Mountain Explorer

Birding in the Great Smoky Mountains

Mike Blevins photo

Birding in the Great Smoky Mountains

I was a real hotshot (in my own mind!) when I started birdwatching over 30 years ago. I took vacations to look at birds; pointed out species ad nauseam to friends and family; and became laser focused on my life list count.

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Features

Willkommen

Dan Jackson photo

We sit by the Chattahoochee River and take in the scene. After the Chattahoochee is done meandering through Georgia, it is a slow southern river, broad, but here, it is nimble, bright and clear. more

Mountain Explorer

Hiking with Nana

Holly Kays photo

It was a perfect summer day along a gorgeous riverside trail when our multi-generational entourage—two dogs, five people—set off for a high-elevation adventure in North Carolina’s Pisgah National Forest. But my enthusiasm was mixed with nervousness. more

Mountain Explorer

Firefly talk

Radim Schreiber photo

A Great Smoky Mountains National Park entomologist since 1997, Becky Nichols knows a lot about the park’s nearly 10,000 insect species, but perhaps the most celebrated of the six-legged creatures is the synchronous firefly. more

Mountain Explorer

Gardener's Corner

Sow True Seed photo

Managing tomatoes for health and productivity more

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A Year of Hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park more

Mountain Explorer

When folks think of the Smoky Mountains, visions of glorious mountain peaks tucked in low-hanging clouds emerge. But when romance is out of the question and it’s time for family fun, the valleys of Tennessee offer their own exciting destinations. more

Mountain Explorer

Jim Parham says he is like many people when it comes to finding and appreciating the variety of flowers that can be seen on hikes or simple strolls in the North Carolina mountains. more

Mountain Explorer

Sometimes, it is worthwhile to try to make things as they once were. In a sense, that is the purpose of the Southern Appalachian Spruce Restoration Initiative at the Southern Highlands Reserve. more

Mountain Explorer

When most people think of shorebirds they think of, well, shores and sleek fast flying wind birds that migrate in flocks and forage in groups. The mostly solitary, chunky, forest dwelling woodcock doesn’t seem to fit. more

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Kephard Prong Trail

NPS photo

For nearly a decade, beginning in the mid-1980s, hiking Kephart Prong Trail was a rite of spring for me. True, there are more spectacular places in the Great Smokies, nearby Charlies Bunion being one of them. more

Mountain Explorer