This years Great Smoky Mountains Workshop was on May 20th thru 23rd. During the 3 day workshop we logged quite a few miles and visited locations in two states within The Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
If you are not familiar with it, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a 816 square mile park situated partially in Tennessee, and North Carolina. The park was chartered by the United States Congress in 1934 and officially dedicated by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1940. It is home to some of the most beautiful locations around with streams running through most of the park, pristine landscapes, and vista points with views that encompass 3 states.
Here is the area (in red) we covered during our three day trek.
Day One 05/20/16 Catract Falls & River Road
We started out the first day at Cataract Falls. Cataract Falls is one of the most over looked falls in Great Smoky Mountains National Park because of its close proximity toe the Sugarlands Visitor Center. It is an easy hike, and was a great way to start our 3 day shoot.
Here’s the whole group, day one
From here we followed the winding roads of Little River Road, and Laurel Creek Road. The word “winding” is an understatement when it comes to these roads. They follow the streams closely and make for an interesting drive. They do offer great shooting opportunities around every corner though.
Day two, Saturday 05/21/16 Cades Cove.
Cades Cove is the most popular destination in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and has several million visitors a year. This because of its scenic mountain views, wildlife, and remnants of old settlers homes and Churches. It is located in an isolated valley in the Tennessee section of the park. The eleven mile loop offers some of the best scenic photography opportunities.
Our second day was slightly marred by fast moving rain showers, but it barely slowed down the group, and didn’t lessen the enthusiasm.
Even though the Cades Cove loop is only eleven miles long, we did not get all the way through that day.
Day Three, Sunday 05/22/16 Newfound Gap, Mingus Mill, & Klingsmans Dome
The third day started at Newfound Gap, which is an altitude of 5,049 feet above sea level, just under a mile high. Newfound Gap is the lowest pass thru the Great Smoky mountains, and was established in 1872 by Swiss geographer Arnold Henry Guyot. It is a beautiful spot to stop offering a stunning view for miles. The temperature decided to take a little dip that morning, and it felt more like Winter than late Spring.
Here is the group, . . . wrapped up.
Everyone made it to the last day.
After Newfound gap, we worked our way down Newfound Gap Road, stopping as often as possible to enjoy and photograph the many great locations. After stopping at the Mingus Grist mill, we backtracked and drove to the top, to Clingsman Dome. The schedule had us originally going to Clingsman Dome in the Morning, but the low hanging clouds had other ideas. Even though we waited until the afternoon, the temperature was only 35 degrees and there were windy conditions. It-Was-Cold, in other words.