The Gatlinburg, TN area offers endless opportunities for outdoor fun! The Great Smoky Mountains National Park covers 522,427 acres, with over 800 miles of hiking trails and about 2,900 miles of beautiful streams. To help you make the most of your next vacation, Stony Brook Cabins has put together a guide to seven of the best Smoky Mountain outdoor activities.
1. Admire the Views from Clingmans Dome
For the most breathtaking views in the Smokies, you can’t beat Clingmans Dome. At 6,643 feet, this observation tower is the highest point in the state of Tennessee and along the entire Appalachian Trail. On a clear day, visitors can see for over 100 miles. The paved walkway to Clingmans Dome is quite steep, but the breathtaking mountain vistas are totally worth the effort!
2. Go Whitewater Rafting on the Pigeon River
The Pigeon River is the third most rafted river in the entire country! The Lower Pigeon River is popular with families, since it is relatively mild and features mostly Class 1 and Class 2 rapids, while the Upper Pigeon River is great for more adventurous rafters, as it includes mostly Class 3 and Class 4 rapids. Smoky Mountain Outdoors provides fun rafting tours of both the lower and upper sections of the river.
3. Take a Trail Ride
Horseback riding is another one of the best Smoky Mountain outdoor activities. Sugarlands Riding Stables offers scenic trail rides through the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains National Parks. No prior horseback riding experience is necessary, as all of the horses at Sugarlands are well trained and very familiar with the trails.
4. Explore Cades Cove
Cades Cove is quite possibly the most beautiful section of the national park. This gorgeous valley features spectacular mountain views, large open field fields, and numerous historic buildings from the 1800s. Cades Cove is famous for its wildlife viewing, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled for black bears, wild turkey, white-tailed deer, and other critters. The valley’s 11 mile one-way loop road makes it easy to see all of the landmarks in Cades Cove.
5. Hike to Grotto Falls
Located about 1.3 miles into the Trillium Gap Trail, Grotto Falls is the only waterfall in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park that you can walk behind. In addition to the stunning waterfall, the Trillium Gap Trail also offers hikers the chance to see a herd of llamas during their trek! These llamas deliver supplies to the top of Mt. LeConte and can be seen along the trail on most Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings.
6. Enjoy a Canopy Tour
A canopy tour is the perfect way to add some adventure to your vacation! Located across the street from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, CLIMB Works is home to 9 thrilling ziplines. When you go ziplining at CLIMB Works, your feet won’t touch the ground for 2 ½ hours.
7. Have a Picnic
Even if you’re not looking to do any exercise during your trip, you can still enjoy the region’s natural beauty with a scenic picnic. We recommend picking up some sandwiches at Parton’s Deli and heading to Metcalf Bottoms, Greenbrier, Cades Cove, or another one of the national park’s picnic areas.
When you stay with Stony Brook Cabins, you will be able to take advantage of all these awesome Smoky Mountain outdoor activities. Our cabins come with your choice of relaxing amenities, including decks with mountain views, soothing hot tubs, fully furnished kitchens, BBQ grills, arcade games, and even more great features. With everything from 1 bedroom properties to 6 bedroom properties, we are sure to have the perfect accommodations for your next escape. To start planning your getaway, browse our selection of Smoky Mountain cabin rentals!