During our recent trip to Pigeon Forge TN, of course we had to visit Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Although I am a consistent "America the Beautiful" annual pass owner, Great Smoky Mountains is one of the few national parks that does not charge an entrance fee. The reason is tied to Newfound Gap Road. When the privately owned land and road were turned over to the government, the agreement was that there would never be a toll to travel the road. An entrance fee would essentially be a toll.
Though pure coincidence, it was a great way to celebrate Earth Day. Sure it was a little rainy, but what desert dweller doesn't enjoy the rain? The downside is that our view from the top of Clingmans Dome was nothing but a foggy forest, which was beautiful in its own way. Luckily there were many spots along the side of the road to capture some nice stream photos.
Our short sojourn was nowhere near enough time to fully appreciate what Great Smoky Mountains has to offer. We'll definitely need to return during a future trip.