The Great Smoky Mountains are surrounded by many towns, including Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and Sevierville. These are among the most well-known tourist attractions in the United States, stipulated for their breathtaking beauty and wide range of recreational activities.
If you’re looking for an exciting vacation with your friends or family that blends nature’s splendor with thrilling outdoor activities, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park should be at the top of your list. These stunning highlands offer some of the most breathtaking vistas, diverse wildlife, and endless outdoor adventures.
Whether you enjoy exploring the great outdoors or engaging in thrilling experiences, you’ll never fall short of outdoor activities around the Great Smoky Mountains. Scroll down as we unveil some of the coolest outdoor activities you must try. Let’s begin!
Explore the Rugged Terrain of the Smoky Mountains on a Jeep
When it comes to outdoor adventures in the Great Smoky Mountains, nothing beats the heart-pounding adventure of tackling rocky slopes and muddy paths on a jeep. Jeep adventures provide a unique and exhilarating experience of exploring difficult terrain and viewing nature’s breathtaking grandeur in areas unreachable by roads, railroads, or hiking trails.
Best of all, you’ll find many Jeep expedition options, most of which provide guided tours off the main road and into the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains. This unique jeep tour offers the opportunity to access remote areas of the park.
But what’s a Jeep tour without the perfect off-road apparel and gear? Make your movie fantasy come to life with various off-roader attires and gears easily available at any jeep shop around the Great Smoky Mountains area. From trendy shirts to stylish jackets, hats, decals, and iconic gear, you will find everything you need to dress up in style for an extraordinary off-road experience.
Visit the Iconic SkyLift Park for an Adventure of a Lifetime
Adventure seekers can spend a day at SkyLift Park in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. SkyLift Park offers a perfect combo for those who want to revel in the panoramic views of the Great Smoky Mountains and indulge in spine-tingling outdoor activities.
The famous SkyLift chairlift takes you to the top of Crockett Mountain from downtown Gatlinburg. As you ascend to the mountaintop, you can soak in breathtaking panoramic views of the town and the expansive mountain range.
And if you’re looking for adventure, you can enjoy a thrilling walk across the SkyBridge, one of North America’s longest pedestrian suspension bridges. This 680-foot-long suspension bridge offers some stunning views of the valley. You can feel your heart pumping as you walk past the bridge over treetops and fast-flowing streams. And if that’s not enough to skip a heartbeat, step onto the glass-floor panels of the SkyDeck, a spacious observation deck that makes you feel suspended in the air at a height of 1800 feet above sea level.
The SkyTrail provides a scenic hiking experience for anyone exploring the mountain on foot. This preserved route goes through Crockett Mountain’s slopes and provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to interact with nature and spot the unique flora and fauna that call the Smokies home. After a day full of adventure, you can spend the evenings eating and shopping at the SkyCenter and grab some exquisite souvenirs and merchandise that celebrate the beauty of the Great Smokies.
Explore the Spectacular Valley of Cades Cove
If you love exploring the great outdoors and the unique cultural history of the Great Smoky Mountains, keep Cades Cove on top of your list! This captivating tourist attraction in the Great Smoky National Park provides a unique experience of exploring the decades-old cabin culture in a picturesque valley. You can take a trip back in time as you explore the region’s rich heritage and get a glimpse of the everyday life of early settlers.
Cades Cove is an 11-mile loop road that winds through the valley. On particular days, the loop track is open for cycling and hiking. You can choose between renting a bike or walking along the loop, passing by preserved cabins, ancient churches, and an old but operational grist mill. You can take a tour of the John P. Cable grist mill and watch how the early settlers used to grind grains into flour.
If you’re a nature enthusiast, Cades Cove provides a unique opportunity to fulfill your desire to interact with wild animals in their natural habitat. You can come close to the unique fauna of the Smokies, including elks, white-tailed deer, black bears, wild turkeys, coyotes, and other native animals as you walk past the loop.
And if that’s not enough to satisfy your craving for adventure, you can enjoy a one-of-a-kind riding experience Cades Cove has to offer. Cades Cove riding stables provide guided horseback riding tours across the Great Smoky Mountains’ rugged paths. Whether a skilled rider or a rookie, you can enjoy riding well-trained and friendly horses while enjoying the breathtaking views and the quaint natural atmosphere. Enjoy this remarkable and memorable experience as you ride past lust green forests, enchanting meadows, and mesmerizing water bodies.
Hone Your Hiking Skills at Clingmans Dome
Have you ever experienced being at the top of the world, reaching a vertical limit? If you haven’t already, hike up to Clingmans Dome, the highest peak in the Great Smoky Mountains, which stands tall at 6,643 feet. This spectacular peak invites dedicated hikers to put their trekking abilities to the test and reach the summit while taking in mesmerizing views.
On a clear day, hike the trek around sunrise and dusk to experience the true magnificence and tranquillity of this place. During this time, the sun casts magnificent hues on mountain peaks, bringing your most enchanting dreams to reality. If the weather is clear, you can view the entire mountain range and may even figure out the edge where Noth Carolina meets Tennessee.
White-Water Rafting on the Pigeon River
White-water rafting is an exhilarating and unforgettable adventure for tourists where you can immerse yourself in the untouched beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains. To enjoy this adrenaline-pumping outdoor activity, set out to the Pigeon River and take the smaller boats designed for the upper river sections.
Several tour operators in the area offer guided rafting trips that cater to different skill levels. If you’re in for a real challenge, you can take the thrilling class 3 or 4 rapids around the upper Pigeon River. Still, if you prefer a more relaxed rafting experience, consider opting for a lower Pigeon River rafting tour.
The Great Smoky Mountains is known for its unique blend of serene environment, natural beauty, cultural wealth, and various outdoor attractions. Therefore, it’s increasingly becoming a popular tourist destination for people around the globe. If you’re planning a perfect getaway, the Great Smoky Mountains and its surrounding area should be your first choice.
But before embarking on this unforgettable journey, it’s always best to book your accommodations and buy tickets to any or all of these outdoor activities well in time. This way, you can avoid last-minute hassles and ensure a smooth, memorable trip to the Smokies. Have a wonderful vacation!