Attractions, Great Smoky Mountains, Hiking, Parks

Quieter areas of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park

The timing of your Great Smoky Vacations determines how many other visitors you will encounter.  Week days are always less crowded than the weekends.  January, February, May, Early November and Early December are also less traveled months in the Smokies.

However, there are many places in the National Park that you can still enjoy without encountering large groups of people.

Cades Cove is a very popular attraction in the Smokies.  If you get there early in the morning, you can avoid the crowds.  Many of the trails are not utilized.  Many travelers just stay in their car and only get out at the historic structures.  You can encounter the wildlife and not even have to get out of your vehicle.

Rich Mountain Road is a scenic drive located on the loop road at Cades Cove at the halfway point, across from the Cades Cove Missionary Baptist Church. You’ll pass by waterfalls, streams and cliff sides as you drive up Rich Mountain and down the other side toward Townsend. Rich Mountain Road is about 7 miles long — be prepared for a winding mountain drive with plenty of curves and turns!

Parsons Branch Road offers another way to leave Cades Cove. The entrance to this gravel road is located right at the halfway point of the Cades Cove Loop Road. Parsons Branch Road is an 8 mile, one-way road, along which you’ll cross 18 creeks and see plenty of beautiful scenery. This road ends at US 129, which is also known as the Tail of the Dragon, a popular motorcycle drive just outside of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Newfound Gap Road is surrounded by trails that are much less traveled.  Yet, just as beautiful as other trails.

To visit the Jump Off, hikers will follow the Appalachian Trail northbound from the Newfound Gap Parking area.  After a short hike on a gorgeous mountain ridge, you’ll be treated to a stunning drop-off with views of some of the most rugged parts of the mountains.

Charlies Bunion is another highlight on the Appalachian Trail near Newfound Gap. This challenging hike yields great rewards. The impressive mountain views and sense of seclusion are well worth some hard work on the trail.

Cataloochee Valley is another peaceful valley at the other end of the park that boasts historic sites, hiking trails, and wildlife. This peaceful mountain valley is famously home to a large elk herd and is one of the only places you can see wild elk in the Eastern US.  Warning, the road is quite squirley on the way in.  It is also a hike from the TN side of the Great Smoky Mountains.

Tremont is home to some of the most scenic sections of river in the national park. Tremont is a trout fisherman’s paradise and has some gorgeous waterfalls and hiking trails.

Upper Tremont Road is one of the best Smoky Mountain scenic drives that still remains a hidden gem. Located near Wears Valley, this drive is more popular in the fall and is perfect for those looking for a peaceful drive. It’s about 3 miles in length and follows a mountain stream with several waterfalls. At the end of the road, you’ll reach the Middle Prong Trailhead, which offers an easy waterfall hike. If you want to stretch your legs some more, hike to Spruce Flats Falls at the Tremont Institute while you’re in the area!

The Middle Prong Trail in Tremont is a waterfall hike that’s well-known for being quite easy. After only 1 mile of hiking, you’ll be treated to several cascading waterfalls.

The Greenbrier Road follows along a stretch of the Little Pigeon River. You can stop to fish or even go for a swim!  The scenic drive is about 6 miles long and offers views of large hemlock trees, maple trees and historic structures. Some of the structures you can see along the road are the John Messer Barn and the Tyson McCarter Place. The Greenbrier section is also home to Ramsey Cascades, the tallest waterfall in the Smoky Mountains!

 

Amusement, Attractions, Z00

RainForest Adventures Zoo

Home to hundreds of amazing and unique live animals from around the world. See leaping lemurs, giant porcupines, tropical animals and other creates from across the globe. Experience the beauty of the rainforest with your family. Witness species of mammals that most people have never heard of, including the genet and coatimundi.  Unique creatures from all of the major tropical and temperate forests of the world.

The zoo is locally owned.  A lot of the animals have been donated.  There will be some animals you can pick up and hold.  Allow at least 1.5 hours.  Every zoo I have ever been to with monkeys seems to have a strong urine smell.  This one is no exception.

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Handicap Accessible

Rainforest Adventures, 109 Nascar Dr, Sevierville, TN 37862-6917

http://rfadventures.com/

 

Amusement, Attractions, Pigeon Forge, Staying Active

AdventureWorks

adventurepark-fun-smokies-upper-level Race across hanging bridges, fly on rope swings, and zip between the treetops on this Pigeon Forge obstacle course. Piece together your own adventure from any of the available activities, which range from easy, kid-friendly moves  just 15 feet (4.5 meters) off the ground to thrilling 40-foot tall (12 meter) obstacles.

Adventureworks Pigeon Forge

info@adventureworks.com

(865) 774-3296

Amusement, Attractions, Entertainment, Museum, Pigeon Forge

5 of the Best Activities in Pigeon Forge TN for Kids

 

Looking for activities in Pigeon Forge TN you can enjoy with your kids? You’ll find all kinds of fun things to do! Whether they love theme parks, museums, or games, there are activities for every interest in Pigeon Forge. Check out 5 of the best activities in Pigeon Forge TN for kids:

 

  1. WonderWorks

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Do you want to find something fun and educational for your kids to do? Take them to WonderWorks! This attraction is an interactive museum your whole family will love. The building is commonly called the upside down house, so you definitely can’t miss it! Once inside, you can find fun in all of the Wonder Zones. You can feel how cold the water was the night the Titanic sank. Feel what hurricane winds and an earthquake are like. Lay on a bed of nails and get in a roller coaster simulator. Test your skills at virtual sports. Jump on the giant piano and on the Alien Stomper. There’s so much to do at WonderWorks!

 

  1. Arcade City

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Located at The Island in Pigeon Forge, Arcade City is a great place to take the kids if they love games. You’ll find all kinds of fun claw games where you can grab prizes. Win points by playing basketball and skeeball. Try to stop the light to win the jackpot, and try to get a ball to drop in the jackpot slot in other games. Once you’ve gained all the points you can, you can trade the points for prizes, such as stuffed animals, plastic figures, and so much more!

 

  1. Dollywood

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Dollywood is one of the most popular activities in Pigeon Forge TN. Kids and adults will both find things to entertain them at Dollywood. There are shows everyone will enjoy watching, from comedy to singing and dancing. Small children will love riding Busy Bees, while older kids will enjoy The Scrambler and the Dizzy Disk. Have a kid who loves thrills? Take them on The Barnstormer or the Tennessee Tornado. You’ll find plenty of snacks your kids will love around the park, from frozen lemonade to giant cookies from the Spotlight Bakery. Everyone will love their day at Dollywood!

 

  1. The Track

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If you’re looking for maximum entertainment, you need to take your kids to The Track in Pigeon Forge. You’ll find go karts for kids of all ages. The most popular is the Wild Woody, where the track winds up to 3 stories tall! After you ride go karts, get on some of the kiddie rides or splash each other on the bumper boats. Play a round of mini golf where you’ll spot animals you might see on a safari. Once you’re done outside, you can play games in the arcade!

 

  1. TopJump

 

What child doesn’t love to jump on trampolines? Your kids will love spending time at TopJump, an indoor trampoline park. There are open areas where you can just jump around. There’s also a climbing center where you can test your skills. Kids also love seeing how far they can get in the Fire & Ice Ninja Course. For small kids, the Kid Zone is the perfect place to play! Your whole family will find something that will entertain them at TopJump!
You’ll love the wide variety of activities in Pigeon Forge TN. Check out these other attractions you’ll want to try while you’re in town.

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Amusement, Attractions, Gatlinburg, Museum, Pigeon Forge, Shopping

Things to do in Sevier County when the weather is bad

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Visit Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies

Rain or shine, snow or sun, there’s never a bad time to visit Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies! This immersive facility is regularly recognized as one of the top aquariums in the United States.  In 2016, it was named by USA Today as the best place in the US to see penguins! There are so many exhibits to explore and animals to see, that you could spend the entire day at Ripley’s and still have more to do.  Once you’re done checking out the fish, the kids can enjoy the aquarium’s new gigantic indoor playground! If you’re looking to escape the cold and still have an adventure, Ripley’s is the place to go.

Speedway Fun

Drive at the Blake Jones Racing Center. If it’s too cold outside for go karts, head over to Blake Jones Racing Center.   One of the few covered Figure 8 Slick Tracks in the area and the only indoor Electric Go-Karts and Spin Zone Bumper Cars.

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Escape Game Rooms

The Escape Game in Pigeon Forge  Located at The Island, this real-life escape game requires guests to work together to try to escape a locked room. Find clues, solve puzzles, and get out in under 60 minutes!

Kryptology Escape Rooms is a fun, challenging way to spend time with your family during the winter. When you take on the challenge at Kryptology, it’s like stepping into a real-life video game. You’re given 60 minutes to find clues, answer riddles, and solve puzzles while trying to discover how to escape the room your placed in. Each room has a different immersive theme, like “The Orphanage” or “Vanished in Roswell”. Even though the rooms and challenges are very exciting, every room is family friendly and safe for younger children. You should plan on spending a total of about 90 minutes with Kryptology from start to finish.

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Scenic Drives

A wonderful way to experience the beauty of the Smokies is with a scenic drive. There are some great options in the area (including the Foothills Parkway), all with beautiful overlooks along the way. Pack some snacks, drinks, and a jacket and camera for when you want to hop out for a bit.

Anyone who has driven through Cades Cove knows that is one of the most beautiful parts of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.  Cades Cove is situated on an 11-mile one-way loop road that gives you the chance to sightsee at a leisurely pace. Along the way, there are plenty of pull-offs if you want to stop and take in the scenery. You’ll definitely want to take your time.  Some of the animals you could potentially see include black bears, white-tail deer, coyotes, turkeys, and more!

Community Centers

The Pigeon Forge Community Center offers basketball courts, pools, exercise equipment, and much more.

Shopping

What better way to pass a busy day than shopping? Head over to the Tanger Outlets in Sevierville to get great deals on clothes, accessories, electronics, home goods, specialty foods, toys, tools, and more! The Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community is the largest collection of crafters and traditional artists in the United States.

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Visit an Amazing Museum Attraction

Visiting one of the many amazing museums in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg is a great way to spend a rainy day. All of the museums in the Smokies pride themselves on offering one-of-a-kind, interactive exhibits. With so many different options to choose from, there’s something for everyone. Be sure to check out our blog, 7 Best Museums in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, for a full list of the best museums in the Smokies.

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The Titanic Museum Attraction in Pigeon Forge – You can touch an iceberg, feel how cold the water would have been on that fateful night, try to stand on a sinking deck, walk the Grand Staircase, and explore the ship as a passenger or crew member before learning your fate.