3/22/2008

We ate breakfast at the hotel and headed out for the Ramsey Cascades Trail.  Getting there involves going east out of Gatlinburg to the Greenbrier entrance to GSMNP.  Along the way, we stopped at a market for lunch supplies.

We arrived at the trailhead and began the hike around 11:30.   The trail begins by crossing the Little Pigeon Creek and uses an old jeep trail for the first 1.5 miles.  It follows the Little Pigeon along the way.

After the jeep trail, it becomes a very rocky trail with lots of roots.  After crossing the creek again on a foot bridge, the trail goes through a large section of old growth forest.  At one point, the trail shoots between two very large yellow poplars.  Then there is an even larger one just past those two.  It is supposed to be one of the six largest trees in the park.

The trail crosses the Ramsey Prong on another foot bridge.  Past that it is very rocky.  It involves a little scrampling in places.

After 4 miles of trail and about 2100 feet of climbing, the trail arrives at Ramsey Cascades.  Because of the recent rain and snow, the cascades have an unusually large output.  They are probably at their peak for the year.  The cascades fall about 95 feet, flow along a short spillway, and fall again through shorter cascades.

We ate a late lunch on a huge rock at the end of the trail by the cascades.  There were about 15 people there when we arrived.   The crowd thinned soon, and we were able to take photos of the cascades.

As we left, we noticed a way to get to some rocks below the cascades.  So we went out to those rocks from the trail and took some more pictures.

We returned to the van around 5:30.  On the way back to the hotel, we took the Roaring Fork auto tour in GSMNP.  We just drove around the loop and stopped only a few times for views.  Then we returned to the hotel.

From there, we walked along the main drag in Gatlinburg.  We ate supper at Crawdaddy’s.  Then we walked around some more stopping in an occasional shop.

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