Becky Johnson

The book features 42 trail networks and 1,200 miles of mountain bike trails, including full-color maps and photos, route details and trail descriptions. more

Mountain Explorer 1 Comments

Bellafina Chocloates

Photo courtesy of Bellafina Chocolates

From Mad Priest Coffee in Chattanooga to Aurora Studio & Gallery in Asheville and many places in between, the mountains are full of labors of love - business that put people ahead of profits. more

Feb 20, 2017 12:00 AM , Features

12 Days of Christmas

Donated photo

Partridges and pear trees need not apply: These 12 holiday destinations around Southern Appalachia offer mountain merry-makers a bit of everything—from homespun traditions to festive glamour and glitz. more

Dec 1, 2016 12:00 AM Features


Donated photo

By most accounts, Stephen Morrison lives in the middle of nowhere, the crooked no-man’s land clinging to the side of the southern Blue Ridge escarpment where North Carolina, Georgia, and South Carolina meet. more

Sep 19, 2014 2:54 PM Departments

Right direction

Becky Johnson photo

Since ancient times, man has explored the landscape with the intent to discover what lies beyond what he knows. Oral descriptions and pictographs first began to tame the wild earth, and as man charted greater territories, so grew his knowledge. more

Aug 1, 2014 12:00 AM Features

Judaculla Rock

Donated photo

The Smoky Mountains’ urban legends—or rather rural myths—are a sure-fire way to strike up conversation. But be forewarned. One could be walking into a hornet’s nest, or opening a can of worms, or, as some say around here, stepping into a cow pile. more

Dec 1, 2013 12:00 AM Features

Still a baby

Photo courtesy of Fontana Village

Fontana Dam was a cog in the American war machine. The massive concrete bulwark—rock-solid, impenetrable, and unrivaled—proved a powerful image. It was an engineering marvel, a testament to the country’s strength and determination. more

Aug 1, 2013 12:00 AM Features

Building the basics

Becky Johnson photo

When Samantha Crowe-Hernandez packs her three young children into the car for a Sunday afternoon visit with their great- grandparents, she’s bearing a special gift—a living testament to the Cherokee people’s resilience. more

Dec 1, 2012 12:00 AM Features

Healing waters

Rick Queen photo

Life was looking up when Bill Bowen was 25. He’d just landed a job as a logger, and as a lifelong hunter, nothing beat getting paid to be outside in the woods every day. But less than a week later, his world took a drastic turn. more

Feb 1, 2012 12:00 AM Features

Peeking out

Elizabeth Jensen photo

If there’s an art to bottle feeding baby bears, Lisa Stewart would know it. Let the cubs nuzzle and suck on your arm for a couple minutes first, then slip their suckling mouths onto the bottle. The only downside is an arm covered in bear hickies. more

Jan 1, 2011 12:00 AM Features

Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center

Ben Blair photo

When Dan Brown returned to the Blue Ridge Parkway as superintendent after a 20-year hiatus from his early days as a ranger, it seemed time had stood still. Couples lounged in chairs at overlooks and families gathered around Sunday picnic spreads. more

Mar 1, 2010 12:00 AM Features

Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center

Jeff Greenberg photo

It’s the most visited national park unit in the U.S. with more than 17 million annual visitors riding along the 469-mile ribbon of roadway that snakes through Virginia and North Carolina. It’s also one of the most loved. more

Mar 1, 2010 12:00 AM , Features

Sherrill Cove Tunnel

Courtesy of Lou Harshaw of The Asheville Chamber of Commerce

When the natural contour drops too steeply or turns too sharply, tunnels, like bridges, avoid jarring curves that would otherwise occur. more

Mar 1, 2010 12:00 AM Features

Cycling team

Photos courtesy of Houck Medford and the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation

When Houck Medford was a volunteer on the Blue Ridge Parkway in the late 1990s, his job was to rove from one overlook to another offering directions to visitors, suggest trails, share the names of peaks, and offer tidbits of Parkway history. more

Mar 1, 2010 12:00 AM Features

Wildcat Rocks

Courtesy of Blue Ridge Parkway archives

As soon as the federal government endorsed the Parkway under the New Deal in 1933, a raging debate broke out between North Carolina and Tennessee over which state would win the scenic road. more

Mar 1, 2010 12:00 AM Features

North of Buena Vista

Pat & Chuck Blackley photo

The Blue Ridge Parkway unravels gracefully across the landscape, at times suspended from high cliffs and etched into rocky crags, then skimming over hayfields and past log cabins bound by split-rail fences. more

Mar 1, 2010 12:00 AM Features

Aquarium of the Smokies

D.C. Buchanan photo

Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies in Gatlinburg ranks as the fifth most visited aquarium in the world, bringing 1.5 million visitors every year face-to-face with an otherwise elusive ecosystem. more

Jun 1, 2009 12:00 AM Features

Bad piggie

NPS photo

Only the most farsighted and intuitive of those who labored for the creation of the Smokies could have foreseen the slate of environmental challenges that would be facing the park mere decades after its dedication in 1940. more

May 1, 2009 12:00 AM , Features

Since its creation, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park has loomed over Swain County. Its massive peaks flank life itself: as an engine for tourism, a stomping ground for locals, and a refuge for wild things. more

May 1, 2009 12:00 AM Features

Horace Kephart

NPS photo

George Ellison never knows when a Horace Kephart pilgrim will come calling. But invariably, they will come — creaking up the wooden stairs that have smooth depressions worn into the treads from years of use. more

May 1, 2009 12:00 AM Features

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