We had a full day to explore the area before checking into our hotel in Cherokee and the start of Shark Week VII. We plotted a route north on NC 209, west to Gatlinburg, and south to Clingmans Dome and Cherokee.
The section of NC 209 south of Hot Springs is called, “The Rattler.” As the picture above indicates, the road has 290 curves in 24 miles. The route is technical, but so much more fun than “The Dragon.”
We encountered stop-and-go traffic in Gatlinburg. That town is just an over-rated tourist trap.
Once we got into Smoky Mountain National Park we had smooth sailing to Clingmans Dome. There were a number of youth groups enjoying the climbing rocks.
The path to the tower at the top of the mountain is very steep. There’s a warning sign that states the path is NOT an ADA trail.
This photo shows why the area is called The Smoky Mountains. The haze covers the mountains in all directions.
We made it up to the tower without too much difficulty and took the obligatory photos to mark the occasion.
From the Dome we went down to Cherokee and stopped at Paul’s restaurant to order take out.
While there we ran into the first group of friends attending Shark Week.. (Beth, Gordon, Chris, Kim, Erik, Drew.)
And an interesting log…
Tomorrow we plan to ride The Cherohala Skyway and The Dragon.