This stream was photographed recently while hiking on Mount LeConte along the trail to Rainbow Falls, located near Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Many different prints are available featuring this scenery – perfect for both the home and/or office!
Located in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee near Gatlinburg, the trail to Rainbow Falls (80 feet) ascends the northern slopes of Mount LeConte (6,593 feet). Despite being rated as a difficult hike, the 2.75 mile trail to the falls is heavily trafficked with a constant incline over sometimes rugged terrain. With many switchbacks, it has an elevation gain of 1,653 feet and is one of six separate routes up the mountain. During warm weather, hikers should consider arriving early to secure a parking space, as the lot fills quickly.
If hiking during winter months, come prepared with proper clothing – the falls are above the frost line and temperatures can be quite cold. Here’s a photograph from my hike in March, 2019:
Fortunately, the weather was wonderful during my recent visit, as evident in the following scenes…
Interested in a print for your home or office? If so, then visit my shop at Pixels to select from a variety of available print types, including: framed, canvas, art, metal, acrylic and wood. Other items, also.
Driving along route US-441 S from Gatlinburg, Tennessee, there are several parking areas which provide scenic views of the pinnacles.
One such location has an information-placard posted, which reads:
The Cherokees called the mountain Duniskwalguni, meaning ‘forked antlers’.
The half-billion-year-old Chimney Tops, made of slates, schists, and phyllites, sit atop even older rock – Thunderhead sandstone, a tough, erosion resistant rock. The chimney rock (Anakeesta Formation) is softer than the sandstone, allowing rain, hail, and ice – over hundreds of millions of years – to fashion its chimney-shaped likeness.
The rugged Chimney Tops pierce the forest that cloaks most of the Great Smoky Mountain ridges. The bare rock offers scant soil for plants. Only shallow-rooted shrubs and trees like rhododendron, mountain laurel, red spruce, and eastern hemlock thrive here.
One of the most popular hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Chimney Tops trail gains 1400 feet over 2 miles – a steep climb! So, wear sturdy shoes and bring plenty of water.
With only one seating area along the trail, I would recommend that hikers carry a walking-stick or trekking-poles, either of which makes resting easier by supporting ones’ weight, when necessary.
The trail crosses rushing streams on three occasions, prior to ascending the side of the mountain. Though principally hard-packed dirt with light gravel, both stone & wooden steps located periodically along the trail serve to facilitate an easier hiking-experience.
On my visit, I arrived early and was the third car parked and the second hiker to reach the top. Pictured below is a wood & dirt structure where visitors may rest and enjoy a wonderful view of the Smokies.
The best place to see the Chimney Tops, however, is located to the left, another 50 feet along the trail. Here, looking towards the northwest, the bright morning sun highlighted the front-face of the pinnacles for stunning views! For hikers continuing beyond this point, be careful – a narrow trail, fallen trees, slippery rocks and substantial height along this steep mountain entails cautious deliberation.
At 18-seconds, you’ll see a circular gap within the trees along the ridge (right side); this is the observation area – see black and white photograph, above.
Several of these photographs are available in my galleries at Pixels and/or Fine Art America, and more will be added in the days ahead – so, stop by for a visit! Enjoy selecting your choice of framed, canvas, art, metal, acrylic and/or wood prints. Tapestries & other items, too.
For a better sense of height from the pinnacles, here are two photographs highlighting the scenic view parking areas (see photograph at beginning), the later with zoom magnification:
I recently hiked to Ramsey Cascades, located in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, not far from Gatlinburg. It was a pleasant day, and I met several interesting people along the trail.
Note: the roads to the trailhead – both Greenbier Road and, especially, Ramsey Prong Road – are in poor condition. Visitors should drive very slowly along these four miles, weaving to avoid deep potholes in the gravel roadway. If you, the reader, work for the Great Smoky Mountains Nation Park system, then please – FIX THE ROADS! Thank you.
The four mile trail to Ramsey Cascades is strenuous, rated as difficult. Hikers will encounter a nearly 2200′ increase in elevation en route to the 100′ waterfall – the tallest in the park! – while enjoying sounds of running water, as the trail follows rushing rivers and streams for much of its length. And, it’s easy to appreciate a continuous canopy of trees to keep cool on a hot, sunny day.
You’ll see a few signs along the way –
And, cross a few bridges –
You’ll also pass through the largest old-growth forest in the Smokies, with some trees topping 150′ –
Footnote: I had the pleasure of interacting on several occasions with three nice women throughout the course of my hike, who shared an interesting story. While resting at the large tree (see above), they joined and informed me that they had observed two copperhead rattle snakes – I saw their iPhone pictures! – in the middle of the trail. What does this mean? Apparently, because I was only a short distance further along the trail, I must have walked right by the snakes without even noticing them. D’oh!
Speaking of the trail, you’d better wear good shoes –
Photographs of Ramsey Cascades
Guests may visit my shop to select from a variety of print types – framed, canvas, art, metal, wood and acrylic. Several customization options are also available to make it your own!
This frost-covered mountain was photographed during a recent hike to Rainbow Falls on Mount Le Conte, in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
Despite it being Spring, and with Knoxville (1.5 hours away) temperatures forecast in the mid-50’s, higher elevations in the mountains remained freezing. My advice to hikers during this time of year is to pack extra clothes…and bring a pair of gloves!
At the 2.7 mile marker, this short video features the 80′ waterfalls –