We had a very ambitious plan today! First we would stop at Newfound Gap to see the sunrise, then we would head out of the park to North Carolina to see one of the tallest waterfalls in the area. After that we stopped at a farm museum and working mill, then off to Clingman's Dome, did a short hike to Grotto Falls, then finished the day with a beautiful scenic drive on the Roaring Fork Motor Trail. It was a long, but wonderful day for we managed to scratch off almost everything from our "must see" list. Of course, I can't cover it all in one post, so Day Five will be broken into six parts.
Wednesday, June 16, 2021
Our Smokey Mountains Vacation - Day Five, Part One: Newfound Gap and Mingo Falls
This post is part of a travel series of our vacation in the Smokey Mountains. To start at the beginning, go HERE! The rest of the posts in chronological order are HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE!
Day Five was our very last day in the Smokies and we knew that if we were going to be able to scratch ALMOST EVERYTHING off our "must see" list, we had to do it all today! As always, we awoke before dawn and headed out to find one of the tallest waterfalls in the Appalachian Mountains. One the way there, we pulled over to enjoy some of the amazing scenic views.
The best part of waking up so early is getting to see the sunrise over the Smokey Mountains.
The Smokey Mountains is called "The Land of Blue Smoke" because of the "smoke-like, natural blue haze, and mist-like clouds that rise following a rainstorm". The Cherokee gave this beautiful land its name (source).
I really love scenic roads where they have pull overs where you can pull off to the side of the road and enjoy the view. Of course we never get anywhere too fast, because we always have to stop at every single one! They are all so gorgeous and the next one always seem to be better than the previous one.
It was a one hour and thirteen minute drive from our hotel, through the Smokey's and to Mingo Falls, but it was one of the most beautiful hour long drives I've ever taken in my life.
At 5,046 feet, NewFound Gap is the lowest drivable pass through the Smokey Mountain National Park. A "gap" is a low point in a mountain ridge. NewFound Gap is also the boundary line between Tennessee and North Carolina.
Newfound Gap has a HUGE parking lot so you can get out, walk around, take plenty of pictures, and just SOAK IN THE VIEWS!
After viewing Newfound Gap, we were back in the car and headed out of the Smokey National Park in search of the tallest waterfall in the area: Mingo Falls. They do not make this waterfall that easy to find, thank goodness for GPS. It is located in the Big Cove community just north of Cherokee. There is a cute shopping area called "Saunooke Village" only five miles from the falls, but we were there so early, nothing was open yet.
This is a super short, but steep trail, only 100 yards. First, you have to hike up a lot of stairs.
After the stairs, there is a very rugged, rocky path.
But then you are suddenly treated to this beautiful 120 foot waterfall. Isn't she a beauty?
Of course we both had to have our pictures taken with this beauty behind us.
And finally, be sure to watch the video below where I set my eyes on this gorgeous waterfall for the first time. It was such an exhilarating experience!
I will be back next week with our visit to the Mountain Farm Museum.
Have A Great Day! Amy
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