Adventure Guide to the Great Smoky Mountains, 2nd Edition by Blair Howard

By Blair Howard

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If a trail is unmarked, or if the sign has a red slash through the horse, then horses are not allowed. Open and gated forest service roads are open for horseback riding, unless they are signed otherwise. Obey trail and road closures. n Stay on the trail. Taking shortcuts causes erosion and skirting wet areas widens trails. n Travel in small groups, preferably six or fewer. n Do not tie horses to trees, even temporarily. n Plan your trip to avoid the spring thaw and extended wet weather. n Pack it in and pack it out.

N Bird Watching More than 120 species of wild birds make their homes in the Great Smoky Mountains. Bird lovers can expect to see red-tailed hawks, ruffed grouse, wild turkey, five types of owl, vultures, ravens, blue herons, a wide variety of warblers, and seven species of woodpecker. If you’re lucky, you may see such rare birds as the Eastern screech owl, the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker, the hooded warbler, golden eagle, peregrine falcon or even a bald eagle. Birding is best done in the early morning.

If you decide to drive up the mountain from either direction, take no notice of the officiallooking people you will see waving you off the road into the Ruby Falls parking lot, unless you would like to visit the falls, that is. These people are not associated with the park. INCLINE RAILWAY Known as “America’s Most Amazing Mile,” this incline railway ascends almost 3,000 feet to the top of Lookout Mountain at a grade approaching 73°. From the summit of Lookout, it’s a short walk to Point Park National Battlefield where, on a clear day, you can enjoy breathtaking views over five states.

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