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Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Birding In The National Parks: Mixing Birding With Leaf-Peeping

If “October” and “travel” are in the same story, odds are good that it’s an article about the best places to see fall foliage. Of course, to those of us with birds perpetually on the brain, October is the conclusion of fall migrant season. With that in mind, I got to wondering about the best national park to maximize migrant-watching and leaf-peeping in one trip.

Seeking Solitude In The Smokies

Visitors come to Great Smoky Mountains National Park for many reasons. They want to hike the more than 70 miles of the rugged Appalachian Trail that meander through the park, to camp in its dense forests, to cool off in one of its many streams, or to take a leisurely drive along the scenic Newfound Gap Road that crosses the heart of the park to connect Tennessee with North Carolina. Regardless of the reason, they come—in droves. Every year, 8-10 million people travel to the Smokies, making it the most-visited national park in the country.

Graffiti A Continuing Problem At Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Graffiti in national parks is not necessarily a recent problem, and while it did receive national attention a year ago with the "art" left on park landscapes by a woman known as "creepytings," it continues to be a problem. At Great Smoky Mountains National Park, graffiti most recently has marred the Lakeview Drive tunnel.

Catch Autumn's Glow: Your Best Bets

National parks actually glow in autumn. From the fluttering gold of aspens and larch in the parks along the spine of the Rocky Mountains to the oranges, yellows and reds of the hardwood forests that cover Eastern parks and even on the Southwest’s sandstone, fall is the season of incandescence in the park system. Where do you find these rainbows? Here’s your guide to the "best bets" for fall color in the National Park System.

National Parks Traveler's Essential Park Guide

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