Reprieve from city noise is only a drive away, in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Crisp, fresh air and the smell of wildflowers greet you on the drive from Atlanta, through Highlands, toward Nantahala National Forest. It’s the ideal backdrop for a day trip.
Hiking trails of varied distance and elevation offer beautiful views and a front-row seat to the inherent divinity of Nature. Rainbow Falls Trail is especially nice, with multiple waterfalls and swimming holes. At the base of Rainbow Falls, your rain jacket is penetrated by powerfully sprayed, cool mist. It’s a refreshing reminder of the waterfall’s force, like soft rain before a storm.
Continue on to Turtleback Falls where kids slide down rocks, into a swirling pool. Take care — the climb is slippery! Although wildlife is sparse, the landscape is fabulously plush and vibrantly green.
On the return, stop for a rest atop Rainbow Falls where you can feel subtle vibrations in the rock caused by the strength of rushing water. Whether or not the day is sunny enough to reveal a rainbow, here you will surely be inspired. This moment coupled with a lovely, brisk walk back in the rain, will be challenging to top. I like a good challenge, don’t you?