While regular visitation the Smoky Mountains has been down, the 2008 leaf season and the Columbus Day weekend has offered a real boost of visitors to Smokies.
It was quite apparent that visitation was way up this weekend with far more crowded roads such as the Parkway in Pigeon Forge, the Spur leading to Gatlinburg, Patton Ave and Tunnel Road in Asheville, the Biltmore, Cades Cove and of course the Tail of the Dragon in Deal Gap.
Hiking Trails in the Great Smoky Mountains national park were also very busy. Even quieter trails such as the midway points of the Old Settlers Trail such as Noisy Falls and the Creek along 321 had 2 or 3 cars throughout the day - very rare for this quiet trail.
Parking for Alum Cave was insane and I can not even imagine what it is like to have hiked up that trail to Le Conte with all those people. The at was also crowded as well even some quieter trails in Deep Creek.
Cades Cove at times was like a parking lot but the weather was so spectacular and the fall foliage is starting to come into beautiful shades of yellow, orange and red contrasting against the dark and light green leaves it was worth the slow drive.
The Blue Ridge Parkway from mile marker 380 to the end at 469 was busy with photographers at most pull offs taking advantage of the stunning fall color coming in with perfect blue skies, then amazing cloud formations which the receded leaving perfect blue skies again.
Local businesses are happy to see the crowds here in the Smoky Mountains, most of which will be leaving today. The best time to come right now is midweek where you can still get lodging discounts and it becomes real quiet in spite of the perfect weather and beautiful fall scenery throughout the Smokies.