Folks come from all over the world for outdoor adventures, family fun and memories in the Great Smoky Mountains. This National Park is the most visited national park in the United States (the second most visited park, the Grand Canyon, gets only half the visitors of the Smokies). The park is home to bears, birds and plenty more wildlife, so keep your eyes open when hiking the many trails.
Gatlinburg is one of America’s great mountain resort destinations and serves as the perfect staging point for exploring the area. Stay in one of the most beautiful mountain towns and explore the most-visited national park in America. Stroll the quaint streets and browse the art galleries and craft boutiques, all while admiring the Smoky Mountain backdrop. The town also offers top attractions for adventurers of all ages, creating fun and active family vacations.
The mountains and valleys are laced with 800 miles of hiking trails in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. You can set out on several trails right from Gatlinburg or drive to well-marked trailheads off the Park’s scenic, winding roads.
Abrams Falls – One of the most popular trails in the Smokies, Abrams Falls is in close proximity to Cades Cove. Beginning at the wooden bridge over Abrams Creek, the trail takes hikers along a pleasant and level course.
Ramsey Cascades – Ramsey Cascades is the highest waterfall accessible by trail in the park. Most of the water comes from the 6621-foot high Mt. Guyot, the second highest mountain in the Great Smoky Mountains. Water drops 100 feet over rock outcroppings and collects in a small pool where numerous salamanders can be found.
Clingman’s Dome Tower – When you reach the summit, you will be standing on the second highest peak east of the Mississippi River. The tower is reached via a wide ramp, making this trail an immediate favorite among families and groups with children.
There’s no experience quite like horseback riding in the Smoky Mountains. Enjoy breathtaking mountain scenery, spot wildlife and be one with nature. Riding horses in the Smokies is a whole different way to experience the mountains.
Get ready to rock the rapids on a whitewater rafting adventure. There’s nothing as exhilarating as a trip down an untamed river, and there are miles of Class III and IV rapids and plenty of outfitters to help you plan a group expedition or join one.
Experience your canopy adventure in downtown Gatlinburg. If you’ve been waiting to try ziplining or are ready to go again, outfitters can hook you up to some wild rides. Fly by the seat of your pants at 50 miles an hour on the edge of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Choose between a Zipline experience, Treetop Trek, or jump on the Net Course.
Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway
Enjoy spectacular views year round from aboard 120 passenger Aerial Tramway. Departs regularly from downtown Gatlinburg to Ober Gatlinburg Ski Area and Amusement Park. Featuring a host of activities from water park to scenic chairlift, and a full restaurant and lounge.
The Gatlinburg Space Needle is a 407-foot observation tower that overlooks the surrounding Smoky Mountains. Take one of two elevators to the top to get a 360-degree view of the area.
Cherokee Indian Reservation
The 56,000-acre Cherokee Indian Reservation, located on the North Carolina side of the Park, is home to more than 10,000 Eastern Band of the Cherokee members. Each year, thousands of visitors from across the country come to discover this enchanted land and to share the mountain beauty the Cherokee have treasured for centuries. The Reservation has a number of outstanding attractions. Among them is the Museum of the Cherokee Indian, Qualla Arts & Crafts Mutual, “Unto These Hills” Outdoor Drama, Oconaluftee Indian Village, and Harrah’s Cherokee Casino & Hotel.
Author: Jack Baumann has traveled frequently since he was a child, which sparked a passion for adventure, history, and cultural exchange. It was from this love of culture and adventure that brought Jack to the U.K. to study for his Masters in Ancient Greek and Roman Archaeology. While studying in Wales, he traveled around Europe by himself often, and it was here that the idea for Guidester was born. After returning home and working a full time job for two years, Jack was able to scrape together enough money to form a company and begin his great quest to help people travel better and smarter!