Scenic USA - Tennessee

Lower Grotto Falls

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Lower Grotto Falls - Roaring Fork Trail, Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Photos by Dan Kehlenbach
Dan's Great Smoky Mountain Gallery

     Straddling the border of Tennessee and North Carolina, the Great Smoky Mountain National Park is one of America’s most popular parklands. Established in the 1930s, the park takes in some of nature’s most beautiful scenic wonders, best known for its wildlife, historic homes and churches, and beautiful mountain scenery. South of Gatlinburg, Roaring Fork Motor Trail gives visitors a glimpse of this Smoky Mountain wonderland. Following Roaring Fork Valley, the narrow park road climbs toward Upper Grotto Falls - Roaring Fork Road, Gatlinburg, Tennessee Mount Le Conte where Roaring Fork begins. Dropping 2500 feet in a little more than two miles, you can imagine how the stream received its name. Heavy rains turn this creek into a torrent, and the sounds of Roaring Fork crash against the narrow sandstone canyon walls. The picturesque Lower Grotto Falls is found along this fast flowing stream.
     When the park was first created, many private homes, farm buildings, churches, and tub mills remained. The park service opted to retain some of these historic structures, and a few are preserved in the Roaring Fork Historic District. Once a small Appalachian Community, the Roaring Fork Trail offers a close-up look into late 19th Century life. The six mile loop over a tight winding paved road limits vehicle size and is closed in winter.

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