summit to save me from my heart attack.
Clingmans Dome is the highest point in along the Appalachian Trail as well as the highest point in the Smokies ,as mentioned previously, at 6,643 feet. The parking lot can be found off Newfound Gap Road where it is a short but steep hike up to the Clingmans Dome Observation Center.
My advice would be twofold: Dress warm as the temperature at six thousand plus feet above sea level could be up to twenty degrees cooler than that at the bottom and secondly not to enter the national park with a quarter tank of gas. We were on point with only one of these, (psst, check out the pic above). Be sure to watch the video below to the end to check out two very non traditional RV’s that were courageously driven up the switchback roads to the parking area by international tourists bent on seeing the best of America.
After Clingmans Dome we headed back down range and stopped at The Chimneys Picnic Area for a quick dip in the West Prong Little Pigeon River before getting chased out by the rain.
Well, that’s it for The Great Smoky Mountain National Park as far as our content anyway. Please be sure to stay tuned as we introduce George to Brook n Wood in our next post. Thanks for stopping by.
We drove through the Smoky Mountains National Park from Gatlinburg to visit Cherokee, NC. The drive took a little over an hour through mountain switchbacks and turns but was scenic all throughout. The North Carolina side definitely looked a little greener to us but we mainly made the drive to Cherokee to visit the Museum of the Cherokee Indian. We were particularly interested, as Linda’s part Cherokee, in how they made their lives and later the plight of the Trail of Tears. I wish I could elaborate but the kids dragged us through the museum in about 20 minutes. Has to be a record time.
On our return to the park we found a great little playground in Cherokee and ate our picnic lunch in the pavilion while the kids played for over an hour here. It just goes to show you how the smallest, most unplanned things tend to leave lasting memories.
Stay tuned as we head back to Smoky Mountains National Park next as we search for another family friendly hike. Thanks for stopping by.
We chose the Imagination Mountain Campground when visiting The Smokies from listening to campground reviews. The reviews were based on when it used to be The Great Smoky Jellystone but nevertheless it is run by the same family and, by our opinion, has not suffered a bit from the changeover. We thought the campground was just terrific. It’s a small campground as most of them are in the area, but that only added to it’s charm.
Imagination Mountain is a little over a half hour drive to the Gatlinburg area and is in Cosby, Tennessee. A great staging area for exploring Smoky Mountains National Park.
There is a stream that encircles the campground and most of the sites back up to that stream. Our kids spent countless hours playing in the frigid mountain water. The pool was in fact closed as we went prior to Memorial Day, but the kids didn’t seem to miss it a bit.
There’s a great little store with an ice cream parlor built into it and a great little arcade above which we played in one morning on a rainy day. They had these great foam blocks up there which we built a fort from as well as billiards, air hockey and even a great little kids library complete with rocking chair.
Linda said they had the nicest and cleanest campground bathrooms she’s ever seen and I believe she liked the laundry facility as well. They also had outside corn hole games, free miniature golf and a large chess set behind the main building next to the pavilion.
We had mass in the pavilion as we were there over Easter Break. We talked about family and camping and God. David Landry, one of the owners performed the mass and played a Christian rock tune followed by a brief prayer for safety of travelers. Probably the shortest mass we’ve been to but the message was still there: family. You can see our deacon on the video at the bottom of the page. He, as well as all the staff, were very courteous and put the children first.
The mass was followed by an Easter Egg Hunt in the well appointed playground. Our kids spent many hours in that playground pretending to be pirates and swinging on the tire swing.
If there’s one thing that the campground is lacking, it’s paved roads. We brought all our bicycles but didn’t use them as the large gravel roads weren’t friendly to bikes, especially ones with training wheels. That’s the only thing that we would improve, however there were so many other things to do.
Imagination Mountain Camping Resort adjoins Smoky Mountains National Park and there are even a couple of trails that can be directly accessed from the property. If we come back to the Gatlinburg area I can’t see us staying anywhere else.
Stay tuned as we take you to Cherokee, NC next. Thanks for stopping by.
Gatlinburg is situated at the foot of Smoky Mountains National Park and welcomes about 80,000 visitors annually. Though quite touristy, we had fun looking at the usual Ripley’s attractions and shops.
We ate at Bennet’s BBQ after seeing all the sights and negotiating the shops with the kids,(nothing broken, thank goodness) and made our way back to the Campground. We would travel through Gatlinburg many times on our way to Smoky Mountains National Park.
Stay tuned as we’ll tell you all about the great campground we stayed at while we were here in The Smokies. Thanks for stopping by.