Thrill Seekers Find Adventure in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee
By Jon Hoffman © 2014, All Rights Reserved

Rollercoasters, racecars, ziplines, and rock climbing – if just the thought of these and other extreme sports makes you want to pack a bag and head out for a long weekend, you're in luck. All these and more can be found in one location: the Great Smoky Mountains.

Surprised? Don't be. Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, TN offer some of the most exciting adventures in the country, and with the central location and family-friendly atmosphere, it's the perfect spot for a getaway at any time of the year.

A Real-Life, Choose-Your-Own Adventure

No matter your taste in daring thrill rides, you'll find it in the Great Smoky Mountains. Combine a love of the outdoors with a thirst for adventure with a zipline tour or whitewater excursion. If you prefer the sound of a revving motor, claim the pole position at a scale-model NASCAR track or climb aboard a quad runner for a trail ride you won't soon forget.

When it comes to seeing the great outdoors from a new perspective, ziplines can't be beat. Strap on your harness and step off the platform for a thrilling flight through the treetops. Between each leg of your journey, you'll gaze upon a glorious landscape from a series of perches set high above the forest floor.

For a different kind of thrill and a backcountry tour few will ever experience, head for the Upper Pigeon River and a 2-hour rafting trip that includes more than 70 rapids. Hang on tight, though. A number of class III and IV rapids ensure even the most experienced boaters will enjoy the excitement this six-mile stretch of river offers.

If speed is what really gets your heart pumping, don't miss NASCAR Speedpark, where you'll have your pick of 3/8-scale versions of your favorite cars. The quarter-mile track gives you a taste of what it's like to race with the top drivers on the circuit, or choose the Slidewayz for the added challenge of tight curves and slick surfaces. In fact, try out all eight tracks and satisfy your need for speed.

Even indoor sports in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge can offer thrills. Get all the excitement of skydiving without the need for a plane when you step inside the indoor skydiving dome in Pigeon Forge. As the fans kick in, you'll be lifted from the ground to float with a feeling of weightlessness it's impossible to experience anywhere else. Or clip on a safety rope and scale one of several indoor rock-climbing walls in the area. Each one offers its own unique challenge, so climbers will want to try them all.

The Great Smoky Mountains might be known for gorgeous scenery and down-home hospitality, but adventure seekers will find plenty to love as well. A bird's-eye view of the mountains from a zipline makes for a thrilling ride, and a breathless plunge through a class IV rapid will cause your heart to skip more than a beat. Whether you're into racecars or rock climbing, or want to get a taste of everything, a trip to Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge will definitely fulfill your longing for adventure.


Jon Hoffman is Reservations Manager of Volunteer Cabin Rentals specializing in Smoky Mountain rental cabins in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, TN. Visit them today at to book cabins for weddings, vacations, reunions and other special events.