In the beginning of November, we took an extended weekend trip to our beloved place of Gatlingburg, Tennessee. We try to visit at least once a year as one of our traditions. We both haven't been to Gatlinburg when the leaves are showing off their beauty, so we took full advantage of this year. And boy we were not disappointed.
The first full day we were there, we drove up the mountain to take in the scenery. Despite the dreariness of the clouds and the patchy fog, the leaves were still very pretty. Pops of color were everywhere, and of course, we had to stop at Newfound Gap and go to the Tennessee/North Carolina border, followed by Roaring Fork
Once we were done venturing out in the mountains, we decided to go to The Christmas Place, which is where you go if you are a Christmas enthusiast and are okay with Christmas decorations and music before Thanksgiving (*raises hand*). Not only do they have pretty much any ornament you can think of, but they also have themed Christmas village scenes. I must admit that the Halloween-themed village was my favorite (not Christmas-y, I know). Afterwards, we drove to Gatlinburg and walked up and down the downtown strip.
The second full days we were there was our hiking day. We both love being outdoors and hiking is no exception. We decided we would hike the Chimney Tops Trail since we were unable to hike it when we were there two years ago due to the controversial Gatlinburg fires that took place. The sun was out, the sky was clear, and the temperature was super cold. We started our hike at about 39 degrees and we knew it would only get colder the further up we went. The cool thing about hiking is even though you may start out cold, you warm up fairly quickly the further you hike. Before we began our hike, we did some research to get an idea of what to expect along the trail. After reading about how many hikers don't complete the hike due to a sharp increase in altitude, we were a little nervous but determined to hike to the top.
After we hiked as far as we could on the Chimney Tops trail, we drove to Clingman's Dome. For as popular as that attraction is, you better expect to spend at least two hours there because traffic on that 2-lane road gets backed up well before you even get to the area. Just go ahead and expect to spend your entire afternoon there, actually. Once you spend an hour in bumper-to-bumper traffic and praying that you find a parking spot, you'll obviously want to make the half-mile uphill trek to where the actual attraction of Clingman's Dome is. After taking in the impression views by the parking lot, of course.
Finally, on our way home, we took a scenic way home - the Cherohala Skyway. Even though it added about 3-4 hours on our trip home, it was well worth it. A definitely must see if you're ever in the Gatlinburg area and not in a rush anywhere.