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Reader Participation Day: What Lures You To Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Fall Colors Or Backcountry Trails?


Are fall colors the primary reason you head to Great Smoky, or are the park's 800+ miles of hiking trailsthe primary draw? NPS photo.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is renowned for its fall colors...and it's also famous for its hundreds and hundreds of miles of backcountry trails. Which do you base a Great Smoky trip around?

True, you can be diplomatic and say both -- that you plan your hiking excursions to coincide with fall colors. But for argument's sake, let's say it had to be either or, not both.

When you look at the calendar, do you schedule your trek to the Smokies for the colors, or is getting a good hike in, no matter the season, most important?


Backpacking, especially if I think I can find solitude - hard to do in that park, as I've had to share remote backcountry campsites in a winter snowstorm there.
Don't forget wildflower season too!

Like the park for it's beauty.  Just back from a Memorial Day weekend trip.

Hiking.  And spring wildflowers.  And the fall colors.  :)

We had some good luck mid-May in Cataloochee.  Both nights in the backcounty, we had entire campgrounds all to ourselves.  But I'm guessing this might have been due to a slight lull in backcountry visitation just after wildflower season?

Come out to the Smokies whenever you can. It's even beautiful inthe hazy summer.
I just led a group to Charlies Bunion yesterday, probably one of the most crowded trails in the Park. But the views were wonderful and the other folks fun to talk to.
I'm not as fond of fall hiking as everyone else is because fall means yellow jackets. But I'm still out there; I'm just more vigilant.
Danny Bernstein

The hiking trails are definitely what draw me to the Smokies. The fall colors are an added bonus.
Every time I make a trip to the Smoky Mountains, I base it on what trails I'm going to hike.
Thankfully, there are lots to choose from!

Ah yes, yellow jackets.  I hate them.  They are the only thing keeping fall from being perfect.  We do all our picnics and cookouts in the spring and early summer just to avoid being harrassed by them.

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