There are few places left in the Continental United States where a trip means soaking in the culture, the history and the natural dynamics of the area. Development has taken over a large number of the historic trails and commercialized facilities handle tourism. The best recourse for discovering America is through its national parks.
1. The European Migration
One of the best ways to bring US history to life is to begin with the first colonies. Their remnants are scattered along the Blue Ridge Parkway, a rolling five hundred miles of panoramic views, mountain hamlets, early pioneer homes and signs of early industry. Stretching from Virginia to North Carolina, this is the land of the Iroquois Nation, the Colonial struggles for independence and the beginning of European expansion.
2. The Long, Hard Walk
Considered by some the longest hiking trail in the world, the 2,200 mile long Appalachian Trail begins in Maine and extends down into Georgia, crossing fourteen states. This trail can be accessed easily from Gatlinburg, Tennessee, along with entrance to the Smoky Mountain National Park, and access to Appalachian culture, music and history.
Hiking the entire trail takes a lot of stamina, but almost two million visitors a year hike at least a portion of it. To receive full enjoyment of the magical transport into the past, rent a cabin in Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge through Diamond Rentals. A spokesperson for the company says to go ahead and “plan to stay for a few days.”
“You can bring your family and bring your pets for astounding hikes that will bring all the Smoky Mountain charm to the forefront.”
3. The Gateway West
As settlers moved down through the Appalachian Mountains, they discovered the easiest passage west, through a wide gap between the mountains that allowed them to pass more easily over the range.
Located just under two hours away from Pigeon Forge on Highway 40, a cabin rental through Mountain Air Cabins will make viewing the Cumberland Gap an easy addition to your Smoky Mountain journey. A spokesperson for the company says, “the Cumberland Gap National Park cuts through eleven Tennessee counties with gorgeous views of the Smoky Mountains, and hiking trails that take you to pristine waterfalls, lakes, creeks and follows the Tennessee River.”
4. The Ancient People
Follow the movement west with a trip to the Chaco Culture National Historic Park. Located in San Juan County and McKinley County, New Mexico, it hosts one of the densest concentration of pueblos and is one of the most important collections of pre-Colombian historical relics and artifacts in the United States. The extremely well-preserved ruins are located in the Chaco Canyon and illustrate the livelihood of a people born over a thousand years ago.
5. Amazing Natural Wonders
It’s not hard to imagine what the early pioneers felt who pushed their way west into uncharted wilderness when you include the John Muir Trail in your list of must-take trips. The official length of the trail is 219.4 miles long and reaches elevations of approximately 47,000 feet. The vast majority of the trail is in designated wilderness and passes through alpine and high mountain scenery. The long distance trail begins in the Sierra Nevada range of California and passes through Yosemite, Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks.