A Weekend in Knoxville & Gatlinburg – Day 2

Hey Guys!

This post continues our time in Gatlinburg.

Read Day 1 here & Click here to read my post on Gatlinburg from May 2023

Today, we checked out of our hotel, the River Edge Inn and headed to breakfast at the Log Cabin Pancake House.

The restaurant was only about a 5 minute drive from our hotel.

This place is usually packed out so get here early!

We arrived around 8:30 on a Sunday and were seated right away but it got really busy shortly after we arrived.

The Log Cabin Pancake House has been family owned & operated since 1976.

They are open daily from 7 am – 2 pm and serve breakfast all day!

See their menu here

Once we were seated, we looked over the menu.

We both decided on the pancakes since this place is listed in the top four pancake restaurants to try!

I ordered a side of bacon with my pancakes and the hubby ordered a side of sausage and hash browns.

The food was delicious!!

Read reviews here

The restaurant lives us to it’s name…it’s housed in an old log cabin with pieces that are at least 200 yrs old!

After breakfast, we decided to once again, drive the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail since it had come a flood on us the day before.

Tip: This drive is a 5.5 mile one way road so be sure to have plenty of gas…click here for a map of the drive and the stops you can do along the way

There are several historical home sites along this drive.

Right before entering the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail,  you can make a stop at the Noah “Bud” Ogle Farm.

The homestead consists of a cabin, barn, and tubmill, all of which were built by Bud Ogle, and were added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1977.

Ogle’s great-grandparents, William Billy and Martha Huskey Ogle, were the first white settlers to move to the Gatlinburg area.

There is also a self guided 3/4th mile trail that you can walk.

Pictures of the house

Inside the house we spotted bats!!

Pictures of the barn

After leaving here, we continued our drive towards the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail.

Tip: Just beyond the Ogle farmstead is the trailhead for Rainbow Falls, one of the park’s most popular waterfalls. The hike to the falls is 5.4 miles roundtrip and is considered moderately strenuous. Click here for more hikes along this road

We were driving super slow in hopes of spotting a bear as they are often seen in this area.

Tip: Read here for the best places to see bears in Gatlinburg

Sure enough, I spotted one.. so, we pulled over and got out of the car.

Unfortunately, it had wandered too deep into the woods so we couldn’t get a good picture of it.

Not long after beginning the 5.5 mile drive, you will come to a pullover that has beautiful mountain views.

Tip: Shortly after turning onto the Motor Nature Trail, you’ll pass the Baskins Creek trailhead that leads to Baskins Creek Falls. The easy trail is a total of 3-miles round trip and leads to a 40 ft waterfall

In some places, the road is very narrow!

Our next stop was the Jim Bales historic homestead.

The corn crib and barn are Bales’s, but the cabin actually belonged to a man by the name of Alex Cole who lived in the Sugarland area.

It was relocated here so that its original location could be returned to nature. Bales moved to the area in the 1860s and lived here until the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was created in the early 1930s.

After this stop, we made another stop at the Ephraim Bales Place.

This was the brother of Jim Bales.

Ephraim Bales owned 72 acres here. He farmed 30; the rest remained wooded.

He and his wife Minerva had 9 children!

Can you imagine 11 people living in this cabin?!

Pictures of some of the other buildings on the property

After leaving here, we continued our drive only to make another stop at an old grist mill called the Alfred Reagan Mill.

Alfred Regan, who built the mill in 1895, farmed here for a living. His home was very close by to the mill and would be our next stop.

A tub mill like this could produce a bushel of cornmeal a day.

Our next stop was the Alfred Regan homestead.

Alfred Regan was a farmer by trade but had numerous talents and skills.

He built a blacksmith shop for the community as well as a store & the mill. He also contributed the resources to build coffins when someone died. He also preached regularly at the church he helped build on land he donated.

The cabin’s design is known as a “saddlebag” design, which involves two cabins constructed around a single chimney. A kitchen area was added later.

The house was very unique as it was painted which is rarely ever seen on any of these historic homes.

As we were leaving the house, I spotted this cool looking mushroom!

Next, we stopped at what’s called, the Place of a Thousand Drips.

Tip: Also located on this drive is the popular Grotto Falls hike...you can actually walk behind this falls! The hike is 3 mi round trip.

The Place of a Thousand Drips is a waterfall that can be seen from your vehicle.

It’s best viewed during the rainy season.

Not many “drips” were flowing when we visited.

Your next stop on this drive will be the Ely’s Mill gift shop.

The shop at Ely’s Mill has always been a shop for nearly 100 years. It originated as a showroom for the furniture made in the woodwork run by the water wheel that is still visible today.

The shop offers antiques, collectibles, handmade and locally made items, books and maps on the Great Smoky Mountains, baked goods, pottery and much more.

There are several historic buildings on the property.

You can even rent this cabin!

There are a few other houses here you can rent as well.

After leaving here, we decided to drive up to Clingman’s Dome.

To get to Clingman’s Dome from Gatliburg, you will need to drive the scenic Newfound Gap Rd.

The scenic roadway travels between the Sugarlands Visitor Center near Gatlinburg, up and over the mountains and into Cherokee, NC.

The 31-mile stretch of mountain road is the only fully paved road in the park and the only one that travels through the park’s center.

Click here for the 10 most scenic drives in Gatlinburg

This drive is beautiful and has several pullovers along the way.

As you drive along the road, you will meander through dense forests filled with deciduous trees and may even spot some of the park’s wildlife, like deer or black bears.

About 0.1 mile south of Newfound Gap is the turn-off for Clingman’s Dome.

You will follow this road for seven miles to the Dome, the highest point in the park and the highest point in Tennessee at 6,643 feet.

Once we arrived and parked, we headed to the visitors center to purchase some water.

They also have a gift shop and sell a few snacks.

The walk to the Dome is short (1 mi roundtrip) but very steep & strenuous!

Tip: If you don’t want to walk to the dome, there are beautiful views from the parking lot and at the nearby Newfound Gap.

Make sure to wear good shoes and have water…I had to stop several times on the way up!

Tip: The temperature here is usually 10-20 degrees cooler due to the elevation so be prepared!

There were lots of flowers blooming along the walk.

There are several benches along the way if you need to stop and rest.

Completed in 1959, the Clingmans Dome observation tower is the highest point in the Smoky Mountains.

It stands over 6,000 feet tall and offers 360-degree views.

The views were awesome!

On clear days, you can see almost 100 miles in any direction from the top of the tower.

Tip: Click here to read about a “secret tunnel” near Clingman’s Dome

More shots of the dome

This is a very popular site in Gatlingburg and the crowds proved it!

Going back down was so much better!

The famous 2,190 mile Appalachian Trail can also be accessed from this same area.

You have beautiful views from the parking lot too!

After leaving here, we headed back home.

Tip: Click here, here & here for  “secrets” & gems of Gatlinburg & Click here to read about Parrot Mountain and Gardens

On the way home, I convinced my hubby that he had to stop at Buc-ee’s!

I visited a Buc-ee’s for the first time when my sister & I went Gatlinburg in May.

I was amazed by this place!

Buc-ees’s has like 100 gas pumps and they don’t allow tractor trailer trucks…that’s a huge plus for me!

They also have the best bathrooms!

Their stores are huge and  have everything from a bakery, to fresh made food, fresh fudge, clothes, home decor, shoes, etc!

We purchased a couple of their freshly made sandwiches for dinner.

After we ate, we headed home.

On the way home, we saw some of the craziest looking clouds!!

Tip: Click here for 12 things you may not know about Buc-ee’s

Thanks for reading!

Click here to see a link to all of my blog posts






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