Day 3 was fully dedicated to visiting Great Smoky Mountain National Park. A made a quick stop at Oconaluftee Visitor Center to pick up Ethan’s Junior Ranger booklet and then toured an old Appalachian farmstead.
We then headed to one of the park’s main attractions Clingman’s Dome. This was probably a mistake considering it was the height of the holiday weekend and everyone had the same idea. We spent an hour in traffic just waiting for a parking spot at the trailhead. However, the views were worth it!
Unfortunately, we decided to skip Cades Cove since we expected to run into the same long lines and waits. Instead we helped Ethan finish his booklet and stopped by a Visitor’s Center for his swearing in ceremony.
We exited the park through Gatlinburg. If you have never visited this commercial tourism Mecca, it is quite a shock to come out of the beautiful woods directly into this busy downtown.
After an hour and half drive back to the cabin it was a full day and we were ready for dinner and bed!