Planning Your Trip to Great Smoky Mountains National Park
|Fly Fishing the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Other Park Things To See and Do:
If you travel from Tennessee to North Carolina, or vice versa, through Great
Smoky Mountains National Park you will go through Newfound Pass, called
Gap, in Appalachian language. A gap is simply a road that go through a low
point in the mountains.
The original road over the mountains was located at Indian Gap, a mile and
a half to the West. When Mr. Arnold Guyot, a geographer discovered
(1872) that the gap through the current location was lower in elevation than
Indian Gap, the new road was built through it. Being the new found gap or
pass, it was named just that - "Newfound Gap". Its elevation is 5046 feet
above sea level.
From there you have a good view of both the North Carolina and
Tennessee sides of the park. The Appalachian Trail crosses there and
follows the Tennessee/North Carolina state line through most of the park.
Other than that, there isn't much to see but where else can you see that
from your vehicle. President Franklin Roosevelt stood there when he
dedicated the park.
The air temperature up there averages about ten degrees cooler than in
Cherokee or Gatlinburg. The area gets an average of 69 inches of snow
per year. That accounts for some of the water in the freestone streams of
the Smokies that anglers fish for trout. The most interesting thing you may
see from a fishing standpoint traveling up or down the mountain to
Newfound Gap is the formation of freestone streams.
How the Freestone Streams Form:
Going down the mountain in either direction you will see little crevices,
brooks, small branches, tiny streams, etc., where the rainwater and melting
snow first combine and flows downhill. These are formed by tiny droplets of
water that flow together, forming larger and larger little tricklets of water.
These little miniature streams or brooklets, run into other little miniature
streams and eventually form a noticeable stream of water. That is the
beginning of the freestone streams. If you will notice, more so on the
Tennessee side than the North Carolina side where they are more visible
from the road, these little streams of water get larger and larger. You want
go very far before you will see the Walkers Camp Prong of the West Fork of
the Little Pigeon River. In fact you will pass over it not far below
Newfoundland Gap. If you look to the right when you notice the first stream
that passes under the road, you will see this little stream headed up the
mountain. You can actually catch brook trout fishing up or down that very
small stream. They will be small fish, but they are there. They are in most all
of the small streams, that small and even smaller, as long as you are high in
The farther you go down the mountain, the larger this stream gets.
Eventually it will join another stream called the Road Prong. They converge
near the Chimney Trailhead that you will soon pass and form the West Fork
of Little Pigeon River that flows through Gatlinburg.
All the streams in the Smokies are formed this same way. If it were not for
these tiny streams I call branches, there wouldn't be any streams to fish in
the Smokies. If it were not for the rain and snow there wouldn't be any
droplets of water to form the streams. So every time you see rain on your
windshield be thankful. Put your rain gear on and get out and fish or hike
through the forest and think about it. If those little drops of water you see
dripping of the leaves of the tree don't get consumed by the trees,
evaporate or get used some other way, they will keep descending down the
mountain, combining with others through Walkers Camp Prong, the West
Fork of the Little Pigeon, into the French Broad River, into the Tennessee
River, into the Mississippi River and out into the Gulf of Mexico. I'll stop
there but I could go on and trace that water around the continental shelf of
Florida flowing along the Gulf stream.
Copyright 2009 James Marsh