Some of the oldest mountains in the world are found among the Great Smoky Mountains of Gatlinburg. These peaks stand among the tallest mountains of the Appalachian chain. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited national park in the US. With 14.12 million visitors visiting the park in 2021, it is well known for its diverse flora and fauna. The park has 150 official hiking trails (over 800 miles) and breathtaking waterfalls and creaks hidden among the thick foliage.
This vocational hot spot is ideal for a weekend getaway and entertainment for all ages. With so much to do and so little time, this blog post is here to help you decide the best activities for your trip.
- Hike All the Trails
These scenic mountains are home to many breathtaking hiking trails and dirt tracks for off-road drives. If you enjoy nature and all its beauty, then get ready to explore the stunning trails in the Smokies. Some famous trails are listed below.
- Clingmans Dome, at the height of 6,643 feet, is the highest point in the Smokies. It is a 1-mile round trip with truly splendid views. The top of this trail is usually cooler than the rest of the park, so don’t forget to bring a jacket! This spot is famous for stargazing, providing a complete 360-degree view from the mountaintop.
- Next up, we have Laurel Falls. This 2.3-mile round trip is one of the easiest and busiest trails.
- The 3.3 miles Chimney Tops Trail is a favorite amongst more experienced hikers for its short, steep trail and panoramic views.
- Looking for a fun, moderate trail? Abrams Fall trail is a 5.2 miles round trip with a swimming hole and a waterfall.
- Try whitewater rafting
This one is for all the adrenaline lovers out there. If the wilderness isn’t wild enough, then line up for your turn at whitewater rafting with your trustee inflatable raft through the Pigeon River currents. And the best part? You and your group can sit back between the rapids to enjoy the peaceful views from the riverside. This activity is a favorite amongst summer tourists.
- Try some of the finest Wineries
The Smoky Mountains are quite famous for their many wineries and the services they offer. The wineries are divided into two trails. One trail goes through Pigeon Forge Sevierville (Rocky Top Wine Trail) and then passes through Gatlinburg, called the Gatlinburg Wine Trail.
The Tennessee homemade wines are known for their unique blends and exquisite taste. If you are interested in learning more about the process of making wines, many wineries offer tours that will give you an inside look into the production line. It will give you a chance to try and appreciate the unique flavor of the winery in Tennessee, and if you like, purchase a bottle or two to take home.
- Auto Touring in Historic Parks
The park houses five historic districts. It is also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Smokies have historic remains of European and Native American settlements over the years and animal migration paths. The Cade Coves is one of the most widely known historic sights among these mountains and is still visited by many.
You can drive along the 11-mile loop, which passes through the Cade Coves and runs through the lush green valley surrounded by the Smokies. A drive along this track includes an immersive experience of seeing various historical sites, including a grist mill, the Cade Cove, some historic buildings, and a lot of wildlife. You can also find several other auto tour paths through the Smokies.
- The Smoky Mountains Alpine Coaster
This coaster is the longest downhill track in the country, and you don’t want to miss out on it. The coaster has a double and single-seating cart option that you can ride up to 27mph. It is specially equipped to work in all weather conditions and is operational all year round. The coaster runs after dark with its mesmerizing display of LED lights.
- The Synchronized Fireflies Festival
Ever seen a synchronized fireflies show? Yes, it may sound unreal, but the Smokies offer a breathtaking fireflies show, and you cannot miss this one. The show happens in early May or June, but ticketing starts way before that, so keep a lookout if you want to grab yours.
Every year the fireflies light up the Elkmont area of the Smokies. The night sky is lit up by million twinkling fireflies completing their mating ritual. It’s hard to get passes for this one, but it’s worth the hassle.
- Meet a Smoky Mountain Black Bear
These guys love stealing the show amongst all the wildlife in the Smokies. The Smoky Mountain black bear is also the official mascot now. These big black fur balls are adorable and playful. It’s relatively easy to spot these adorable fur balls at any common black bear viewing site.
The Smokies are regarded to hold the densest population of black bears in the Eastern US. However, the Parklands are safe, but procedures and regulations should be followed.
- Go ziplining in the Smokies
Still haven’t satisfied the adventure streak in you? Let’s go fly through the Smokies! The Smoky Mountain ziplines are a memorable experience, bound to leave you in awe. This is a great experience to try with friends and family; if you don’t need prior experience on a zipline, go through it.
The Smokies have several zipline tracks throughout the area; each is completely safe and beautiful. The multiple ziplines in the Smokies offer multiple package options based on your age, financial circumstances, location, etc. You can fly above the treetops at speeds of 25 mph or go for lower and shorter ones zipping past waterfalls and other sights. If this sounds scary, don’t worry; you’ll have the time of your life to notice that.
The Great Smoky Mountains have a lot more to offer than you think. The Smokies should be next on your list of places to visit. Do your research before going, and be sure which season you want to experience at the Smokies, as each one is an immersive and unique experience. Regardless, whenever you may decide to go, you’ll have the time of your life.