Great Smoky Mountains
The Great Smokies are one of the most visited parks in the country, despite the fact that the park is mostly accessible only by foot.
You can ride in your car or motorcycle from Cherokee over to Gatlinburg and see a great cross section of the park from all elevations, but to truly see the sights, park at one of the many trail heads and spend some time slowing down. The park will come alive with the sights and sounds of nature. Rushing creeks, the screech of a red tail hawk, the bugle of a bull elk. If you hike at the higher elevations check the weather and prepare for some cooler temperatures. Due to the elevation change, temperatures can vary as much as 20 degree from the park entrances to the mountain peaks.
A drive over to Cades Cove on the west side of the park is a great day trip. There are restored farm buildings, and grist mill, cabins and churches from before the park was established. Deer are often present in the vast and rolling fields. If you are luck, you might catch a black bear sighting.
Closer to Maggie Valley is the remote oasis of Cataloochee Valley. The Valley also has some historic buildings but is best know for the reintroduction of Elk. The herd can often be seen at sunrise and sunset from the gravel road that runs up the center of the valley.