There are several benefits to getting up early in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. For Ashley and I, the two biggest are beating the crowds and having the pure morning sun hit the mountains and foliage. The first light really makes everything pop.
Once again, we got up before the sign rose and headed into the mountains, this time the Roaring Fork Motor Trail. We drove around it on our last day in the Smokies two years ago but never got to hike to any of the falls. This year we made it a priority and our first trail was to Rainbow Falls.
In the summer, the falls has an 80 foot straight drop and can form a rainbow. This time of year, it has significantly less water and no rainbow. Fortunately, the hike was gorgeous.
There were massive old growth trees jutting through the forest barriers. Several had come down, we while we were talking some photos of on, Ashley spotted several deer walking right past us!
After the hike, we continued on the remaining portion of the motor trail. People were flowing into the park heavily now and we both needed a nap. After some nice pictures and scenic overlooks we headed out of the mountains to get some rest and eat lunch.
That evening, as the sun was waning, we went to a favorite spot of ours, The Sinks. It is not so much a falls as just a spot of rushing water. It is a relaxing and generally low population area that is accompanied by a beautiful drive.