However, there are corners of the Park where lots of people don't go. I may head out for those areas and steer clear of the sections where the crowds generally congregate.
When I was a kid, it was my favorite wild place to visit. Now, however, it's hardly wild by most standards. So many of the trails are packed with people. The forests are very sick--not as sick as the forests in Shenandoah National Park, but getting there. The boundaries of the Smokies are being squeezed inexorably by development, which is turning the Park into a kind of suburban curiosity rather than a wilderness.
Still...it's foremost in my mind as a destination, and I may head in that direction in July.
(All of the following photos were taken on a 2004 trip to the Park.)
|Mount LeConte. One of the highest summits in the Park, but also one of the most popular hiking destinations there. Even steep trails and long slogs can't seem to keep the humans away.|
|The Chimneys. A really great hiking destination. The last time I was there I began the climb just at dawn and had the summit to myself for about two and a half hours. When the crowds began to arrive, I fled.|