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Falling for Tennessee © Bernie Kasper/Getty Images
Although it might not look like it in this image of a tranquil fall day, Roaring Fork in Great Smoky Mountains National Park has earned its ferocious name. The stream descends 2,500 feet over just 2 miles—a steep drop. After heavy rains, Roaring Fork transforms into a whitewater rush, the sound echoing off the mountainsides. But during drier spells, the stream quiets to more of a babbling brook, as seen here along the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. The popular 5.5-mile loop drive passes waterfalls, well-preserved historic log cabins, and scenic overlooks of a forest that during this time of year reaches its fall color peak, exploding in bold yellows, oranges, and reds. These are just some of the things that make Great Smoky Mountains the most popular national park in the country.