Greenbrier - A Smoky Mountain Sidetrip
The entrance sign to the Greenbrier section of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is small enough you might miss it when zooming along US 321 between Gatlinburg and Cosby. You'll find it in the town of Pittman Center right where the highway crosses the Little Pigeon River.
The first few miles of the road into Greenbrier are paved (although not very smoothly). When the road isn't running close to he river, the tall trees of the forest soar toward the sky. On the way up to the picnic area (a couple of miles in) the road narrows in several spots as it climbs a bluff high above the river. The views of the rushing water below quickly catch your attention (even though it's probably best to keep them on the road).
The picnic area isn't very big, but it's a great spot to unwind any time of the year. A few small pathways lead down to the river where the water meanders what seems like an endless array of smooth rocks. In the spring and summer you should be able to see plenty of wildflowers and in the fall, the colors lining the small river gorge are simply breathtaking.
A couple of trailheads can be found in this section of the park. Porters Creek is known for its abundance of wildflowers and Ramsey Cascades are the tallest in the Smokies. While in the area check out Baxter's Apple Orchard (in season), the Cosby section of the park, and on toward Newport, Carver's Orchard and Applehouse Restaurant.