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Roaring Fork

Cincinnati, Ohio
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377 posts
4 reviews
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Roaring Fork

We have been to PF for the last 5 years - we love it!, we always go in the summer and are looking for more things to do. We have gone through Cades Cove the past two years and enjoyed it. But was wondering about Roaring Fork Motor Trail, is this similiar to Cades Cove? Does anyone recommend doing this? And my husband wants to see a black bear--so any driving trails that may lead us to that would be a plus! Thank you for any input.

Nashville, TN
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1,698 posts
2 reviews
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1. Re: Roaring Fork

Hi cmancini81,

When I was last in Gatlinburg in October, there were bears along the road heading toward the Roaring Fork Motor Trail. Who knows where they will be in 2008. Be sure to check with the Park Rangers at one of the visitor centers.

I would highly suggest visiting the trail. No, it is not like Cades Cove, but they do have old homes and sites to visit and photograph similar to Cades Cove. Through lots of it, you are basically following an old road/trail. Be sure to purchase a tour booklet of the trail at visitor centers or at the start of the road. Very well worth the dollar spent.

Bob

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Gatlinburg
Gatlinburg
Sevier County, TN
toledo, ohio
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276 posts
2 reviews
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2. Re: Roaring Fork

Yes! Roaring Fork Motor Trail is a must see. We love the drive. It is different than Cades Cove, which we love as well for the beauty, but Roaring Fork is another good one. As far as the bears, we always go early in the morning and never have any luck in Cades Cove or Roaring Fork. But my brother and his family went two years in a row and both times saw bears, once in Cades and once in Roaring Fork...but they went in the early evening. Maybe we will try that since we never have any luck in the morning.

Have Fun!

Hattiesburg...
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1,181 posts
5 reviews
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3. Re: Roaring Fork

Gotta do it!!! We saw 6 bears on our first drive there last October!!I liked it more than Cades..more nature less man.

Lexington, KY
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55 posts
9 reviews
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4. Re: Roaring Fork

I have taken the Roaring Fork trail my last 2 visits to the Smokies and have seen bears both times. A baby bear ran in front of our car the last time. There seems to be a high probability of seeing bears on this trail.

Roaring Fork is a really nice trail. It is close to to Gatlinburg, so you don't have to spend a lot of time driving there. It is quiet and peaceful. Roll your windows down and enjoy.

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Gatlinburg
Gatlinburg
Sevier County, TN
Cinn, OH
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1,562 posts
35 reviews
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5. Re: Roaring Fork

Roaring Fork is always a drive we take when in the area, we have actually seen more bear on Roaring, or even before you get to Roaring than at Cades Cove. Just drive slow and enjoy. We have gone early morning and late day and been successful "bear hunters".

Boston...
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5,524 posts
47 reviews
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6. Re: Roaring Fork

It's a great activity for those in Gatlinburg, as it begins and ends in the town itself. Cades Cove is considered the more historical drive and Roaring Fork the one focused on nature, although there certainly is some cross-over. Roaring Fork is shorter than Cades Cove, so to make it a day consider hiking to Grotto (four miles) or Rainbow (six miles) Falls. There's also a homestead/farm (Ogle?) towards the beginning that's very interesting to walk around. If you're at all interested in trees, Roaring Fork is much like Balsam Mountain road except you see the forest's changes over time instead of elevation. There are many places along the road that are great for a picnic or sitting and enjoying the surroundings.

Kristian

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Gatlinburg
Gatlinburg
Sevier County, TN
Norwood, OH
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432 posts
157 reviews
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7. Re: Roaring Fork

I just got back from there on Thursday. We went to Roaring Fork and you should definately go. I like that it's literally minutes from Gatlinburg,unlike Cades Cove, so it takes no time to get there. Be warned, though, once you start the drive there's no going back. It's a oneway road that's very steep and narrow. I had a deathgrip on my door handle the whole time. It starts out with some beautiful mountain views and the second half is more woodsy with lots of streams and small historic settlements. This trip we only hiked a short time because we had already done the hike to Rainbow Falls on a previous trip. I was told this was the place to see bears and to look up in the trees. Unfortunately, none to be found. Oh well, it's still worth it. I hope you make it there.

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Gatlinburg
Gatlinburg
Sevier County, TN
Cullowhee, North...
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1,077 posts
1 review
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8. Re: Roaring Fork

Roaring Fork is nice. it is the steepest stream in the eastern US coming off Mt. LeConte and all which is the steepest vertical rise in the east.

If you are into some hiking, Rainbow Falls and Grotto Falls are on Roaring Fork.

Other Ideas for doing something different and new

Visit Cataloochee on the NE side of GSMNP. You can see elk, likely bears and other critters. The Valley is stunning to say the least.

Spend the day head over to NC side of the park and tour the Blueridge Parkway. Balsam Mountain has a scenic one way road coming off of it which takes you into the Big Cove area of Cherokee when you are done. Views, streams and creeks.

Go See the Fontana Dam which is the tallest dam in the east at just over 500 feet tall. Fontana Dam was built as a war time project and it provided energy for making aircraft aluminum at Alcoa and uranium processing at Oakridge. The drive along NC 28 to the dam is quite scenic.

9. Re: Roaring Fork

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