Exploring a National Park by driving and hiking through it is the most common, riding a horse was something different for us and what better place to do that than Great Smoky Mountains National Park? There are a couple of horse stables in this park. The one we chose was Cades Cove Riding Stables because that was the one closest to where we wanted to explore that day.
Our ride lasted for about an 45 minutes through beautiful forests of the Smoky Mountains so it was long enough to enjoy it but not too long where those of us not use to horses would get sore. The day began cloud covered with the threat of rain but we managed to stay dry and see peaks of sun as the ride continued making for a great summer morning while taking in these surroundings. Several of the Rhododendrons were just beginning to bloom along the trail providing for an even prettier landscape to ride through.
The trail leader was very knowledgeable about the horses and trails and took care of any potential issues with the horses quickly. Some horses just don’t perform as well next to certain other horses so sometimes it’s best to keep them separated in a group. Once in awhile a horse wants to go at a different pace than the rest of the group and needs to be put back in their spot to follow the group for the best and safest ride for all. If your in Great Smoky Mountain National Park and are interested in spending time on horses, I definitely recommend Cades Cove Stables. And NO, I was not compensated to say that.
On our last morning exploring Great Smoky Mountain National Park we decided to find one last waterfall or two that are listed as waterfalls that you can drive to on our Waterfalls pamphlet we purchased the day before at the Cades Cove Visitor Center. This is a stop on the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail which is basically a hiking trail for cars for those unable or unwilling to hike. There are several places to stop on this trail and hike if you desire otherwise there’s much to see from the comfort of your vehicle. I don’t recommend bringing a large RV through this area as the roads are one land with several tight corners.
There is a pull off on the right side of the road which you have to cross to see this tiny waterfall. At least it was a tiny waterfall while we were there. Looking at other peoples pictures of this place show much more water flowing during wetter times. In order to see the waterfall up close we had to scramble up a few steep rocks which is just the sort of challenge made for a younger person and so up we went. Once near the falls you could see many areas where water was dripping through the moss making its way eventually to a small stream in on to one of the many rivers in the park. It was easy to determine that we were there during a dry time as the moss which clings to the sides of rocks was beginning to dry down in the summer sun. During the wetter times this climb may be too dangerous to do because of the slippery rocks so a definite advantage of the lower water flow.