Outdoor Activities in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg

Tucked into the scenic landscapes of Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, the call of the great outdoors invites adventurers of all stripes. From the exhilarating descent on the Alpine Coaster to the tranquil trails of the Smokies, this article explores the most popular outdoor activities these vibrant locales have to offer.

Eager to experience the adrenaline rush of ziplining through canopies, the peacefulness of horseback rides, or the thrill of whitewater rafting? These twin cities present a varied array of adventures for anyone. Each activity not only promises unique experiences but also highlights the natural beauty and cultural richness of the region.

As you plan your next escape, let this guide inspire you to dive into the diverse outdoor pursuits available in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, where every trail, stream, and mountain peak has a story to tell.

Most Popular Outdoor Activities in Pigeon Forge

Alpine Coaster Thrills

One of the standout attractions in Pigeon Forge is the Alpine Coaster, an exhilarating ride that winds down the mountainous terrain at speeds that let you feel the rush while still taking in the scenic beauty.

Riders control their speed with brakes on their individual carts, making it a fun and safe adventure for all ages. The track is known for its smoothness and length, often cited as one of the longest downhill rides in the United States.

Hiking in the Smokies

The proximity of Pigeon Forge to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park makes it a prime location for hiking enthusiasts. With over 800 miles of trails, visitors can choose paths that lead through lush forests, alongside flowing streams, and to breathtaking mountain overlooks.

Popular trails include the Gatlinburg Trail and the Laurel Falls Trail, both of which are well-suited for beginners and offer rich natural scenery and ample wildlife viewing opportunities.

Ziplining Through the Canopy

For those seeking a bird's eye view, ziplining offers an exhilarating perspective of Pigeon Forge's natural landscapes. Numerous zipline adventures are available, providing a thrilling way to soar above the trees and experience the beauty of the area at high speeds.

Tours typically range from 1 to 2 hours and cater to all experience levels, making this a must-try for thrill-seekers and nature lovers alike.

Horseback Riding Trails

Exploring the rolling hills and wooded areas of Pigeon Forge on horseback is a peaceful way to connect with nature. Several stables in the area offer guided tours along private, scenic trails where riders of all skill levels can go at a gentle pace. This activity not only provides a unique vantage point of the terrain but also a chance to encounter wildlife in their natural habitat.

Whitewater Rafting on the Pigeon River

The Pigeon River, with its class III and IV rapids, offers some of the best whitewater rafting experiences in the area. Guided rafting trips provide all the excitement and thrills any adventurer could ask for. The upper section of the river is perfect for those looking for a more intense experience, while the lower section offers milder rapids suitable for families and first-time rafters.

Fishing in Mountain Streams

Pigeon Forge is a haven for anglers with its abundant streams and rivers teeming with trout. The Little Pigeon River and its tributaries are accessible for fishing and boast healthy populations of rainbow and brown trout.

Whether you prefer fly fishing or traditional angling, the serene waters provide a perfect setting for a day of fishing. Local outfitters offer gear rentals and guided tours to ensure a rewarding experience for everyone, from novices to experienced fishermen.

Biking the Greenways

For a more laid-back outdoor activity, biking along the greenways in Pigeon Forge offers a pleasant way to enjoy the outdoors. These well-maintained paths are ideal for families and leisure cyclists, providing safe and scenic routes through parks and alongside rivers. It's an excellent way to get some exercise while exploring the area at a relaxed pace.

Golfing with a View

Golf enthusiasts can enjoy several courses in Pigeon Forge, each offering challenging layouts with stunning views of the Smoky Mountains. The lush landscapes and well-kept fairways provide an enjoyable golfing experience. Whether you're a seasoned golfer or a beginner, the breathtaking scenery coupled with mild weather makes for a perfect day on the greens.

Hot Air Balloon Rides

For a truly unique perspective of Pigeon Forge, a hot air balloon ride offers an unforgettable experience. Floating peacefully above the landscape, passengers can see the Smoky Mountains, lush forests, and the bustling city below in a quiet and serene setting. This activity is perfect for special occasions or a memorable addition to any vacation.

ATV Off-Road Excursions

Lastly, if you prefer a more rugged adventure, ATV off-road tours provide an adrenaline-packed way to explore the backcountry of Pigeon Forge. These tours take participants through dirt trails, over hills, and into areas that are usually inaccessible by foot or car. It's a thrilling way to experience the wilder side of the Smokies while navigating through mud, puddles, and rough terrain.

Most Popular Outdoor Activities in Gatlinburg

Anakeesta - A Mountain of Adventure

Anakeesta is a must-visit destination in Gatlinburg, offering a unique mountain experience that includes treetop skywalks, scenic gondola rides, and a treehouse village adventure. This outdoor theme park provides a perfect blend of thrill and nature.

Visitors can walk among the treetops on hanging bridges and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding Smoky Mountains. The park also features a mountain coaster that rides through forested slopes and gardens, adding an element of excitement to the serene landscape.

Skylift Park and the SkyBridge

The Gatlinburg SkyLift Park offers one of the best views in the Smokies from the Gatlinburg SkyBridge, the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in North America. Visitors can take a chairlift to the top of Crockett Mountain, then walk across the SkyBridge, enjoying unmatched views of downtown Gatlinburg and the surrounding mountains. The experience is both exhilarating and scenic, with photo opportunities that are second to none.

Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway and Ski Area

Ober Gatlinburg offers a variety of year-round activities, but it's particularly popular in the winter for skiing, snowboarding, and snow tubing. The aerial tramway ride from downtown Gatlinburg to the ski area provides stunning aerial views of the Smoky Mountains.

In addition to winter sports, Ober Gatlinburg features an amusement park with outdoor activities like a mountain coaster, alpine slide, and chair swings, making it a versatile attraction for all seasons.

Exploring the Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community

For those who appreciate handcrafted artistry and more gentle pursuits, the Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community offers an eight-mile loop road that is home to a thriving community of artists and craftsmen.

Visitors can explore this area by foot or by car, visiting studios and shops where local artisans sell pottery, paintings, quilts, and more. It's a wonderful way to enjoy the outdoors while appreciating the artistry of the region.

Paragliding Over the Smokies

For the ultimate adrenaline rush, paragliding over the Smoky Mountains offers a breathtaking experience. With professional guides, even beginners can safely glide over the landscape, enjoying unparalleled views of the mountains and forests.

Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies

While primarily an indoor attraction, Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies deserves mention for its unique outdoor penguin playhouse, where visitors can watch penguins in an open-air exhibit.

The aquarium also offers a glass-bottom boat adventure over Shark Lagoon, allowing guests to see marine life from a unique vantage point. It's a different kind of outdoor activity that combines education and entertainment.

Gatlinburg Space Needle

The Gatlinburg Space Needle isn't just an observation tower. It provides a full 360-degree view of the Smoky Mountains and downtown Gatlinburg from its outdoor observation deck, 407 feet above the ground. The view is especially spectacular at sunset, making it a popular spot for visitors looking to capture the beauty of the area in a quiet, reflective moment.

Guided Nature Tours

Gatlinburg offers numerous guided nature tours that allow visitors to explore the flora and fauna of the Smokies with knowledgeable guides. These tours can include bird watching, wildlife spotting, and botanical walks, where guests can learn about the biodiversity of the region. These tours are excellent for families and anyone interested in learning more about the natural environment of the Smokies.

Go-Karting and Mini Golf

For some family-friendly outdoor fun, Gatlinburg boasts several go-kart tracks and mini-golf courses that offer a break from the more strenuous activities. These attractions, while simple, provide hours of entertainment and are a great way to spend time outdoors without the need for extensive planning or equipment.

Outdoor Photography Workshops

Lastly, Gatlinburg is a haven for photographers, from beginners to professionals. The natural scenery and unique landmarks provide perfect subjects for photography. Several local photographers offer workshops that teach techniques for capturing the stunning landscapes and cityscapes, making this a popular activity for those who want to improve their skills while enjoying the great outdoors.

Is Anakeesta a Lot of Walking?

Visiting Anakeesta in Gatlinburg does involve a fair amount of walking, but it's manageable for most visitors. The park is designed to blend seamlessly with the natural mountain terrain, which means there are paths and walkways that wind through the area, including the scenic Treetop Skywalk, one of the longest tree-based bridges in North America. These walkways are well-maintained and offer various places to rest and enjoy the views.

For those concerned about mobility or who prefer not to walk as much, Anakeesta provides options to minimize the amount of walking required. Guests can take a Chondola ride—part chairlift, part gondola—from downtown Gatlinburg directly into the heart of Anakeesta. Once at the top, the park layout allows for relatively easy navigation. There are also plenty of benches and seating areas scattered throughout the park.

However, to fully experience all the attractions, including the gardens, memorial forest walk, and panoramic viewing platforms, some walking is unavoidable. The park's design, while hilly in parts, generally provides a leisurely and enjoyable experience even for those who take their time exploring.

Is there Bungee Jumping in Gatlinburg?

Gatlinburg does not feature traditional bungee jumping, but thrill-seekers can find similar adrenaline-pumping experiences nearby. For those looking for a bungee-like experience, Gatlinburg offers the SkyBridge at Skylift Park, which includes thrilling heights and spectacular views.

Additionally, the area around Gatlinburg has several adventure parks where visitors can engage in activities like ziplining and skydiving, which provide comparable rushes. For true bungee jumping, visitors might need to travel a bit further outside the immediate Gatlinburg area to find specific bungee jumping facilities.

Is Alpine Coaster Worth it?

The Alpine Coaster in Pigeon Forge offers a unique blend of thrill and scenic beauty, making it well worth a visit. As one of the longest downhill coasters in the United States, it provides an exhilarating ride with the ability to control your own speed, catering to both thrill-seekers and those who prefer a more leisurely pace.

The coaster winds through beautiful forested landscapes, offering breathtaking views of the Smoky Mountains. The experience combines excitement with the charm of the natural surroundings, making it a memorable activity for families, couples, or solo adventurers looking for a unique way to experience the area.

Vacationing with Stony brook cabins

Vacation at Stony Brook Cabins, where the vibrant towns of Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg are your gateways to the grandeur of nature, inviting you to a world where adventure and serenity coexist. These towns offer an extensive selection of activities that are perfect for anyone with a passion for the great outdoors or a desire to find peace amidst the wilderness.

Embark on an unforgettable journey with the exhilarating Alpine Coaster and soar through the treetops on expansive zipline tours in Pigeon Forge. Or perhaps you'll find your adventure in the skies over Gatlinburg, experiencing the thrill of Anakeesta's unique aerial attractions or the breathtaking vistas from the SkyBridge.

Stony Brook Cabins places you at the heart of these diverse offerings, ensuring that no matter what your outdoor inclination may be—be it the tranquil endeavor of horseback riding through scenic trails, embracing the quiet beauty of a mountain hike, or seeking the thrill of whitewater rafting and hitting the slopes for some skiing—Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg will cater to your every whim.

It's not just about the activities; it's about what they offer you. The vast range of outdoor experiences available is designed to boost your physical wellness while also fostering a profound connection with the natural world. Choosing Stony Brook Cabins for your vacation means choosing a place where every pursuit, whether thrilling or soothing, is met with the majestic backdrop of the Smoky Mountains. It's the ideal setting for those who yearn for both the excitement of adventure and the peace found in nature's embrace.

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