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Attractions, Gatlinburg, Great Smoky Mountains, Hiking, History, Parks

Gregory’s Cave

Gregory’s Cave is along the Cades Cove Loop.

Most caves are formed when limestone and sandstone fracture and weather over time. Gregory’s Cave is one of the largest caves in the Cades Cove area. The entrance to the cave is 10 feet wide and 4 feet tall. The cave is primarily a single large passage that ranges from 20 to 55 feet wide and 15 feet tall. There are quite a few side passages in the cave as well. In one of the side passages, there are pick marks along the wall, which indicates mining activity happened in the early 1800s.

Gregory Cave was actually the only cave in the national park that was developed as a commercial cave. In 1925, the cave was opened to the public by the Gregory family, who still lived in Cades Cove at the time. There were planks in the cave to walk across certain areas, and they installed battery powered lights. Gregory Cave was even used as an emergency shelter that would hold a maximum of 1,000 people when people still lived in the Cades Cove area. The cave was still open to the public in 1935, but when the national park bought the property from the Gregory family, it was closed. Today, the cave entrance is securely closed to the public.

Finding Gregory’s Cave

The John Oliver Place in Cades Cove.

You may be wondering how you would find the entrance to Gregory’s Cave. First, you have to drive down the Cades Cove Loop! Then, you’ll stop and get out of your vehicle when you reach John Oliver Cabin. There is a dirt road with metal bars in front of it to block cars, and you should follow it. On the right, there are two picnic tables, and you’ll continue going forward. Then, you’ll see the cave on the right around trees with boxes on them.

Taken from Visitmysmokies.com blog

Gatlinburg, Great Smoky Mountains, Pigeon Forge

17 top webcams to see live views of Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg

1. Anakeesta

With its new AnaVista tower, Anakeesta now offers some of the tallest views in downtown Gatlinburg.

And now, you can take in the views of Anakeesta from anywhere in the world! You can also get a view of Firefly Village.

View Anakeesta’s webcam

2. Cabins USA

Cabins USA offers a live view of the Parkway in Pigeon Forge.

This view shows the area near the Titanic Museum along the main strip and is a great way of getting a glimpse of the traffic in Pigeon Forge.

View the Cabins USA webcam

3. Clingmans Dome (GSMNP)

Clingmans Dome is the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, reaching an elevation of 6,643 feet.

With the Clingmans Dome webcam, you can view current conditions and compare the difference between a good visibility day compared to a bad visibility day.

On a clear day, guests can see a view of the mountains that spans over 100 miles.

View the Clingmans Dome webcam

4. Dollywood Eagle Cams

Dollywood is home to the largest exhibit for non-releasable Bald Eagles in the United States.

The eagle cams at Dollywood are one of my personal favorite views around the Smokies, because if you’re lucky, you might just be able to watch a baby eaglet grow up before your very eyes.

The Dollywood eagle cams are presented by the American Eagle Foundation.

View Dollywood’s eagle cam

5. Gatlinburg SkyLift Park

The SkyLift Park webcam offers a beautiful view of the mountains.

Watch guests at SkyLift Park board the lift with a beautiful bird’s eye view of the mountains in the background.

View the SkyLift Park webcam

6. Gatlinburg Space Needle

The camera at the Gatlinburg Space Needle overlooks the Gatlinburg Parkway and the Great Smoky Mountains.

This camera gives viewers an insight to current Gatlinburg traffic conditions.

View the Gatlinburg Space Needle webcam

7. Hearthside Cabin Rentals

Hearthside Cabin Rentals offers views of the Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge areas from a few of their cabins.

Get a sample of a beautiful mountain view from your cabin before you go!

View the Hearthside Cabin Rentals webcam

8. Newfound Gap

Newfound Gap, according to the National Park Service (NPS), is the lowest drivable pass through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

The Newfound Gap camera shows a live view to the Southeast as well as current weather conditions.

Digital images from web-based cameras are updated about every 15 minutes.

View the Newfound Gap camera

9. Look Rock (GSMNP)

Get a beautiful view of the mountains from Look Rock. This site also shows current air quality, visibility and weather conditions.

This camera is located on the edge of the park at mid-elevation with potential views of iconic landmarks such as Mount LeConte and Cades Cove.

View the Look Rock webcam

10. Ober Gatlinburg

Ober Gatlinburg offers not one, but two views of The Smokies. One view shows activities at Ober Gatlinburg, and the other shows a mountain valley view from Ober.

View the Ober Gatlinburg webcam 

11. Patriot Getaways

The Patriot Getaways cameras offer two views. One view shows Knotty Nest, which overlooks Pigeon Forge.

The second camera is above Smoky Mountain Escape Games. The Wheel at The Island in Pigeon Forge is visible in this live view.

View the Patriot Getaways webcam

12. Purchase Knob (GSMNP)

The camera from Purchase Knob looks northeast and shows the mountain view along with current weather conditions.

View the Purchase Knob camera

13. Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies

If a penguin cam doesn’t bring a smile to your face, I’m not sure what will.

Watch these flightless birds play around in the water at Ripley’s and check in on your friends if you can’t make it to the aquarium in person.

View the Ripley’s penguin cam

14. Rowdy Bear Mountain Coaster

The panoramic view from Rowdy Bear gives viewers an up close and personal view of the track at Rowdy Bear Mountain Adventure Park in Gatlinburg.

A panoramic shot of Rowdy Bear shows viewers the track as well as nearby landmarks.

View the Rowdy Bear webcam

15. Twin Creeks (GSMNP)

The Twin Creeks camera offers a view of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park at an elevation of about 1,932 feet.

This view is updated about every 15 minutes.

View the Twin Creeks camera

16. WATE

WATE also offers views of Pigeon Forge from their towercam, which is a great way to check current weather conditions of the area.

View the WATE webcam

17. WonderWorks Pigeon Forge

The WonderWorks webcam is a view of their building and its parking lot. So, if you’re considering a day at WonderWorks, the WonderWorks webcam can offer some insight to how crowded it might be.

View the WonderWorks webcam

What’s your favorite live view of the Great Smoky Mountains and Sevier County? Let us know in the comments!

Courtesy of the Smokies.com

Great Smoky Mountains, Hiking, History, Parks

History of the Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains is the most visited national park in the United States, and it’s no wonder! It’s stunning views and rich, cultural history make it a must-visit attraction! Here are a few more things you’ll want to know about the history of the Smoky Mountain National Park.

1. The Smokies are estimated to be anywhere from 200 to 300 million years old!

This makes them one of the oldest mountain ranges on Earth! Prehistoric people also occupied these mountains, but it wasn’t until the 20th century that human activity started to affect the natural course of events.

2. Many branches of the AAA were interested in developing roads so they could drive through the beautiful scenery.

3. The Land Wasn’t Easy to Buy

Joining the National Park System was far from easy for Great Smoky Mountains. Even with the money for the park in hand, the land for the park was still difficult to buy. This was mainly because it was owned by hundreds of small farmers, and a handful of large timber and paper companies.

4. Former Political Boosters Helped Raise Funds

The government was not allowed to buy land for national park use, so former political boosters stepped in to raise funds. By 1928, a total of $5 million had been raised, and The Laura Spelman Rockefeller Memorial Fund matched that amount.

5. The Civilian Conservation Corps Developed the Park

Many of the roads, hiking trails, and other structures, were developed by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The CCC was established as a federal work program in 1933. It provided employment and education to young men from all over the country during the Great Depression. The CCC worked until 1942, when World War II shut the program down. Learn more about the CCC and the history and culture of the Smokies on the National Park Service website.

Parts taken from https://smokymountainnationalpark.com/

Attractions, Gatlinburg, Great Smoky Mountains

Skylift Park Scenic Trail

North America’s longest pedestrian simple suspension bridge nestled in the Great Smoky Mountains also has a new scenic trail.

The Gatlinburg SkyTrail is a scenic walkway that will connect each end of the SkyBridge along Corockett Mountain. The trail will provide guests the opportunity to take a leisurely walk in the mountains along the half-elevated boardwalk, half paved walking path while enjoying new views of the famous SkyBridge. At just over one-third of a mile in length, the SkyTrail is an enjoyable walk for adults, kids, and even dogs and offer three distinct sections.

The Boardwalk is an elevated wooden walkway leading from the SkyDeck back along the hillside of the ravine that cuts under the SkyBridge.  Along the way, interactive signage provides information about the engineering of the SkyBridge, the history of iconic Gatlinburg SkyLift, and the wildfires of 2016 that swept across Crockett Mountain where the SkyTrail stands today.

The Lookout will is a steel tower set in the back of the ravine accessed by rope bridges and featuring elevated viewing platforms

At 680 feet across and 150 feet high, the Gatlinburg Skybridge is the only attraction in the downtown area where you can see the three highest peaks in the Smokies: Clingman’s Dome, Mount Le Conte and Mount Guyot.

The bridge may look bold at first, but when walking at a “normal pace” it takes only 3 minutes to get from one end to the other. However, visitors will no doubt want to stop along the way to take in that fresh mountain air an epic view.

Attractions, History, Parks

Things to do in Sevier County on a budget

Patriot Park

You can visit Patriot Park along Old Mill Square. The park is dedicated to veterans from Sevier County that served during wartime. The park offers a walking path, which takes you along the Little Pigeon River where you’ll see flags from the 50 states and from branches of the armed forces. The central point of Patriot Park is a Patriot Missile, which was made famous during the first Gulf War.

Walk Along Sevierville’s Greenways

Sevierville is home to multiple greenways, which are either situated along bodies of water or between commercial centers. These undeveloped tracts of land are exclusively meant for recreational enjoyment. The West Prong Greenway is especially beautiful, as it runs parallel to the West Prong Little Pigeon River. Enjoy a casual stroll along the river as you observe ducks, geese, and if you’re lucky, herons. If you’re in the mood for an extended journey, you’re welcome to hit up the Veteran’s Park Greenway, which will take you all the way to Pigeon Forge.

Trolley

The parking area for Patriot Park is also the hub for Pigeon Forge Mass Transit trolleys, which offer a convenient and affordable way to get around town.

Goof Off at the Mt. Ton of Fun Inclusive Playground

Kids and kids at heart adore the Mt. Ton of Fun Playground, which helps visitors move their muscles while also addressing their cognitive, emotional, and social needs. The playground’s accessible climbing structures are bound to keep young children entertained, while nearby exercise equipment takes the boredom out of fitness for adults. Designed to be fully inclusive, this playground brings the community together while promoting the spirit of lighthearted fun for which Sevierville is known.

Old Mill

You can tour The Old Mill. Guided Tours of our Historic Old Mill takes you back to 1830. Still operating today, very much as it did in 1830, the gristmill is listed on the National Register Of Historic Places and is also a stop on the Tennessee Civil War Trail. The tour guide, Emmitt, has been around the mill for more than 50 years, having played in the millpond as a kid and then became a miller’s assistant as a teenager. He regales visitors with stories, rumors, and quite a few facts, about how the mill has been in continuous operation since it opened almost 200 years ago. This is a family-friendly tour that guests of all ages will enjoy! $8.00 per adult.

Tour Historic Downtown Sevierville

Stop in at the Sevierville Chamber of Commerce to learn about local attractions and to pick up a free guide. Nearby, you’ll find several impressive structures worth viewing as you stroll through the historic district. During your walk, you’ll observe the architectural highlights of multiple historic periods represented in a variety of beautifully preserved structures. Top destinations include the Ashley W. Trotter House, the Goddard-Teague House, the Davis Hotel, and First Presbyterian Church. Visit just a few of these historic spots or build a full hour into your itinerary to check them all out. Some of the tour’s finest structures are private residences, so be sure to show your respect and enjoy from afar.

Moonshine Tasting

There are several free places to sample moonshine in Pigeon Forge. My favorite is Tennessee Legends Distillery. My husband loves Tennessee Shine Company which is across Vetersans Blvd from Patriot Park.

Discover Sevierville’s History at the Sevier County Heritage Museum

The Sevier County Heritage Museum may be tiny, but it’s definitely worth visiting. This free museum features a variety of rotating exhibits that are designed to enlighten guests on the region’s fascinating history. The museum maintains limited hours on weekdays but is also open for appointments. The volunteers that staff the museum are kind and clearly passionate about history. They love to share facts and stories with visitors, who emerge with a greater appreciation of the heritage that makes Sevierville so special.

Wine Tasting

There are also several places you can sample wine in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg for free.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

There is no admission to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. There are countless trails and unbelievable views waiting for you to explore. There are scenic drives for those who cannot hike. Foothills Parkway entrance is on Wears Vally Road. The Roaring Fork Motor Trail is located in Gatlinburg. Cades Cove is in Townsend and is a must every time we visit the area.

Explore the Area

There area covered bridges and swinging bridges in the area.

The Island in Pigeon Forge

The Island offers free admission, and you can enjoy the fountain, live bluegrass music, and window shopping without spending a dime. There is a fountain show every half an hour.

Watch a Movie at the Sevierville Commons

During the summer, free movie showings take over the Sevierville Commons on the 2nd Friday of each month. Stop by with loved ones for a family-friendly event that is nothing short of magical. While the movie may be the main attraction, the summer series also includes free pre-show activities such as crafts and dance parties. Concessions are typically available, with proceeds benefiting local non-profits. In the event of inclement weather, the movies shift to an indoor location, to be determined the day of the showing.

Downtown Gatlinburg

We enjoy walking around downtown Gatlinburg and doing some window shopping. Or you can spend hours walking around the Arts and Craft community of Gatlinburg to see some local artists.

Enjoy Some Peace And Quiet at the King Family Library

As the flagship for the Sevier County Public Library System, the King Family Library boasts a vast collection of books, magazines, DVDs, and more. Ample resources are available for visitors of all ages, including kids and teens. The structure is stunning both inside and out, with large windows offering plenty of natural light for those relaxing indoors. Don’t forget to stop by the third floor, where you’ll find an impressive history center dedicated to genealogy.

Sections taken from SmokyMountains.com blog