In episode 26 of Smoky Mountains Radio, we review Fort Fun in Gatlinburg and Mount Sterling Hike as our Spotlight Hike of the Week.
I will admit that as long as I have been around the Smokies, this one is news to me. There will be a firefly viewing at the Elkmont Campground from June 4-11. What makes this firefly viewing is that they apparently will blink in unison. Don’t ask me about the specifics about how and why. I don’t know. But it is supposed to be pretty cool. It has apparently been going on for years, and is pretty popular. In fact, the reason I am telling you about it now is that space fills up pretty quick. In fact, you have to reserve spots for viewing. Here’s how it works. Unless you are staying at Elkmont campground, the only people allowed in to view are the ones who buy a parking pass. You buy the parking pass at recreation.gov for $1.50 each. On that day, you will have a saved spot at Sugarlands Visitor Center. From there you will park your car and ride the trolley to Elkmont Campground. Only those with passes are allowed. You will likely want to do this well in advance if you are interested. If you have gone before, I would love to hear details or see pictures. Send those my way at the feedback section of smokymountainsradio.com.
A ten-acre wildfire is blazing at Mount LeConte. Though the fire is not huge or intense, a couple of trails including Rainbow Falls are currently closed while the fire is contained. It is not expected to spread and park officials anticipate that the fire will be out by early next week.
Graffiti at park shelters, cabins, and other areas in the park has increased dramatically this year. Everything from people writing names on walls to carving obscenities in cabins has gone up. There has been no reason given for the rise, but it is a definite problem. Stop it! If you see someone doing this please report the moron.
Gunter Fork Trail is closed after another landslide. This the same place that a landslide occurred just a couple of years ago. There is no word yet on a date for reopening but i’m going to guess it will be months or even years.
Just as a reminder, the Chimney tops trail will be closed Mondays-Thursday through October for more trail work. I have not hiked this trail since the work, but if you have I would love to hear from you about your experiences.
The summer concert series on Friday nights began this week at the Smoky Mountains Heritage Center in Townsend that we detailed on an earlier episode. Admission to the concerts are 5.00 unless you are a member, in which case they are FREE.
We talked about the coming opening of the Paula Dean restaurant in Pigeon Forge. Well, in just one month, she will be opening a store in Gatlinburg that sells many of her own and endorsed products. It is said that you can find everything in the store to cook like Paula Dean. I haven’t decided if that is a good thing or a bad thing. Anyway, i’ll get you more info on that as it comes available.
I said a couple of weeks ago that this winter was big for Ober Gatlinburg. Well, it was big enough that they are adding a new ski slope to the mountain for the first time in over 20 years. You have to wait for winter for that one, but they say its going to be great and for advanced skiiers. That leaves me out, so someone will have to give me a review when it opens.
Fort Fun is an entertainment center in Gatlinburg that features laser tag, indoor and outdoor mini-golf courses, gem mining, laser maze, bumper cars, arcade, and much more. Prices are 11.99 per person, but are much cheaper if you do multi-attraction passes and all day passes. More info can be found HERE.
Mount Sterling Hike is a 5.6 mile roundtrip, moderate hike on the Eastern edge of the Smokies. The highlight is the 60 foot fire tower that you can climb at the summit for some amazing views. Campsite #38 is also very close by. This hike is great for a day hike or an overnight adventure. Find more information about this hike and many others at SmokyMountainsRadio.com
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Intro/Outro Music: ”KM 19″ by “The Breakmen” www.thebreakmen.com