the campground at cades cove

Is It Safe to Camp in the Smoky Mountains? A Local Weighs In

The Smoky Mountains are generally considered to be safe, but that doesn’t mean they are without danger I’ve been around these mountains too long to fear them. After 30 years, a body tends to be comfortable with its surroundings. And so, when people ask if the mountains are safe, I say of course they are. But that doesn’t mean there

fireflies in the night sky

The Ethereal Smoky Mountain Event So Restricted Only Few Can Attend

Each year, thousands of would-be attendees compete for the chance to attend this limited-capacity, once-in-a-lifetime light show in the Smoky Mountains The hardest ticket to obtain in the Smokies isn’t to Dollywood’s new drone show. It’s not dinner theater on the strip. Certainly, it’s not the lumberjack competition. It’s a ticket to a light show that only happens for a

a clipping from the new york times overlaid on an image of a wild man by a campfire in the woods

Did the New York Times publish proof of Wildman in Tennessee in 1889?

Yes, the New York Times did print a story about a Wildman in Tennessee. But that’s where the truth begins and ends. I’ve spent a good part of my life in and around the mountains. I grew up on the edge of the Smokies. Although I was aware that various cultures had stories about Wildmen, I was an adult before

clingmans dome

Surprising Things You Should Know Before Hiking Clingmans Dome

What you should know before your hike to Clingmans Dome, from a local Since Clingmans Dome has a paved trail, many people think it’s an easy trail. But my opinion? Not so fast my friend. The tower and its looping path are tricky little minxes. Some people assume the trail to Clingmans Dome in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

the john oliver cabin next to an underground city in turkey

Is There an Underground City that Lies Beneath Cades Cove in the Smoky Mountains?

While there are plenty of hidden caves and caverns in the Smoky Mountains, none have thus far produced an underground city As someone who has lived on the edge of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, I’ve heard a lot of whoppers. They range from extinct animals living in the park to feral people to Bigfeet. And while I’m loathe

Gregory's Cave has been off limits now for several decades

3 Forbidden Places Where Visitors are Not Allowed in the Smoky Mountains

They may be fun to learn, but these forbidden places in the Smoky Mountains are off-limits for visitors I’ve been told over my 30 or so years living around the mountains of places I shouldn’t go. There are places that for a variety of reasons aren’t safe or aren’t welcoming. But in the Smokies, few places are forbidden or off limits.

gregory's cave

There’s an Abandoned Tourist Cave Hidden Beneath the Smoky Mountains

Take a look at this little-known hidden cave located in the Cades Cove area of the Smoky Mountains As someone who grew up in the region, I’ve been in caves that cut under the mountains on several occasions. Places like the Forbidden or Tuckaleechee caverns offer a safe place for visitors to see the wonders of the Smokies’ cave system.

buildings in cades cove

This is How the Cades Cove Got Its Name in the Smoky Mountains

It is believed that Cades Cove is named after a real-life historical figure I can remember taking an elementary school field trip to Cades Cove back in the late 1900s. I can’t say for sure that it was my first visit because my grandparents frequently took us on weekend getaways to the Smokies, and we spent a lot of time

the ramp to clingmans dome

I’ve Hiked Dozens of Trails in the Smoky Mountains, These 3 Are the Best

These are the 3 best hikes in the Smoky Mountains according to a local When I was a teenager in the Smokies, I didn’t need a trail to go hiking. My uncles would find a pull-off in the park, point to the nearest peak and we’d race up to the top, picking our way through the brush and trees. They

grotto falls in the smoky mountains

The Magical Walk Behind Waterfall You Have to See in the Smoky Mountains

There’s a waterfall in the Smoky Mountains you can walk behind and it looks like something straight out of a fairy tale Having lived in and around the Smoky Mountains for three decades, I understand there is beauty in the park just about anywhere you look. But I also understand some places transcend beauty. For instance, there are places infused