Smoky Mountains Zen

Smoky Mountains Zen © William Britten use with permission only

It’s Philosophical Friday once again. Today’s post is about making stacks of balanced stones as art and therapy.

Some days you just need to go out and stack some stones. Right? Just head out along some creek and start wandering, looking for a good selection of rocks. The right color, right shape, ability to get along in a stack. Then spend some time forming your stacks. First some failures and some flops, but finally a nice little tower of stones with good balance. And in the process you might find a little balance in yourself. Stacking stones seems to be of universal appeal.

I like to find a good location for these zen stacks. Maybe near a road where a passerby will glance over and see the stack in its natural setting and be touched by the small mystery.

The stacks in these images were all created along the Middle Prong of the Little Pigeon river in the Greenbrier section of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Greenbrier entrance to the Park is closest to my home, so I spend a lot of time there.

Smoky Mountains photos: stacking rocks

Smoky Mountains photos: stacking rocks © William Britten use with permission only

Thanks of course to Andy Goldsworthy, the master of transient art in nature.

When you’re done stacking your stones and taking your hikes, come on out to the William Britten Gallery along the historic Arts and Crafts Loop on Glades Rd. in Gatlinburg. You’ll find my complete display of Smoky Mountains photos which are also full of zen tranquility. There may be a special memory for you to take home with you.

Smoky Mountains Zen

Smoky Mountains Zen © William Britten use with permission only

Related Stories

End of Summer
End of Summer

It seems like every year as we move from August to September, all the signs suddenly point to the end of summer.  In these Smoky Mountains photos of...


  1. Noel

    beautiful! what makes you decide to use a certain stone?

  2. Linda Rieck

    I am a stone stacker on the Townsend side!

  3. Marianne

    I hope you left them like that 🙂

  4. sandy

    I love seeing this on hikes! thanks

  5. Joseph

    Warning to those who want to also do this in a National Park. Make sure you get permission first. You can can in trouble for stone stacking as it is part of the disturbing natural environment law. In National Parks you are not supposed to move or take” rocks, plants, seeds, feathers, bones and other natural substances”. You can be escorted out or even fined depending on the situation. That being said stone stacking is amazing and you should do so in non-protected areas whenever you’re out. Check your state regulations for state parks.


  1. Hearts for Nature, Hearts for All | Wings, Worms, and Wonder - [...] photos of zen stone stacks and a little info on the practice of stacking here and [...]

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


error: Content is protected !!