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Smoky Mountains, other parts of Gatlinburg offer taste of nature for fall seasoncomment (0)

July 12, 2007

Gatlinburg, Tenn., has a variety of attractions, including a national park with mountain streams and scenic drives decorated with nature’s fall palette. You can also go fly-fishing, spend the night with sharks, shop and try indoor ice skating. Take time to visit Gatlinburg’s more than 400 specialty shops, boutiques and galleries.
Secrets of fly-fishing revealed

If you have ever dreamed of learning the art of fly-fishing, the streams in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park are an ideal place to learn. Rainbow trout, with their shimmering colors, are the grand prize for many fishermen. Gatlinburg and Sevier County have several angler shops that offer rental waders, boots and fishing gear and transportation.

Jeff Cagle, fly-fishing guide for the Smoky Mountain Angler, said, “If you present the fly the way that we teach you … with a tight line, a 90-degree drift and with a quick jerk, then you should be able to catch trout on your first outing.”

The secret to catching trout is often in the lure, he said. “For fishing in autumn, I recommend a lure resembling a grasshopper pattern. The Yellow Stimulator, Royal Wolf and Red Fly lures are great.”
He added that it is safer to go with a guide to navigate the waters of the national park. “We cannot make the fish bite, but we know where they are located.”

One of Cagle’s favorite spots is located near the community of Greenbrier on the Little Pigeon River, and another favorite spot is on the streams along the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail.
For more information about Cagle or the Smoky Mountain Angler, call 865-436-8746 or visit www.smokymountainangler.com.

For more information on fly-fishing and various regulations, visit www.gatlinburg.com.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Near Gatlinburg’s main thoroughfare, you can visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The park is America’s most-visited national park, boasting 9 million visitors in 2006. Make your first stop at a visitor’s center in the area.

At the Sugarland Visitors Center, you can view a film, select maps and enjoy the gift shop. Informative park rangers are there to help plan a quiet walk, scenic drive or challenging hike for viewing fall foliage. A good time to view wildlife is shortly after sunrise. Call ahead and the rangers will lead an easy, informative hike near the visitor’s center.

“The Smoky Mountains National Park was established in 1934 and tells the story of the people who once lived here,” said Ruth Miller, Gatlinburg historical tour guide.

Although the process of creating the park led to the displacement of the original inhabitants, the remnants of their communities remain today, Miller said. Some residents were given permission by the government to live out their lifetime there. The last of these residents, Lemon Ownby, died in 1984.

A must-see in the park is a drive to Cades Cove, where an 11-mile, one-way loop yields views of numerous restored 18th- and 19th-century structures, including a Missionary Baptist church and a Methodist church.
For leaf peeping, make a right turn in Gatlinburg at stoplight No. 8 and explore the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. Here, you will find the Noah “Bud” Ogle Place, which offers a self-guided trail. Or you can choose a guided tour of this and other trails in the park.

Roger Elder, an enrolled member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, will escort you and introduce you to plant life used for medicinal purposes. “My grandmother chose, when I was a child, to teach me the old ways of the Cherokee culture,” Elder said, noting she would give him a piece of a plant in the morning and let him spend the day touching it and smelling it, not telling him what it was until the evening. Elder is also known for his ability to coax black bears from highways and campsites.

For individual or group guide service, call Elder at 865-898-5006. For more information on the national park or to arrange a park ranger tour, call 865-436-1200 or visit www.nps.gov/grsm.

Sleep with the Sharks and other attractions
At Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, you can travel through the world’s longest underwater tunnel while 12-foot sharks swim overhead. Find out if sharks sleep by planning a group sleepover at the aquarium with the Sleep with the Sharks adventure. For information, call 1-888-240-1358 or visit www.ripleysaquariumofthesmokies.com.

You can also park downtown and ride one of America’s largest aerial tramways to Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort & Amusement Park. For shutterbugs, the 2.1-mile ascent offers an optimal vantage point for photographing fall foliage. Attractions at the park include indoor ice skating and the Municipal Black Bear Habitat. Call 865-436-5423 or visit www.obergatlinburg.com. For a complete listing of Gatlinburg attractions, call 1-800-568-4748 or visit www.gatlinburg.com.
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