Grandfather's keeper

Hugh Morton photo

WalletHub, a website known for providing basic financial guidance, has ranked the best states for road trips. Read more


small smokies hike Clingmans Dome  Bruce McCamish.jpeg

Picasa 2.7

In 2017, contractors began repairing deteriorated areas on the tower’s concrete columns and walls, stabilized support walls at the base of the ramp, and repaired stone masonry. Read more


All eyes on Tryon

Photo courtesy Fédération Equestre International

In September, one of the world’s largest sporting events will bring tens of thousands of visitors to tiny Mill Spring, North Carolina. This sleepy town in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains has a hidden claim to fame. Read more

Like many cities in the southeast, Lexington, Kentucky, has a seen a rebirth over the last decade. Withering metro areas following the economic collapse, these spots have become culinary, artistic and musical capitals of their respective states. Read more

Iconic Parkway bridge needs maintenance, repaving. Read more


One hundred years ago, the prime mode of transportation from the Great Smoky Mountains to the big cities was a steam locomotive. Today, riding historical and tourist lines in the area is a connection to that past. Read more

It's All Downhill

Jon Ostendorff photo

The entwined story of people and caves is still unfolding today. A lasting legacy of caves-turned-tourist-attractions have left an indelible mark on small mountain communities. Read more

An astronomical number of visitors will descend on the Smoky Mountains for the Great American Eclipse—an out-of-this-world, thank-your-lucky-star, universally spectacular event. Read more


Classic spread

NPS photo

In my family, as in many others, your birthday means you get to decide what’s for dinner—the midday and main meal of the day. Read more


Picnic time

NPS photo

For the Garland family of Maryville, Tennessee, summer Sundays in the late 1950s and early 1960s meant picnic-time in the Smokies. Read more

The downtown, arts and crafts community, and many other places, suffered no damage from the 2016 forest fires. Read more

Perfect storm

Don Hendershot

A confluence of events that came together in the Southern Appalachians in the fall of 2016, which precipitated this unprecedented fire season: Decades of fuel buildup, drought, warm temperatures, low humidity, wind and then ignition. Read more


Clingmans secret tunnel

Deb Campbell

Hikers, outdoorsmen, photographers, and locals reveal their favorite treasures of “the back of beyond”—from secluded trails and fishing streams to quiet overlooks and picnic spots. Read more

, ,

Being careful about the where and when of choosing a hike in the Smokies is nothing new to Terry Maddox, who recently retired from 26 years as executive director of the Great Smoky Mountains Association. Read more


Southern Appalachia: 50 Events That Put Us On The Map

Illustration by Ali Douglass

From the conquistadors and colonists of centuries past to the Appalachian Trail backpackers and smartphone-toting tourists of today, travelers have always been drawn to Southern Appalachia’s dramatic geography. Read more


When I was 11, a family road trip brought me to North Carolina’s Sapphire Valley. One afternoon, while panning for gems at one of the area’s tourist mines, I spotted a crystalline rock about the size of a thumbnail. Read more


Parkway view

Photo courtesy of the Blue Ridge Parkway • Travis Bumgardner photo illustration

Of all the factors that led to the creation of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, postcards that depicted the beauty and grandeur of the Southern Appalachians may be the most overlooked. Read more

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. Read more