When you live in East Tennessee, October can become a crazy time. Not football that crazy from August to December. No October is known in this area for one main reason–the colors. Depending on the right amount of rain throughout the year, especially summer, the colors of the leaves changing can be dramatically beautiful or blah. This year was fantastic. However, being a local also presents a problem because it brings in lots of traffic to the mountains. Now I have no actual problem with tourists coming to the Smoky Mtns. I know that brings in money to the area. But they do drive painfully slow and this makes it very difficult for local people to enjoy the colors too.
So last year I found an alternative for folks like me. Just an hour southeast of the Smokies, Townsend, and Cades Cove, is the Cherohala Skyway. Take I-40W to Sweetwater, then on to Madisonville, and finally to Tellico Plains, where the Skyway begins. We took my parents, and we all stopped for a bit at Kat’s which is right at the beginning of the Skyway, and it right beside the Tellico River. The deck was really nice, and the panini I had was so yummy. Perfect place to stop.
Indian Boundary Lake is maybe 20 miles up the Cherohala Skyway, which continues on into North Carolina and somehow connects to the Dragon. The lake has camping available, as well as a beach, and I am told it is very popular during the summer time.