5 Ways to Enjoy the Smoky Mountain Outdoors
By Jon Hoffman © 2018, All Rights Reserved

Now that the weather's warm, it's your perfect chance to experience the Tennessee Smokies. From hiking to ziplining... water sliding to horseback riding... you'll find endless ways to see the great outdoors in the Gatlinburg-Pigeon Forge area.

1. Hike Through a Wildflower Wonderland
By May/June, early spring's legendary wildflowers have faded, but countless other plants are just beginning to blossom. Hike through leafy trails and lush meadows to view vivid flame azaleas, mountain laurel, and rhododendrons. Plus, look for brilliant late-spring blooms like Yellow Trillium, Bishop's Cap, and Thyme-Leaved Bluets.
If you're visiting around mid-June, consider hiking to Gregory Bald, accessible via the Gregory Ridge Parking Area at Cades Cove. The trail is steep and lengthy (11.3 miles roundtrip), but the spectacular views of flame azaleas are more than worth the trip.

Up for something slightly less strenuous? Opt for one of the area's roundtrip nature trails, such as the 3/4-mile Elkmount Trail or the paved, 1-mile Sugarlands Trail, ideal for visitors with disabilities.
Then there's the Coves Hardwood Self-Guided Trail, accessible from the Chimneys Picnic Area, 4.4 miles south of Sugarlands Visitor Center. Throughout May and June, this easy .7-mile loop gives you gorgeous up-close glimpses of beautiful mountain blossoms, along with breathtaking views of pristine old-growth forest.

Fox Fire Mountain

2. Zipline Through Stunning Scenery
Seeking outdoor thrills for the entire family? Check out ziplining opportunities around Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg.

At Foxfire Mountain Adventure Park (3757 Thomas Lane in Sevierville), you and your family members, ages 7 and up, can zip across mountains and valleys; cross waterfalls, creeks, and sky bridges; and view awesome forested vistas... all with the help of two expert guides committed to your safety.

At Gatlinburg's CLIMBworks, you can soar tree to tree on nine world-class ziplines, cross three aerial sky bridges, and relish eye-popping views of mountains and treetop canopy. (155 Branham Hollow Road. Ages 7 and up.)
And at ZipGatlinburg (125 Historic Nature Trail), kids as young as five can zip through a half-mile stretch of gorgeous greenery right over downtown Gatlinburg.

3. Make a Splash at Dollywood
How do you cool off when the Smokies heat up? With fresh, sparkling water, of course!

At Dollywood's Splash Country Water Park, you and your family can speed down thrilling water slides, float down a leisurely "river," make waves in a giant wave pool, get your feet wet with whitewater rafting, and much more. There's even a special soak-and-slide area expressly for younger children.



Wild flowers in the national park in spring


4. Ride Horseback Through the Mountains
If you love horses and riding, you're in luck. Several stables offer guided horseback rides through beautiful mountain trails near Gatlinburg-Pigeon Forge-Sevierville. Some also offer downhome wagon rides and horse-drawn carriage tours.

5. Savor a Smokies Family Picnic
Ready for something a bit more relaxing? Pack a delicious lunch and head for one of the scenic picnic areas dotted throughout the National Park. Most picnic spots provide tables, benches, and grills for charcoal grilling. All offer glorious views and space for kids to romp and play.

Book Your Mountain Cabin Now
You'll find many more opportunities for outdoor fun here in the spectacular Smokies... from fishing to kayaking, tubing to mountain biking. But remember, cabins fill up fast during this popular time of year. Contact Volunteer Cabin Rentals today to reserve your perfect cabin getaway.