Great Smoky Mountains National Park – in Trailer Life Magazine!

The May, 2016, issue of Trailer Life Magazine features our article about our RV roadtrip through North Carolina, starting with Great Smoky Mountains National Park and then going up the southern half of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Trailer Life Magazine High Country Holiday

Trailer Life Magazine, May 2016 Issue. Article by: Emily Fagan. Photos by: Emily and Mark Fagan

We visited the area in the spring and absolutely loved it. When we started our journey, the wild rhododendrons were just beginning to bloom. As we made our way north, they continued to be at their peak in each area we visited!

Rhododendron and waterfall in North Carolina Blue Ridge Parkway

Rhododendrons bloom everywhere in the Smokies and Blue Ridge Mountains!

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is so big that it spans two states: North Carolina and Tennessee. We stayed on the North Carolina side, saving the Tennessee side for a future visit.

The town of Cherokee is an excellent place to use as a base camp for exploring both Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway, and we got a kick out of the town itself, even though it’s very touristy with a slightly cheesy flair.

From there, we bee-bopped on and off the Blue Ridge Parkway heading north.

We discovered that waterfalls are abundant in Great Smoky Mountains National Park and also on the Blue Ridge Parkway, so we quickly made “waterfall hunting” the theme for our travels.

Great Smoky Mountains Waterfall

The first waterfall we saw in the Smokies captivated us. After that, we worked our way through the Smokies and up the Blue Ridge Parkway, waterfall by waterfall

Crabtree Falls Blue Ridge Parkway North Carolina

North Carolina’s Crabtree Falls on the Blue Ridge Parkway

There are a few low tunnels at the south end of the Blue Ridge Parkway that a tall RV like our fifth wheel trailer can’t sneak through, but the rest of the Parkway is easily driven by any size RV.

Motorhome on the Blue Ridge Parkway

A motorhome zips along on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Much of the Parkway itself, although lovely, can get a little monotonous after a while because it is a skinny, winding road that snakes under a canopy of trees for much of its length, with little to see but greenery. Many of the scenic vistas and overlooks have become overgrown by tall trees over time, so sometimes there is no view at all!

Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina

Blue Ridge Parkway – Driving under a canopy of green trees

However, the small roads that zig-zag around and across the Blue Ridge Parkway are fascinating, because they give a glimpse of life in the Appalachian Mountains with homes and businesses owned by the locals. So, we traveled on these roads for the most part and just sampled the Blue Ridge Parkway here and there when there was a landmark, like a waterfall, that we wanted to see.

Soco Falls Blue Ridge Parkway North Carolina

Soco Falls on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Sometimes readers ask us what the best way is to find out about great RVing destinations or how to pick up tips about the RV lifestyle. Being a little old fashioned, I always recommend subscribing to a magazine or two, whether in print or digital form.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park North Carolina

The Smokies

As soon as we bought our first popup tent trailer, we subscribed to Trailer Life Magazine. When each issue arrived, I would dive into the destination articles, dreaming of our big escape, while Mark would always scour the technical articles, looking for pointers about how to care for our new little buggy (or bigger buggies we might grow into someday).

Wildflowers in North Carolina Blue Ridge Parkway

Thigh deep in a field of wildflowers in North Carolina!

Beginning in my twenties, I subscribed to various RVing and sailing magazines. They fed my wanderlust and kept my dreams alive when the only view I saw most days was my cubicle walls.

I’m proud now to write for all the magazines that used to be my sources of inspiration back when they arrived in my mailbox years ago. Hopefully the tech tips and travel stories I write for them now will encourage and inspire future travelers.

Wildflowers on the Blue Ridge Parkway North Carolina

Springtime is all about flowers in the Smokies

Trailer Life Magazine has published our article about North Carolina’s Smoky Mountains and the Blue Ridge Parkway on their website here:

Trailer Life Magazine Article: High Country Holiday

For further reading, all of our blog posts from our RV travels in this area are here:

Over the years, I have published a dozen articles in Trailer Life Magazine, and a few of them are on their website at this link:

Trailer Life Magazine articles by Emily Fagan

Few Trailer Life magazine articles end up on their website. If you’d like to read more, you can subscribe to Trailer Life here:

If your RV travels will be taking you on a north-south route through North Carolina this year, a very enjoyable way to navigate is to follow the Blue Ridge Parkway and do a little exploring at Great Smoky Mountains National Park!

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