North Carolina county #37 Oconaluftee River Trail
For my last day in the mountains, the plan was to stop at two counties on the way home. The first stop, at 8am, was at the Oconaluftee Visitor Center of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. There is a 1.5 mile trail there (3 miles round trip) called the Oconaluftee River Trail.
The trail runs through an open air museum with buildings and information from early settler times. The area near the entrance, museum, and open fields were very nice. As you pass the halfway mark you get closer to the road and hear some traffic and there was less of a feeling of in nature. If I was going to bird it again, I would probably turn back at the overpass about a half mile in. The trail dead ends at the edge of the park near the entrance to the Cherokee Reservation.
There were some families hiking the trail, and joggers and bikers. It was hard to get photos in the dark trees. I did see several Hooded Warblers.
That is how you typically see warblers. It is rare that one poses in the sun for you.
There were a couple of Northern Flickers, a Gray Catbird, Red-eyed Vireo and a number of Swallows. I’ve been better about getting the ebird photos updated prior to posting so that there is more to see there. My favorite though was a Groundhog that was popping up from the middle of the field.
The entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park was surrounded by tourist type spots and things to do, places to stay and eat. I had never been there before and it was an interesting place to visit. I would like to check out some of the more interior locations in the future.
It’s too bad it was such a gray day, but I was definitely achieving my goal of getting to see new places while birding.