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Need Help - Looking For Mountains ....

Discussion in 'Special Sessions, Events, and Tour Announcements' started by frankier, Jul 26, 2008.

  1. Hello, can anyone suggest a place within, say a 500 miles radius, from Chicago that has mountains and is not very crowded where I can combine family activities and picture taking? We would stay about 1 week and driving there. Not focusing on camping this time.

    We just spent some time at the beach, which I enjoy tremendously, and now is my wife's turn to pick and she loves the mountain. I realize that the two sides may be a little bit at odds (especially when the kids are 5 and 9) but I was hoping that someone could suggest such a place where I can make my wife and the kids happy and still being able to be in an interesting place (photographically)
  2. Hi Frankier,

    Take a look at Allegheny National Forest in Pennsylvania. This will push your 500 mile limit and the mountains are small compared to the Rockies. However, It is a beautiful area with many hiking trails, most easy to moderate and has many state parks in the area. The area is good for wildlife watching including the largest elk herd (Benezett, PA) east of the Mississippi River with many small streams and lakes that are good for hiking, canoing/kayaking, photography, and skipping stones.

    Shoot me a PM or e-mail if you want more information.

  3. Thanks Kevin! I checked it out and it seems like a very nice place, but I was thinking something at a higher altitude. It is certainly an option for some other time.

  4. http://www.porcupinemountains.com/

    Best I can think of .... We leave in August for a week in Upper Michigan. Lots of waterfalls / porcupine mountains / lake of the clouds / mackinac bridge - tons of hiking .... should be a good time.

    We rented a cabin at a fishing resort on lake gogebic.

    This is the place we are staying at - http://www.ninepinesresort.com/
  5. InLimbo87


    Jul 30, 2008
    Orlando, Fl
    We just got back from a trip to the Great Smoky Mountains national park. It was absolutely beautiful there and the hiking was pretty awesome.

    We stayed in Gatlinburg, which is definitely crowded, but I'm sure there are some better areas around the park. Its a little over your 500 mile radius, but IMO well worth the trip :D 
  6. Thanks for the input and nice place you suggested - Upper Michigan is running strong ....

    DId you hear about the shooter in Wisconsin (very close to Michigan)? Killed three kids in cold blod with a rifle yesterday, I believe .....

    Made me pause .....

  7. Thanks - Actually, we have been thinking about the Smoky Mountains for quite some time now, but I hear that summer time is their busiest time with a lot of people and traffic....we are considering Fall as a possible alternative and go to the Smoky ....

    But it is on the top with Upper Michigan ....

  8. Quiet Eye

    Quiet Eye

    Apr 21, 2006
    North Alabama
    Re: The Smokies

    The worst time of year for crowds is the last half of October. The fall color there is generally very good and attracts large numbers of people from all over the country.

    In the park, summer is not to bad for the numbers of people there. Unless you like the commercial tourist activities and lots of people, I would stay away from Gatlinburg; however there are a few good restaurants.

    I go year round, but primarily October through early May. I go there mainly for photography, and spend most of my time in Cades Cove, Tremont, and Little River Road areas.

    In the area within the park and the surrounding area, there are scenic mountain vistas; waterfalls; easy photo access to deer, bear, and birds; trout fishing; hiking and horse trails; and historic buildings.

    I go up there frequently, I stay mainly, in Townsend or Wears Valley. The motels and restaurants are limited in Townsend, and almost non-existent in Wears Valley. I generally go to Pigeon Forge for a half day of shopping and occasionally to eat. If my grandkids go with us, its a mandatory day or two at Dollywood.

    If you go, I would recommend stopping at one of the visitors center in the area as soon as you get there, and look at the books. I recommend "The Smoky Moutains Photographers Guide, Waterfalls of the Smokies, and Hiking Trails of the Smokies.

    If you have any questions, send a PM
  9. RE: Smokies

    that has mountains and is not very crowded where I can combine family activities and picture taking? We would stay about 1 week and driving there. Not focusing on camping this time.

    If you're considering the Smokies and want quiet, I don't think I'd consider the Gatlinburg area. That area gets crazy in the fall. We actually have a rental cabin on the south side of the park near Cherokee/Bryson City. Our cabin is up in the hills just outside the Deep Creek entrance to the park. Only minutes from the park and there you'll find easy hikes to 3 waterfalls/cascades, trout fishing and tubing in the warmer months. In Bryson City there is a train that'll take you through the mountains to the Nantahala Outdoor Center where you and the family can go white water rafting (again, depending on what time of year you go) Near Cherokee (about 15 minutes) are more waterfalls an old settlement area of cabins and barns, an old grist mill and a good chance of seeing Deer and Elk on the side of the road. About an hours drive is Cataloochee. An out of the way area similar to Cades Cove but on a smaller scale. Also, less people go there because it is more "out of the way". It has a number of old buildings, school, church etc. If you go early or stay late you'll have an excellent chance of photographing Elk and Deer. Caution about getting too close to the Elk, they're BIG and not as friendly as the deer. Our cabin is 2 story, 2 br and fully equipped. Check it out at deepcreekhideaway.com. We have a Gallery there too we've shot of the local area. Also, generally rates go down after the October leaf lookers go home. Contact me offline if you want for more info on the area. We've been going there for years.
    Oh yeah, stay 6 days and the 7th is free :smile:
  10. DogFather, QuiteEye,

    Thank you for the good pointers and suggestions. I was most likely misinformed that summer is the busiest season in the Park. Will certainly reconsider and may take you up on your offer to provide further details via PM.

    Thanks again!:smile:
  11. jaikdee


    Feb 25, 2008
    Kingman, AZ
    My cousin and family rave about this place in the Smoky Mountains. I've never been there and don't know the driving distance from Chicago. She sent me pictures of their week and it looks like a place I could enjoy.


    Have fun wherever you go.
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