About 700 miles separate the Ozark and Smoky Mountains. Both are spectacular places to leaf peep, bike and hike. Two differences:
- The Smokies are a little more vertical & perhaps contain a slight edge on iconic trails/views.
- Smoky Mntn NP is the most visited park in the US! It’s more crowded. Don’t even think about staying in the popular park destinations of Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg. They’re grossly, overbuilt resort towns. Townsend, Tn, is the place to be (quiet, gorgeous).
My time in the Ozarks centered around Buffalo River River NP. The park was the first national river to be designated by the Park Service and flows for over 135 miles. With that extended shoreline the possibilities seem endless.
After several days exploring the Ozarks, I started the 10 hour drive to the Smokies, stopping along the way to hike out to Machine Falls, just outside of Tullahoma, Tn. Yep, out in the boonies. Zero crowds!
The area is also full great rivers to explore. BTW, the spiral brown formation in the lower right section of the photo actually consists of leafs stuck in a whirlpool. I took a long 10 second exposure which blurred those bad boys.
Lots more fun photos to see. Click the link: Click for more!