Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Parson Branch Road in the Smokies--Part I

Where do you go to see a beautiful waterfall like this one above?????  This is Triple Falls on Parson Branch.




Or---to see the Mountain Laurels blooming all through the mountains????




OR----to see a gorgeous little creek like this one????  (This one is Forge Creek. Doesn't this just make you want to stick your toes in there??)




WELL----you go halfway through Cades Cove (in the Smokies) --and turn near the visitor center, onto Forge Creek Road.   Stay on this 2-way gravel road for a short distance and then turn right onto a rough and rugged 8 mile one-way gravel road (see picture above)--which eventually comes out on Highway 129 (at the Tail of the Dragon).

To see a Smokies map (showing Parson Branch Road) click HERE.  Look at the west side of the Smokies (on left) --and find Cades Cove.  Just follow my directions and you'll see Parson Branch Road.

George and I had never gone on Parson Branch Road before ---so this was a new experience for us (which we had on Monday,  May 23, 2011).  To say that we didn't know what we were getting into is a true statement... There was mud and potholes and sludge everywhere..  The rangers had put down more gravel in spots---but  even that didn't stop us from skidding in at least one spot.  NEAL would love this road ---but GINNY and SANDRA  would NOT--and would be "BWAKKING" the entire time!!!!! ha ha






The one-way road is only 8 miles---but it takes about an hour to drive it.  We also stopped all along the way since it was so gorgeous WAY back in the mountains.  The road goes up and down --over mountains,  coves and hollows.  This area was home at one time to several mountaineer farmers--- but is now part of the Great Smoky Mountains.  There are lots of great hiking trails all around this area.




For waterfall lovers like us,  this is a wonderful road to take.  There were creeks following along, going back and forth from one side of the road to the next, all along the way ---which made for some very interesting water crossings for us.   We had no trouble crossing all of these creeks ---but they say that, after a big storm,  there's no way to get over some of them.  Above is another picture of the road ---showing one of the water crossings at the bottom of the hill.   See it????

I have another set of pictures to share sometime.  We saw FOUR new waterfalls on this trip!!!!! Yeah!!!!   My advice:  don't go on this road unless you have a Prius and George as your driver!!!!!! ha ha... (We LOVED it!!!)

Have a wonderful June 1st.  It's hotter than hades here now....  What's up with that?  GADS!
Hugs,

53 comments:

eileeninmd said...

Hello Betsy! Your photos are just beautiful and it looks like a great place for hiking. I am glad the water was not high and the road was passable. Thanks for sharing these lovely scenes.

Mildred said...

Good Morning Betsy, Beautiful scenery in these pictures. I'm glad George and Mrs. P did not have any trouble on these back roads because I sure am enjoying the tour. Try to stay cool today!

Twilight said...

The scenery is excellent for picnic and a nice swim in summer! It has been my favorite to dip in waterfalls when I was a kid. Now I get goose bumps to see the rapids and wonder where have my brave guts gone to now that I am older! Ha ha

Valerie said...

Looks like another great trip! 4 new waterfalls?? How neat! I love the greens and browns in your shots. Reminds me of our summer in Allegany NY. Being in the quiet woods - listening to water flow, although our water wasn't blocking the roads!!

We were up in the 80's yesterday - muggy as all get out - just so terribly uncomfortable in school - Sticky and yucky - the kids are little troopers though!

Well we are winding down - the rest of this week, 2 full weeks and then 2 1/2 days of students left. Then my middle son graduates from high school! Oh boy! Can't believe how fast the time goes!

Wish I could take all my kids and find a spot like Cades Cove to just hide away and stop time for a bit. It is just flying!!

*Honest Abe said...

We have Shawnee State Forest in southern Ohio that this trip reminded me of. Very nice photos.

Rita said...

Betsy, I love, love, love these pictures! Is this in Tennessee?
Somehow these pictures wowed me more than some of your most beautiful pictures. Maybe we can take a trip this summer and enjoy some of these.
Best to you and your hubby.

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

The new Day Lily header is gorgeous.now for that road.This looks like a place that would be fabulous to explore.We used to find those back roads,which most people avoided,but Jake and I loved exploring them.It is in places like these that the most beautiful scenery is found,as your pictures show.Have a wonderful day.

Corker2 said...

The Great Smokies were a great place to see when we were there. I've always enjoyed the area. There is so much to see and enjoy, despite all the commercial crap that is around. Just to get out there and enjoy Nature at it's best is always a pleasure. Even while visiting the area, I saw Waterfalls that we right alongside the roads. Did not have the Camera that I do now, and all the pictures that were taken are all gone. Should have saved them.

Another thing that we enjoyed is the little Country Stores that you find in the area. There are a few that we were in. So much stuff to buy with a Country Theme to it. One thing that we did bring home was one of those "Country Hams". That is good Ham to eat!

Dar said...

There is a place in MI called Tequamegon Falls that you would absolutely drool over. I love going down unknown paths. We need to be closer in distance with all the wonder still at our feet. Loved this, Betsy and George. George, you can escort me anytime about the untraveled places. Of course, Ms. Betsy has to escort too.
BlessYourHearts

Janice K said...

It looks like the "perfect adventure." So serene!

Sandra said...

actually I love the road, only roads with steep drops off would have me bwaking and clucking like chicken little. it is beautiful and the creek looks very much like Hillsbourgh State park here in Tampa. looks like a beautiful spot to me, as long as there were no cliffs to fall off of like your favorite cabin in Arkansas

Sandra said...

forgot to say I LOVE THE HEADER.. fantastic

texwisgirl said...

that area is just gorgeous!!! love such great wooded hills and streams!

Out on the prairie said...

What a lovely path to take. Nice pics!

Pat - Arkansas said...

Ooooh! Love your new header! (I would, of course.)

That's a lovely, lovely area. Great photos!

Cheryl @ The Farmer's Daughter said...

Hi Betsy, What a wonderful day trip you and George took! Beautiful photos of the waterfall. And the creek kind of reminds me of the little creek that ran on the north side of our little acres when Hubby and I lived in the country. I spent a lot of time with the kids trampling thru the woods and along the creek. Fun! That one way road looks like a challenge if you should meet another car, tho. And so remote that I'd be afraid no one would find me if I ran into trouble! ~Cheryl, who may be turning into a chicken in her older age.

reanaclaire said...

Looks like a long walk to the waterfall.. but it is worth the walk..

Linda said...

Parson Branch Road IS pretty, but it's not for the faint of heart. The best trail to Gregory Bald, to see the flaming azaleas, starts from Parson Branch Road, about five miles into the trip. The azaleas generally hit their peak around mid-June, and it's an awesome sight. The summer heat makes the hike a hard one, though. Thanks for sharing these beautiful pictures. It allows me to enjoy the trip without worrying about my poor vehicle. :)

KathyA said...

Such a pristine area. And so beautiful!

Lady Di Tn said...

Love the new header. These pictures remind me of the road well traveled in my native Smith County. Therefore, I would love this trip down the road and across the creeks. When I read about wetting your feet, I had to LOL as this was my first thought when I saw the creek. As a child we lived near a creek and it aways was beaconing us children to come wade and play within its cool waters. Peace

Karin said...

Love your lily header! Gorgeous! Thanks so much for taking me along on the virtual tour. George and Mrs. P. make a great traveling team. I'd be bwakking too on those windy back roads! Have a good week!

Happyone : ) said...

Beautiful photos. I can picture myself walking those 8 miles. : )

wildlifewatcher said...

Hi Betsy, Yes, it is hot and humid here, I agree! I love your pictures of the landscapes and those rustic country roads. Sooner or later, I will be camping in the Smokies! Have a great day!

Ginny said...

Your header is beyond gorgeous, a wonderful shock to my senses!!! And your comment to me made me today laugh out loud!! That creek is real pretty, I will say, and I would like to stick my toes in! Have you or George ever stuck your toes in any of the creeks you have found? This one looks way to hard to get your feet to!

Velvet Over Steel said...

Wow... your beautiful pictures really 'pop' like 3D. It's like you took us with you on those roads!! So wish... ;-) Glad you have such wonderful trips with your love, and glad you share them with US, Betsy!!!

Big Dude said...

That's a nice little drive, but it's been years since We've done it.

Thoughtfully Blended Hearts said...

Drives in the Smokies always make you think its "cool"...wish it was cool...my thermometer says 96 right now...Have a beautiful day...

mudderbear said...

Oh, it's funny that you end your post with "It's hotter than hades here now" after taking us through those beautiful, cool? mountains. haha. When my hubby and I were living in NW Arkansas it was so wonderful to take drives through the mountains. I really miss the country back there. Thank you so much for the cyber trip. ^.^)

Kim @ Stuff could... said...

These roads are the kind that I grew up with, back as a child in the mountains of Georgia. They were breathtakingly beautiful but they had danger also. They were gravel roads that would scare me today...but as a child? No Fear

Diane AZ said...

I would love to go for a drive on that road, the trees are so gorgeous.

I like how your picture of blooming Mountain Laurels resembles a waterfall.

Shelley said...

I felt like I was on this gorgeous walk with you! i would've stopped to play in the creek a little bit...ha,ha! I'm going to scroll down and check out your other posts I've missed.
Hugs,
Shelley

Shelley said...

I felt like I was on this gorgeous walk with you! i would've stopped to play in the creek a little bit...ha,ha! I'm going to scroll down and check out your other posts I've missed.
Hugs,
Shelley

imac said...

What a wonderful place to visit, hope you show more-.

Ann said...

Gorgeous scenery. Your photos make me want to step into the screen and go exploring.

Retired English Teacher said...

This area of the country must just make you go, "oooh, and aaah" all over the place. I've always wondered what the Smokey Mountains were like. Now, I really want to go there.

Daisy said...

Now those are what I call back roads, Betsy! Sounds like you had a wonderful time. I love the creek picture, and yes, I'd like to wade around in there. :)

Fred Alton said...

I thoroughly enjoy reading about your and George's adventures in the mountains. Great pictures too!

Arkansas Patti said...

Aren't you two adventurous? Think I would have wanted a 4 wheel drive just to be sure but it was worth the effort.

Shug said...

Hi Betsy...

What a gorgeous header....The colors just brightened my evening...


I can tell that you two have loads of fun when you travel....It's these kind of things that make wonderful memories...
Thanks for sharing with us...
Hugs,
shug

Diane said...

Looks like a wonderful place Betsy. Gorgeous flowers, too. Diane

Busy Bee Suz said...

It is past the Hades hot here. :)
So glad you made it through those rough roads Betsy. (I mean Mrs. P)
lovely scenery abounds.
xoxoxo

Chatty Crone said...

Hello Betsy! Your photos are just beautiful! What a great place for hiking.Thanks for sharing these lovely scenes - I have been to Cades Cove before, but never on this side road. Such a beautiful area there and I would love to stick my toes in the water!

Peggy said...

After looking at those photos I don't feel the heat and humidity so much. LOL What a beautiful place.

carolina nana said...

Ohhh!!!! How I would love to be wading in one of those creeks right now. It was 96 again today at our house,whew !!
At least looking at your photos gave me a mental break from the heat.
Have a blessed tomorrow
Marilyn

Loren said...

What great pics Betsy! I can just hear your JOY and EXCITEMENT in your post :) I would LOVE to go there and YES, it is sooo stinkin hot here in OK too! We were in the mid 90's today and that is NOT NORMAL for this time of year just yet! May late July or Aug but NOT JUne1st!! WOW!

I would love to go with George and Mrs. P and of course YOU!!! Just makes me smile thinkin about it!!

Lynn said...

Hi Betsy, I came over from Ginny's blog because I love backroads, the Smokies, photography and waterfalls among many other things I love, lol. Your photos are amazing. Per Yahoo driving, you are a little less than 2 hours N of Chattonooga. We are way South on the Gulf Coast of FL, Tampa Bay but on the Pennisula, Pinellas County. I would so love to see this area in the Fall. My hubby is having full knee replacement early July, so any trips are on hold at least until Fall. Your blog is beautiful! I am your newest follower. Blessings.

Carletta said...

I would LOVE this road!
There is a one way road near Gatlinburg that hubby and I have taken on a couple of occasions but I didn't know of this one. I'm putting it on my list. :)

SquirrelQueen said...

I do miss the Mountain Laurel. Looks like you and George had fun exploring the new road and all it's sights.

I don't remember the name but my dad would never pass up a dirt road in that area. As much time as we spent in and around Cades Cove I sure I've been on this road.

The best adventures are down those old gravel roads.

Rose said...

That had to have been a beautiful drive...it was hotter than hades here yesterday but cool this morn.

Tricia said...

I've read & seen so much of Cades Cove on your blog that I almost feel like I've been there... I love taking long country drives like that, mud or not, just to see what I can find!!! =) Truly beautiful country, Betsy!!! =)

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Your photos of this beautiful area look so quiet and cool. I'd love to stroll here on a hot summer's day!

Neal said...

Wow. those are gorgeous. I love going up roads like that.

Janie said...

What beautiful scenes, Betsy. I love roads where the tree branches arch overhead. The waterfall, stream, and forest are simply grand.