Fall in the Smokies Part 4 is my last full day in the Park.
I was still riding high from all the bear photos that I had taken the day before. I decided to head to Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail and do the Grotto Falls hike. Cool thing about this Falls is it is the only Falls in Great Smoky Mountains National Park that you can go behind. It is a very popular hike so like Alum Cave Bluff, if you want to find a parking space, it is best to get there early. Unfortunately Tim didn’t join me on this trip so I had to drive the Motor Trail. Part of the road wreaks havoc with my intense fear of heights. The parking lot was almost full when I arrived just before sunrise.
I remembered to bring water on this hike but yet again I forgot to grab my sunglasses. Thankfully this hike is not as steep or as long as the Alum Cave Bluffs hike. Grotto Falls is 2.6 miles round trip with an elevation gain of only 585 feet. You can continue up the path to Mount Le Conte but I just did the Grotto Falls Hike. I lucked out as I arrived at the Falls, three people were getting ready to leave and there wasn’t any one else around. I went over to the opposite side of the Falls and took quite a few photos and a time lapse with my cellphone.
I took a few photos almost underneath the Falls. As I was taking some photos back on the trail side, a couple of people arrived. Amazingly enough, I was alone for all of my close up photos of the Falls. It was awesome. I am so not a people person and its more work to take people out of the photos. This was so much better.
I took a few photos on the hike back to the car. Unfortunately the rivers were much lower than they were during my April visit. Heading back to the park through downtown Gatlinburg is always fun during the height of peak season. I made a quick stop at Sugarlands Visitor center to pick up a few souvenirs including a tee shirt so now I have a shirt from each of my trips.
Next stop was Cades Cove for lunch before heading to Tremont Road to try to hike to Indian Flat Falls. Traffic into Cades Cove was worse than Gatlinburg. I stopped off at the campground store where I had a hot dog and chips for lunch. I picked up a few more souvenirs and then was on my way to what turned out to be the last hike of my trip.
Like the other two days, I will continue the adventure in the next blog post.