Bill Watson

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  • Reviews

    We hiked this trail to return to our car at the Rainbow Falls parking area after a great hike and evening atop Mt. LeConte. The section between the Grotto Falls parking area and Grotto Falls was a zoo, even on a Monday. But once we got on the trail that parallels the one-way Roaring Fork Motor tour, it was pretty much just us. The falls were absolutely beautiful and the quieter section with some gentle ups and downs between the parking areas featured some deer and pileated woodpeckers! The Rainbow to LeConte to Trillium back to the Rainbow parking area is a great loop.

    scenic driving
    1 day ago

    Roaring Fork Auto Tour is a nice one-way drive starting just after the Rainbow Falls trailhead with pullouts to enjoy waterfalls, historic sites, views, rhododendron and other flowers and plants, and places to just chill and get back to nature. We saw evidence of the Gatlinburg fires and saw rejuvenation as well. We visited a roadside tub mill where they used to grind corn into meal, as well as a medium waterfall called the Place of the Thousand Drips. Saw a deer as well as some wild turkeys, and later on some pileated woodpeckers - three of them! Enjoy the ride and don't forget to stop and experience GSMNP.

    From LeConte Lodge, it is 0.7 mi. over the top of LeConte and to the sign at the Boulevard Trail - Myrtle Point junction, and another 0.2 miles from there to Myrtle Point. This is a great spot for sunrises or sunsets as Myrtle Point is a ridge with views from both sides. The LeConte AT shelter is between the top of LeConte and LeConte Lodge. We "just" missed the sunrise but enjoyed the early morning light at the top. Not to miss if you are in the vicinity.

    hiking
    7 days ago

    Last trail of the day, and with a thunderstorm approaching, we decided to take a quick hike up to the base of Hickory Nut Falls. The trail is pretty easy, a gradual climb to a viewing platform. The falls were rolling but not thundering and you can get a picture with the whole falls to the top if you stand on the flat rock to the left just before the platform. The view is much better from the platform at the top of the falls, but it appears the trail past Exclamation Point is closed for either repair or just for special groups now. This trail is short and the falls worth a visit.

    hiking
    7 days ago

    hiking
    9 days ago

    hiking
    10 days ago

    hiking
    10 days ago

    The morning started off with thick fog, but we saved the falls for the end of the hike. By the time we had added the Chestnut Knob, Horseridge, Possum, Shinny and HQ sections, the fog lifted enough to give us a great view of this impressive falls. The air is misty down through the ravine, and there is a cool cave right next to the falls. The highlight of South Mountains, High Shoals can get pretty crowded, but well worth a hike. If you want to get away from the crowds, do some of the other trails which take you to high knobs or across stream crossings. Enjoy!

    scenic driving
    16 days ago

    We entered the park from the Lake Mead side and drove through the Valley of Fire. Really cool rock formations - deep red and white strata, with some interesting short hikes and a couple of side roads too. Don't miss Elephant Rock - it really looks like an elephant! Great side trip if you are in Vegas. Don't forget to pay your state park fee if entering from the back.

    walking
    16 days ago

    Nice lake, saw some Mallards, nice views of the surrounding area. Our first Rocky Mountain NP experience on our way from Denver to RMNP.

    hiking
    16 days ago

    We could see Lily Mountain from Lily Lake and thought it would be a short hike with the boys in 2004, but turned out to be longer than it first looked. Well, the trail starts a ways down the road toward Estes Park and goes along the road for a while then does a sharp left turn up the ridge. Great views of Estes Park once you get to the turn, and some cool rock climbs along the way.

    Nice moderate hike to the top of Mt. Jefferson and along a high ridge. This natural area is well maintained, trail has some great interpretive signs, and there is a nice weather station at the top and you can download the current weather data to your phone using the QR code on the sign. The cell phone tower is not as obtrusive as on top of Mt. Pisgah and the cell reception is great. The views are best at Luther Rock at the end of the ridge. Also don't miss the stops going down or coming up the mountain, especially Sunset Overlook with the massive rock outcropping. Worth a stop and lots of picnic tables and a water fountain and restrooms too.

    hiking
    23 days ago

    Beautiful short trail with amazing views from the top of Roan Mountain to Roan High Bluff. Trail exits the top of Roan Mountain parking area on the side away from the restrooms, opposite the hotel remains. Trail passes two bus parking areas. There are two great overlook areas, one just a short walk from the parking area and one at High Bluff with a nice platform for a 180 view. Enjoy the moss covered trees and high elevation air. The stone platform near the parking area is a great place to soak it all in.

    hiking
    24 days ago

    Beautiful waterfall. Trailhead is just outside the NP entrance and parking is usually full. The mostly paved trail can be hazardous for wheelchairs, so be very careful. The trail is crowded, especially at the falls. No one ventures up trail past the falls, unless you want a good workout through the woods - about a 1500' elevation gain. We saw a small black bear with yellow tags on both ears and a collar. Quite the climber as he was ambling through the brush on the side of the downhill side going up. We saw a few rhodo blooms and a flame azalea but most of the plants had bloomed in early June. We climbed down the side just before the bridge to get a full falls look. A must do hike in Smokey Mtn NP even if it's crowded.

    We were headed down I-40 and saw Lake James State Park sign, so thought we'd take a quick side trip to check it out. After a few turns we came to the Catawba entrance, went down to the parking lot and saw the "trail" sign. The trail has a loop and some finger out and backs. We went down the finger that started at the sign next to the HCP parking space. Nice wide fairly flat trail that goes to a split rail fence with some caution signs and an overlook platform that is at the top of a dirt cliff. Interesting to see how many trees have fallen into the lake due to erosion, storms, etc. We took the rest of the trail to the left down to the water's edge with a great view of the lake, mountains behind, and those lucky folks with houses across the lake. On the way back took a right turn down the short path to a beach area with another nice view. Great place for a stroll if you are in the vicinity or camping, but not really a destination hike.

    walking
    26 days ago

    We stopped on July 4th, and of course it was crowded. Crowds thin out after the short steep paved trail about .5 mile long to the bridge. Go all the way (~2 mi. RT). Park in lot at the base of the falls, where the scenic road and I-84 lie next to each other, and walk across the road to the falls. Get pics from the top of the falls, as well as the view from the bridge opposite. At 620 feet this is the second highest continuously running waterfall in the country. Worth the stop. One of the 2 top stops along the Columbia Gorge Hwy - Bonneville Dam is the other.