Unveil Mother Nature’s Masterpiece: The Top Secret Spots for Fall Foliage in the Smoky Mountains

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, located on the border between North Carolina and Tennessee, is a popular destination for experiencing the vibrant fall colors of the Appalachian Mountains. The best locations to see the fall colors in the Smoky Mountains include:

End of September

The leaves are starting to turn, but can be a little spotty. Get to elevations above 6,000 feet for best results

  1. Blue Ridge Parkway: While not within the national park itself, the Blue Ridge Parkway, which connects the Smoky Mountains to the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, is renowned for its fall foliage. You can access the Blue Ridge Parkway from the park and enjoy the vibrant colors along the way.
  2. Graveyard Fields – Near Asheville, NC this hiking trail is just off the Blue Ridge Parkway
  3. Rough Ridge – This is a 1.2 mile hike just off the Blue Ridge Parkway
Great Smoky Mountains

Beginning of October

Get to elevations above 5,000 feet for best results

  1. Clingmans Dome: This is the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and offers stunning panoramic views of the fall foliage. The observation tower at the summit provides a fantastic vantage point.
  2. Beach Mountain
  3. Mount Mitchell
  4. Grandfather Mountain

Early October

This is usually the prime time in higher elevations for the fall change of colors on the leaves, especially for elevations around 4,000-5,000 feet. You’ll see amazing colors around most of Blue Ridge Parkway and Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

  1. Blue Ridge Parkway
  2. Nearly all of Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  3. Newfound Gap Road: This scenic drive through the park offers breathtaking views and many opportunities to see the changing colors. There are pull-offs and overlooks along the way where you can stop and enjoy the scenery.
  4. Linn Cove Viaduct: This is a concrete bridge and roadway that cuts through part of Grandfather Mountain, making for an incredibly scenic drive during this time.

Mid/Late October

You’ll start to see areas in 3,000-4000 feet elevation come in with fall foliage in the Smoky Mountains during this time.

  1. Skyline drive – This runs North and South along the Blue Ridge Mountains, near the Shenandoah National Park. You’ll find fall foliage in the higher elevations along this drive.
  2. Pisgah National Forest
  3. Boone, NC
  4. Banner Elk, NC
  5. Maggie Valley/Waynesville

Still looking for the perfect family cabin in the Smoky Mountains?

Look no further, and book your stay with us!

Mountain views from the deck
Mountain views from the deck
Cabin view of the back deck
Cabin view of the back deck
Fire pit at dusk
Fire pit at dusk
7-seater hot tub
7-seater hot tub
Game room equipped with ping pong, foosball, and pool
Spacious Game room and movie space
Open living room
Open living room
Dedicated movie space + Popcorn machine!
Battle on the arcade games
Battle on the arcade games
Dining room + Kitchen island
Upstairs king master bedroom with mountain views
Upstairs king master bedroom with mountain views
Second upstairs king bedroom with views of the mountains
2nd upstairs king bedroom with views of the mountains
Downstairs queen bedroom and Roku TV
Downstairs queen bedroom and Roku TV
2 twin bunk beds in the open game room
Jacuzzi off the 2nd king bedroom
Newly remodeled kitchen + island
Newly remodeled kitchen + island
Driveway at dawn
Driveway at dawn
Access to the community pool
Access to the community pool

End of October

This is typically the prime time when the fall foliage really starts to explode around Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg areas, around 2,000 – 3,000 feet elevation.

  1. Cades Cove – This valley is one of the most popular spots in the park, offering a mix of open fields and wooded areas. It’s a great place to see wildlife and fall colors together.
  2. Chimney Rock/Lake Lure – This is a State park on the North Carolina side.
  3. Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail: This one-way loop road is known for its dense forest and beautiful fall colors. It’s a great place for a leisurely drive or a short hike to see the leaves up close.

As for the best dates to see the fall colors in the Smoky Mountains, they typically peak in mid-October at higher elevations and in late October at lower elevations. Keep in mind that fall foliage can be somewhat unpredictable and can vary from year to year due to factors like temperature and rainfall. To get the most accurate and up-to-date information, you can check with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park website or local visitor centers for fall foliage reports and updates closer to your planned visit. Planning your trip for mid to late October will increase your chances of experiencing the vibrant autumn colors in the Smoky Mountains.

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When have you visited to see the fall foliage in the Smoky Mountains? What viewing spots or scenic drives do you like most? Comment below!

Battle of the Bird! Local’s Thanksgiving Dinner Guide in Pigeon Forge

Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, Tennessee, are beautiful places to spend Thanksgiving with your family. Sure you could go to Cracker Barrel, Shoneys, or Margaritaville, but you want something where the locals go…not something you could get in your hometown.

Here are our top restaurants in the area visited by locals that have traditionally served Thanksgiving dinners. Keep in mind that availability and offerings may change from year to year, so it’s a good idea to call ahead or check their websites for the most up-to-date information. Also, due to Thanksgiving being a popular holiday for dining out, making reservations in advance is highly recommended.

1. The Old Mill Restaurant

  • Summary: The Old Mill Restaurant is a charming establishment located in Pigeon Forge, known for its historic ambiance and Southern cuisine. Thanksgiving at The Old Mill typically features a traditional turkey dinner with all the fixings. The Old Mill remains our #1 pick on our Thanksgiving Dinner Guide in Pigeon Forge
  • Average Cost: Expect to pay around $25-40 per person for the Thanksgiving meal.
  • Reservations: Reservations are recommended and can be made through their website or by calling.

2. The Peddler Steakhouse

  • Summary: The Peddler Steakhouse, located in Gatlinburg, offers a rustic dining experience with a focus on top-quality steaks. For Thanksgiving, they often serve a special holiday menu alongside their regular offerings.
  • Average Cost: Prices vary depending on your choice of steak or Thanksgiving specials, but plan on spending around $30-60 per person.
  • Reservations: Reservations are highly recommended, especially for Thanksgiving.

3. Park Grill Steakhouse

  • Summary: Situated in Gatlinburg, the Park Grill Steakhouse is known for its delicious steaks and seafood. They typically offer a Thanksgiving buffet with a variety of traditional and Southern dishes.
  • Average Cost: The Thanksgiving buffet cost is usually around $35-45 per person.
  • Reservations: Reservations are strongly recommended, especially for holiday dining.

4. Calhoun’s Restaurant

  • Summary: Calhoun’s features an upscale mountain lodge atmosphere. Conveniently located on the Parkway in the center of the Pigeon Forge shopping area. They’ll be serving up a special Thanksgiving dinner.
  • Average Cost: Prices vary based on your choice of food/drinks, but expect to spend approximately $25-40 per person.
  • Reservations: It’s advisable to make reservations, especially during the holiday season.

Still looking for the perfect family cabin in the Smoky Mountains?

Look no further, and book your stay with us!

Mountain views from the deck
Mountain views from the deck
Cabin view of the back deck
Cabin view of the back deck
Fire pit at dusk
Fire pit at dusk
7-seater hot tub
7-seater hot tub
Game room equipped with ping pong, foosball, and pool
Spacious Game room and movie space
Open living room
Open living room
Dedicated movie space + Popcorn machine!
Battle on the arcade games
Battle on the arcade games
Dining room + Kitchen island
Upstairs king master bedroom with mountain views
Upstairs king master bedroom with mountain views
Second upstairs king bedroom with views of the mountains
2nd upstairs king bedroom with views of the mountains
Downstairs queen bedroom and Roku TV
Downstairs queen bedroom and Roku TV
2 twin bunk beds in the open game room
Jacuzzi off the 2nd king bedroom
Newly remodeled kitchen + island
Newly remodeled kitchen + island
Driveway at dawn
Driveway at dawn
Access to the community pool
Access to the community pool

5. Mama’s Farmhouse

  • Summary: Mama’s is a popular restaurant buffet that gives you an all-you-can-eat experience. You can expect special Thanksgiving dishes and turkey during Thanksgiving.
  • Average Cost: Prices for the buffet are approximately $20-40 per person.
  • Reservations: It’s advisable to make reservations, especially during the holiday season. For reservations call 800-992-9780.

6. Applewood Farmhouse Restaurant

  • Summary: Located in Sevierville, just outside Pigeon Forge, the Applewood Farmhouse Restaurant is known for its Southern comfort food. They typically serve a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with a country twist.
  • Average Cost: Thanksgiving meals are usually priced around $20-30 per person.
  • Reservations: Reservations are recommended for Thanksgiving dining.

Remember to check with these restaurants closer to your travel dates to confirm their Thanksgiving offerings, prices, and reservation policies. Enjoy your Thanksgiving vacation in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg!

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Send Inquiry: If you’re not quite ready to book, you can send an inquiry with any questions.

Have you spent Thanksgiving in the area? What restaurants would you add to our Thanksgiving Dinner Guide in Pigeon Forge? We’d love to hear your thoughts. Comment below!

Unveiling the Secret to Landing MONSTER Trout: Your Ultimate Guide to Fishing the Smoky Mountains!

As a dedicated family man, you’re about to embark on an unforgettable journey into the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains, where hidden fishing gems await you. This ultimate guide will equip you with insider tips on where to find those secret spots for fishing in the Smoky Mountains, what types of fish to target, the best bait to use, and the most exciting fishing techniques to create lasting memories with your family. We’ve also added a few local fishing shops and license requirements.

Exploring the Pristine Waters

Discover the Smoky Mountains’ pristine fishing spots that are perfect for reeling in the big ones:

  • Little River: This is a popular spot for fly fishing and is home to rainbow and brown trout. The water is crystal clear and offers great opportunities for catching fish.
  • Oconaluftee River: Found in the Cherokee area, this river is known for its healthy population of rainbow and brown trout. It’s easily accessible and offers both fly and spin fishing opportunities.
  • Deep Creek: This area is known for its variety of fish species, including brook, brown, and rainbow trout. The Deep Creek Trail offers a scenic backdrop for fishing.
  • Hazel Creek: Accessible by boat or hiking, Hazel Creek offers remote fishing opportunities for those willing to make the trek. It’s known for its large brown trout population.
  • Abrams Creek: This creek is famous for its brook trout population and is a great place for fly fishing. It’s easily accessible and offers a picturesque setting.
  • West Prong of the Little Pigeon River: This river is easily accessible from Gatlinburg and offers a mix of rainbow and brown trout. It’s a great spot for both beginners and experienced anglers.
  • Greenbrier Campground on the Little Pigeon River: This amazing campground was recently named the #1 campground for fishing in the US and Canada in the 2024 Campspot Awards
  • Roaring Fork: This stream is known for its beautiful scenery and offers a chance to catch brook, rainbow, and brown trout.
  • Cataloochee Creek: This creek is located in the Cataloochee Valley and offers opportunities to catch brook trout in a serene setting.
  • Fontana Lake: If you’re interested in lake fishing, Fontana Lake provides opportunities for catching smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, walleye, and more.

Fishing Variety

There is an array of fish species that call the Smoky Mountains home, most commonly:

  • Rainbow Trout: Abundant and eager to bite, they’re perfect for beginners.
  • Brown Trout: Known for their elusive nature, these challenge more experienced anglers.
  • Brook Trout: Discover these colorful gems in cold, clear mountain streams.

Best Bait and Lures:

Equip yourselves with the right tools to entice the fish. We always recommend checking with a local shop for the best bait, flies and lures that’s right for the time of year.

  • Live Worms: A universal favorite for trout.
  • Artificial Flies: Ideal for fly fishing; try different patterns to see what works best. Always recommend you check with a local shop
  • Spinners and Lures: Great for attracting aggressive trout.

Fishing Techniques

You’ll find a variety of techniques will be effective for catching fish.

  • Fly Fishing: Engage in a classic angling method that requires skill and precision.
  • Spin Fishing: Cast spinners or lures for a more action-packed approach.
  • Bait Fishing: Simple and effective, especially for beginners.

Preparing for Success

Before you set out, remember these important tips:

  • Obtain Fishing Licenses: Ensure you and your boys are properly licensed.
  • Check Regulations: Stay updated on fishing regulations in the area.
  • Gear Up: Pack essentials like fishing rods, lines, hooks, pliers, and sunscreen.
  • Dress Appropriately: Wear comfortable clothing and sturdy footwear for hiking.

Embrace the Experience

More than just fishing, relish the moments spent in nature with your family:

  • Capture Memories: Bring a camera to immortalize your adventures.
  • Wildlife Spotting: Keep an eye out for local animals, enhancing the experience.
  • Teach and Learn: Pass on fishing wisdom and learn together.

Still looking for the perfect family cabin in the Smoky Mountains?

Look no further, and book your stay with us!

Mountain views from the deck
Mountain views from the deck
Cabin view of the back deck
Cabin view of the back deck
Fire pit at dusk
Fire pit at dusk
7-seater hot tub
7-seater hot tub
Game room equipped with ping pong, foosball, and pool
Spacious Game room and movie space
Open living room
Open living room
Dedicated movie space + Popcorn machine!
Battle on the arcade games
Battle on the arcade games
Dining room + Kitchen island
Upstairs king master bedroom with mountain views
Upstairs king master bedroom with mountain views
Second upstairs king bedroom with views of the mountains
2nd upstairs king bedroom with views of the mountains
Downstairs queen bedroom and Roku TV
Downstairs queen bedroom and Roku TV
2 twin bunk beds in the open game room
Jacuzzi off the 2nd king bedroom
Newly remodeled kitchen + island
Newly remodeled kitchen + island
Driveway at dawn
Driveway at dawn
Access to the community pool
Access to the community pool

Local Fishing Shops

  1. Little River Outfitters
    Location: Townsend, TN
    Website: https://littleriveroutfitters.com/
    Description: A well-known and respected fly fishing shop offering a wide range of gear, clothing, and fly tying materials. They also provide guide services and classes.
  2. 3 Rivers Angler
    Location: Knoxville, TN
    Website: https://www.3riversangler.com/
    Description: A comprehensive fly shop in Knoxville offering a diverse selection of fly fishing equipment, along with expert advice and guided trips.
  3. Smoky Mountain Angler
    Location: Gatlinburg, TN
    Website: https://smokymountainangler.com/
    Description: Located at the entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, this shop offers gear for fly and spin fishing, as well as guided fishing trips.
  4. Little Pigeon River Outdoors
    Location: Sevierville, TN
    Website: https://www.littlepigeonriveroutdoors.com/
    Description: A family-owned shop offering fishing gear, bait, and tackle, as well as information about fishing in the local area.
  5. Cherokee Angler
    Location: Cherokee, NC
    Website: http://www.cherokeeangler.com/
    Description: Situated on the Cherokee Indian Reservation, this shop provides fishing gear, licenses, and information about fishing in Cherokee’s rivers and streams.
  6. Clingmans Dome Outfitters
    Location: Bryson City, NC
    Website: https://www.clingmansdome.com/
    Description: Located near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, this shop offers outdoor gear, including fishing supplies, along with information on local fishing spots.

These shops should provide you with a variety of fishing gear, advice, and local knowledge to make your fishing trip in the Smoky Mountains a successful and enjoyable experience. Always check their websites or contact them directly for the latest information on their offerings and services.

Fishing Licenses

Anyone 13 or older must have a valid fishing license in Tennessee. Out of state residents may purchase 3 day licenses at these locations:

  • Walmart (Sevierville),
  • Pigeon Forge Hardware (2519 McGill Street near Kroger)
  • Clabough’s Market (405 Wears Valley Rd)
  • Ace Hardware of Gatlinburg (1025 E. Parkway)
  • Old Smoky Outfitters (511 E. Parkway)
  • Smoky Mountain Angler (376 E. Parkway)

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park has hundreds of miles of streams where you can fish. Your Tennessee fishing license is good throughout the park–even if you are fishing on the North Carolina side of GSMNP. Here’s a link to the park’s website where you can get more details on fishing opportunities and regulations.

If you’re looking for more of a you hook ‘em we cook ‘em experience, check out English MountainTrout Farm where they have farmed trout and will cook them for you for dinner in a few different varieties.

Conclusion: Your journey into the Smoky Mountains promises not only exciting fishing opportunities but also an unforgettable bonding experience with your boys. With this ultimate guide in hand, you’re ready to explore secret fishing holes, reel in impressive catches, and create cherished memories that will last a lifetime. So grab your gear, your boys, and your sense of adventure – the Smoky Mountains await!

Book Now: This goes to our secure portal to review your info and confirm booking.

Send Inquiry: If you’re not quite ready to book, you can send an inquiry with any questions.

Magical Christmas in the Smokys: Exploring Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg’s Holiday Wonderland

Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, Tennessee are popular destinations during the Christmas in the Smokys, offering a range of activities and attractions for families. Here are some things you can do around Christmas time in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg:

Christmas in the Smokys & Things to Do

Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas: Visit Dollywood, a renowned theme park in Pigeon Forge, which transforms into a winter wonderland during Christmas. Enjoy festive lights, beautifully decorated trees, holiday shows, and thrilling rides.

The Island Winterfest: Explore The Island, a shopping, dining, and entertainment complex in Pigeon Forge. They often have special Christmas events, including a tree lighting ceremony, festive decorations, and live music.

Winterfest: Experience the Winterfest celebration in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, where the entire area is adorned with millions of twinkling lights. Take a scenic drive along the Parkway to enjoy the stunning light displays.


Still looking for the perfect family cabin in the Smoky Mountains?

Look no further, and book your stay with us!

Mountain views from the deck
Mountain views from the deck
Cabin view of the back deck
Cabin view of the back deck
Fire pit at dusk
Fire pit at dusk
7-seater hot tub
7-seater hot tub
Game room equipped with ping pong, foosball, and pool
Spacious Game room and movie space
Open living room
Open living room
Dedicated movie space + Popcorn machine!
Battle on the arcade games
Battle on the arcade games
Dining room + Kitchen island
Upstairs king master bedroom with mountain views
Upstairs king master bedroom with mountain views
Second upstairs king bedroom with views of the mountains
2nd upstairs king bedroom with views of the mountains
Downstairs queen bedroom and Roku TV
Downstairs queen bedroom and Roku TV
2 twin bunk beds in the open game room
Jacuzzi off the 2nd king bedroom
Newly remodeled kitchen + island
Newly remodeled kitchen + island
Driveway at dawn
Driveway at dawn
Access to the community pool
Access to the community pool

Cozy Cabin Getaways: Renting cabins in the Smoky Mountains during Christmas can be a cozy and memorable experience for families. Our cabin gets decked out with a beautiful Christmas tree next to our fireplace, so you feel right at home while sipping egg nog and opening presents. Enjoy quality time together amidst the beautiful winter scenery off our back deck!

Christmas shows and theaters: Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg are known for their excellent entertainment options. Catch a Christmas-themed show or visit one of the theaters offering holiday performances, including musicals, comedy shows, and concerts. Some of the best shows are Dolly Parton’s Stampede Christmas Show, Christmas disaster at Hatfield & McCoy, Comedy Barn Christmas Show, and Paula Deen’s Lumberjack Christmas Show.

Ober Gatlinburg: Head to Ober Gatlinburg, a mountain-top amusement park and ski area, for a variety of winter activities. Enjoy ice skating, snow tubing, skiing, snowboarding, and breathtaking views of the Smoky Mountains.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Take advantage of the natural beauty surrounding the area by exploring Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Enjoy hiking trails, scenic drives, and the chance to spot wildlife in their winter habitat.

Gatlinburg Winter Magic Tunes & Tales: Experience live holiday performances by musicians, storytellers, and characters along the streets of downtown Gatlinburg. It’s a festive and interactive way to celebrate the season.

Santa’s Claus-et: Visit Santa’s Claus-et, a Christmas-themed shop in Gatlinburg, offering a wide selection of ornaments, decorations, and unique gifts. It’s a great place to find something special to commemorate your visit.

Christmas shopping: Explore the numerous shops, boutiques, and outlets in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, where you can find holiday gifts, handmade crafts, and local specialties.

Seasonal Dining: Many restaurants in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg offer special Christmas menus or holiday-themed dishes. It’s an opportunity to indulge in delicious meals, festive treats, and warm beverages while enjoying the holiday ambiance. See our locals-guide to the best eats in the area.

Remember to check the specific dates and availability of events and attractions, as they may vary each year. Enjoy your Christmas vacation in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg!

Christmas in the Smokys & Weather

The weather in the Smokys around Christmas typically features cold temperatures and the possibility of winter precipitation. Please note that these are historical averages and actual weather conditions can vary from year to year. For the most up-to-date forecasts, it’s always best to check a reliable weather source closer to the specific date.

Here are the historical average weather conditions for Pigeon Forge around Christmas:

  1. Temperature: The average high temperature during the day is around 45°F (7°C), and the average low temperature at night is around 26°F (-3°C).
  2. Precipitation: December is considered one of the wetter months in Pigeon Forge. You can expect occasional rain showers or snowfall. Snow is possible, but the average snowfall is relatively low, around 1 to 2 inches.
  3. Humidity: Humidity levels tend to be moderate during this time of year.
  4. Sunshine: You can expect around 5 to 6 hours of daylight per day during December.

Keep in mind that these are historical averages, and actual weather conditions can vary. It’s always a good idea to check the local weather forecast before traveling to ensure you are prepared for the conditions during your visit.

Book Now: This goes to our secure portal to review your info and confirm booking.

Send Inquiry: If you’re not quite ready to book, you can send an inquiry with any questions.

What are your favorite things to do during Christmas in the Smokys? We want to know! Comment below.

10 reasons Fall in the Smoky Mountains is the Best Time to Visit

Fall in the Smoky Mountains is truly a magical time, and one of the best times to visit offering a range of delightful experiences and breathtaking scenery. Here are some of the best things about fall in the Smoky Mountains:

1. Vibrant Fall Foliage

The Smoky Mountains come alive with an explosion of colors during the fall season. The leaves of deciduous trees turn brilliant shades of red, orange, and gold, creating a stunning tapestry of color across the landscape. See all the fall colors.

2. Scenic Drives

The park’s scenic drives, such as the Cades Cove Loop Road, Newfound Gap Road, and the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, offer picturesque views of the fall foliage. You can enjoy the vibrant colors from the comfort of your car and stop at designated overlooks for photo opportunities. See the official auto tourism site from NPS.

3. Hiking in Autumn Splendor

Fall is an excellent time for hiking in the Smokies. The trails are surrounded by the colorful foliage, creating a picturesque backdrop for your outdoor adventures. The cool, crisp air and milder temperatures make hiking more comfortable, and you can enjoy the sights and sounds of nature without the summer crowds.

4. Wildlife Viewing

Fall is the time when many animals in the Smoky Mountains are preparing for the winter months. You might spot black bears, white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, and various bird species as they forage for food and engage in mating rituals. The vibrant fall colors provide a stunning backdrop for wildlife photography.

5. Harvest Festivals and Events

The surrounding communities celebrate the fall season with various festivals and events. You can enjoy live music, arts and crafts fairs, traditional Appalachian food, and local produce. The Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair and the Townsend Fall Festival are popular events that showcase the region’s culture and heritage. (Click here for the full list of seasonal events)

6. Smoky Mountain Heritage

Fall is a time when you can experience the rich heritage and traditions of the Smoky Mountains. Visit historic homesteads, such as the Mountain Farm Museum in the park, to learn about early settlers’ way of life and their connection to the land.


Still looking for the perfect family cabin in the Smoky Mountains?

Look no further, and book your stay with us!

Mountain views from the deck
Mountain views from the deck
Cabin view of the back deck
Cabin view of the back deck
Fire pit at dusk
Fire pit at dusk
7-seater hot tub
7-seater hot tub
Game room equipped with ping pong, foosball, and pool
Spacious Game room and movie space
Open living room
Open living room
Dedicated movie space + Popcorn machine!
Battle on the arcade games
Battle on the arcade games
Dining room + Kitchen island
Upstairs king master bedroom with mountain views
Upstairs king master bedroom with mountain views
Second upstairs king bedroom with views of the mountains
2nd upstairs king bedroom with views of the mountains
Downstairs queen bedroom and Roku TV
Downstairs queen bedroom and Roku TV
2 twin bunk beds in the open game room
Jacuzzi off the 2nd king bedroom
Newly remodeled kitchen + island
Newly remodeled kitchen + island
Driveway at dawn
Driveway at dawn
Access to the community pool
Access to the community pool

7. Cool and Comfortable Weather

The fall weather in the Smokies is generally mild, with cooler temperatures and lower humidity compared to the summer months. It’s a pleasant time to explore the park without the scorching heat and humidity that can be present in other seasons.

8. Waterfall Beauty

The park’s numerous waterfalls take on a different charm during the fall season. Surrounded by the colorful foliage, these cascades become even more picturesque. Some popular waterfalls to visit in the fall include Laurel Falls, Abrams Falls, and Rainbow Falls.f

9. Tranquility and Solitude

Fall is considered the shoulder season in the Smoky Mountains, meaning fewer crowds compared to the summer months. This allows for a more peaceful and serene experience in the park, with fewer people on the trails and more opportunities to connect with nature.

10. Photography Opportunities

The stunning fall colors, misty mornings, and soft light create ideal conditions for photography enthusiasts. Whether you’re a professional or a casual photographer, the Smoky Mountains in the fall offer countless opportunities to capture breathtaking images.

These are just a few of the best things about fall in the Smoky Mountains. The combination of autumn foliage, outdoor activities, cultural events, and the natural beauty of the park makes it a truly remarkable season to visit.

Book Now: This goes to our secure portal to review your info and confirm booking.

Send Inquiry: If you’re not quite ready to book, you can send an inquiry with any questions.

Have you come to the Smokys in the Fall? What are your favorite things about the Fall in the Smoky Mountains? We’d love to hear your thoughts. Comment below!

Best Place to Watch Fireworks in the Smokys

In the Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and Wears Valley areas, there are a few popular locations to watch fireworks displays. Not that this is a very busy time of year. It’s summertime, school is out, and it’s a Holiday weekend. There will be lots of cars on the road, so go early to find a parking spot and claim a good spot to set up for fireworks. Or ride the free Parkway trolley that makes stops along the Parkway between Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.

Here are some options that offer great views:

1. Patriot Park (Pigeon Forge): Patriot Park is a popular gathering spot for various events, including fireworks displays. It’s a spacious park with ample seating and grassy areas. Many people choose to watch fireworks from here due to its central location and unobstructed views.

2. Gatlinburg’s Fireworks Finale: Join the celebration in downtown Gatlinburg to mark our nation’s “Independence Day” with a spectacular 20-minute firework show starting at 11:00 p.m. from the Gatlinburg Space Needle. Spectators can view the fireworks from any vantage point in Gatlinburg. This event is designated as a Top 20 event by the Southeast Tourism Society. The city does their 4th of July parade at 12:01 am on the 4th. It’s been a long running tradition for the last 45 years and is the first city in the nation to hold the parade ever since.
Good to know: put your chairs out early to claim your spot. Often people put their chairs out a day or two before the parade.

3. Dollywood (Pigeon Forge): Dollywood, the famous theme park, occasionally presents spectacular fireworks displays. If you happen to visit Dollywood, you can enjoy the fireworks from within the park. They typically launch the fireworks near the entrance area, and you can view them from various locations inside the park.

Unique spots to watch fireworks in the Smokys

4. You may be able to see fireworks from your cabin, as long as you’re high enough and have a good view.

5. The Island in Pigeon Forge: The Island is a vibrant entertainment complex that often hosts fireworks shows on special occasions. It features numerous restaurants, shops, and attractions. The large open area around the Ferris wheel provides an excellent vantage point to enjoy the fireworks.

6. Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster (Pigeon Forge): If you’re seeking a unique experience, the Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster offers thrilling rides during the day and an opportunity to view fireworks from a different perspective at night. As you glide along the coaster track, you’ll be able to enjoy the fireworks display.


Still looking for the perfect family cabin in the Smoky Mountains?

Look no further, and book your stay with us!

Mountain views from the deck
Mountain views from the deck
Cabin view of the back deck
Cabin view of the back deck
Fire pit at dusk
Fire pit at dusk
7-seater hot tub
7-seater hot tub
Game room equipped with ping pong, foosball, and pool
Spacious Game room and movie space
Open living room
Open living room
Dedicated movie space + Popcorn machine!
Battle on the arcade games
Battle on the arcade games
Dining room + Kitchen island
Upstairs king master bedroom with mountain views
Upstairs king master bedroom with mountain views
Second upstairs king bedroom with views of the mountains
2nd upstairs king bedroom with views of the mountains
Downstairs queen bedroom and Roku TV
Downstairs queen bedroom and Roku TV
2 twin bunk beds in the open game room
Jacuzzi off the 2nd king bedroom
Newly remodeled kitchen + island
Newly remodeled kitchen + island
Driveway at dawn
Driveway at dawn
Access to the community pool
Access to the community pool

These locations are popular choices for watching fireworks in the Wears Valley and Pigeon Forge area, but it’s important to note that fireworks displays may vary depending on events and holidays. It’s always a good idea to check local event calendars or contact the specific venues for accurate information on upcoming fireworks shows.

What are your favorite spots to watch fireworks in the Smokys? We want to know, comment below!

Eat Like a Local in the Smoky Mountains

Everywhere you look on the Parkway, you’ll find restaurants trying to lure you in with their buffets, dinner shows, diners, etc. But these places aren’t where the locals go. Here’s your go-to guide to eat like a local in the Smoky Mountains. We’ve separated it out by town and included a brief description for each restaurant so that you can find the best place to eat.

Eat Like a Local in Pigeon Forge:

1. The Old Mill Restaurant ($$): Known for its traditional Southern cuisine and historic setting, featuring dishes like fried chicken and homemade desserts.

2. The Pottery House Café and Grille ($$): Located at Old Mill Square, this restaurant offers a cozy atmosphere and serves American cuisine, including sandwiches, soups, and salads.

3. Frizzle Chicken Cafe ($$): Start your morning off right with a fun-filled meal at Frizzle Chicken Café! Perfect spot to take the kids for breakfast or lunch. Their family-friendly restaurant in Pigeon Forge serves up delicious, Southern-style breakfast and lunch with a side of fun. There won’t be a minute of boredom during your meal as you watch their animatronic singing chickens!

4. The Local Goat ($$): This is probably the most popular restaurant in the area. It’s a gastropub offering a farm-to-table experience with a wide range of dishes, including burgers, salads, and locally sourced ingredients. They make everything from scratch, from the buns to the ketchup. Reservations are highly recommended as this place gets packed.

5. Bennett’s Pit Bar-B-Que ($$): This barbecue joint is popular among locals and visitors alike. They serve up delicious smoked meats like pulled pork, ribs, and brisket, along with classic sides like mac and cheese and baked beans.

6. The Apple Barn Cider Mill & General Store ($$): A Pigeon Forge institution, the Apple Barn is a favorite among locals. They serve hearty Southern fare, including apple fritters, fried chicken, and country-fried steak. Don’t forget to try their famous apple cider and apple butter!

7. Mama’s Farmhouse ($$): If you’re looking for a family-style dining experience, locals often recommend Mama’s Farmhouse. They offer an all-you-can-eat feast of Southern comfort food, including fried chicken, meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and cornbread.

8. The Local Goat Distillery ($$): For those interested in craft spirits, the Local Goat Distillery is a popular spot. They offer tastings of their locally distilled whiskey, moonshine, and other spirits, along with a small food menu featuring snacks and appetizers.

9. Blue Moose Burgers & Wings ($$): This family-friendly restaurant is known for its juicy burgers, flavorful wings, and a wide variety of sauces. They also have vegetarian options and a selection of craft beers.

10. Little Tokyo ($$): If you’re craving Japanese cuisine, Little Tokyo is a popular choice. They offer a range of sushi rolls, sashimi, teriyaki dishes, and other Japanese specialties in a cozy setting.

Eat Like a Local in Gatlinburg:

1. The Peddler Steakhouse ($$$): A long-standing local favorite specializing in hand-cut steaks, grilled to perfection, and served with delicious sides.

2. Cherokee Grill ($$): Known for its upscale mountain lodge ambiance, this restaurant offers a diverse menu featuring steaks, seafood, and regional favorites.

3. Best Italian Café & Pizzeria ($$): A family-owned Italian restaurant serving pizza, pasta, and classic Italian dishes in a relaxed atmosphere.

4. No Way Jose’s Mexican Cantina ($$): Are you looking for authentic Mexican food in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge? They combine the delicious and fresh flavors of Mexican dishes and mix it with a fun and family-friendly atmosphere. They have both Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg restaurant locations.

5. Crazy Mason Milkshake Bar ($): Indulge yourself in a crazy, and we mean crazy milkshake stacked high with all sorts of delectible treats. Your kids will go wild at the sight of these and their sugar high will last for hours.

5. The Park Grill ($$): Another popular steakhouse in Gatlinburg, The Park Grill is known for its wood-fired steaks, fresh seafood, and extensive salad bar. It has a cozy mountain lodge atmosphere and is a favorite among locals and visitors alike.

6. The Donut Friar ($): For a delightful breakfast or snack, locals often visit The Donut Friar. Located in The Village Shops, this charming bakery offers freshly baked pastries, including their famous cinnamon bread and donuts. Pair it with a cup of coffee for a perfect start to the day.

7. Delauder’s Smoky Mountain BBQ ($): If you’re craving barbecue, locals recommend Delauder’s Smoky Mountain BBQ. They serve mouthwatering smoked meats like pulled pork, ribs, and chicken, along with delicious sides like baked beans and coleslaw. It’s a casual and authentic barbecue joint loved by locals.

8. The Greenbrier Restaurant ($$$): Tucked away in the Smoky Mountains, The Greenbrier Restaurant is known for its scenic views and excellent food. They offer a menu featuring Southern cuisine, including dishes like trout almondine, shrimp and grits, and prime rib.

9. The Alamo Steakhouse ($$): It’s been ranked the best steak of Pigeon Forge, so you won’t regret a visit to Alamo Steakhouse. With it’s aged steaks, burgers, soups, sides, and sauces, you can’t go wrong!

10. The Wild Plum Tea Room ($$): Located in Gatlinburg, this tea room is known for its charming atmosphere and delicious teas, sandwiches, and desserts.


Still looking for the perfect family cabin in the Smoky Mountains?

Look no further, and book your stay with us!

Mountain views from the deck
Mountain views from the deck
Cabin view of the back deck
Cabin view of the back deck
Fire pit at dusk
Fire pit at dusk
7-seater hot tub
7-seater hot tub
Game room equipped with ping pong, foosball, and pool
Spacious Game room and movie space
Open living room
Open living room
Dedicated movie space + Popcorn machine!
Battle on the arcade games
Battle on the arcade games
Dining room + Kitchen island
Upstairs king master bedroom with mountain views
Upstairs king master bedroom with mountain views
Second upstairs king bedroom with views of the mountains
2nd upstairs king bedroom with views of the mountains
Downstairs queen bedroom and Roku TV
Downstairs queen bedroom and Roku TV
2 twin bunk beds in the open game room
Jacuzzi off the 2nd king bedroom
Newly remodeled kitchen + island
Newly remodeled kitchen + island
Driveway at dawn
Driveway at dawn
Access to the community pool
Access to the community pool

Eat Like a Local in Sevierville:

1. Applewood Farmhouse Restaurant ($$): The oldest restaurant in Sevierville, this is a local favorite featuring hearty southern food and orchard fruits. It’s owned by the same local company as LeConte Lodge.

2. The Chop House ($$): Known for its delicious steaks and seafood, The Chop House offers a warm and inviting atmosphere. They also have a great selection of wines to complement your meal.

3. Trotter’s Whole Hog BBQ ($$): New for 2023, this is a artisan BBQ restaurant located in the Historic District of downtown Sevierville. It’s owned by the same folks of The Appalachian and the BBQ served sets a high bar of excellence. They also have a pour-it-yourself beer wall.

4. Thai Basil ($$): If you’re in the mood for Thai cuisine, Thai Basil is a popular choice. They serve authentic Thai dishes made with fresh ingredients, including curries, stir-fries, and noodle dishes.

5. Tony Gore’s Smoky Mountain BBQ & Grill ($$): This barbecue joint is a favorite among locals and visitors alike. They serve mouthwatering ribs, pulled pork, and other barbecue classics, along with delicious sides.

6. Five Oaks Farm Kitchen ($$): This is a wonderful southern cooking at its finest. Enjoy their ring baked griddle cakes, hearty soups, or fried chicken. Set in a beautiful vaulted ceiling cabin-like interior, this is a favorite among locals and located on the North end of Sevierville.

7. Graze Burgers ($$): For burger enthusiasts, Graze Burgers is a must-visit. They offer gourmet burgers made with high-quality ingredients and unique flavor combinations. They also have vegetarian and gluten-free options.

8. The Appalachian ($$$$): Located in The Lodge at Five Oaks, The Appalachian is known for its farm-to-table concept. They serve dishes inspired by Appalachian cuisine, using locally sourced ingredients to create delicious and seasonal meals.

9. El Paso Mexican Restaurant ($$): If you’re in the mood for Mexican cuisine, El Paso is a popular choice. They offer a range of traditional Mexican dishes, including tacos, enchiladas, fajitas, and margaritas.

10. Holston’s Kitchen ($$): This restaurant serves Southern comfort food with a modern twist. From fried green tomatoes to shrimp and grits, Holston’s Kitchen offers a diverse menu in a casual setting.

Eat Like a Local in Wears Valley

Wears Valley has a smaller selection of food options, and you’ll find it’s a lot less crowded than Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg, and it’s only a 5-10min drive from Smoky Mountains Lodge.

1. Elvira’s Cafe ($$): This place offers a mix of American and Mexican cuisine. They are known for their breakfast and brunch options, including delicious omelets and Mexican-inspired dishes. Named as one of the “Top 100 Places to Eat Across America” in 2022, this is one place not to miss.

2. Wears Valley Social Food Truck Park ($): Open most of year, they offer a rotating list of local food trucks and a nice open eating area. They’ve had trucks such as the Chicken Coop, Coles Southern BBQ, Fat Bear, Gringos Tacos, and others come by. They also have a playground for the kids and feature live events throughout the year.

3. Sloppy Hog Burger Joint ($): Enjoy their smash burgers and make sure to order the onion rings, (but skip the pizza). It’s located right in the valley amongst the beautiful views.

4. Hillbilly’s Restaurant ($): This is a casual restaurant serving southern comfort food and burgers.

5. PawPaw’s Kajun Kitchen ($$): This restaurant specializes in Southern and Cajun cuisine. You can expect dishes like gumbo, jambalaya, and po’boys.

Eat Like a Local in Townsend

1. The Abbey ($): Originally a church, this is now converted into a dining and beverage hall. It’s a great way to spend a sunny afternoon, eating lunch by the river and drinking your favorite brew, whether it be Craft Beer, Cider, Sweet Iced Tea or a Soft Drink. In the summer you can watch the rafters float by on the river. They also offer flatbreads and bites, as well as corn hole and Connect-4 for some fun family yard games.

2. Dancing Bear lodge ($$): Located at the Dancing Bear Lodge, this upscale restaurant offers a refined dining experience with a focus on locally sourced ingredients and Appalachian-inspired cuisine. The menu features dishes like trout, duck breast, and venison. Grab yourself a date and reserve a table for 2 for a romantic night out. This is one of “The South’s 38 Essential Restaurants” according to Eater.

3. The Peaceful Side Social Brewery & Craft Kitchen ($$): Experience culinary bliss at Peaceful Side Social and Craft Kitchen in Townsend, TN, where locally sourced ingredients are masterfully crafted into delectable dishes, offering a harmonious blend of flavors that reflects the essence of the Smoky Mountains in every bite, all within a warm and inviting atmosphere. Indulge in a gastronomic journey that celebrates community, quality, and the artistry of Southern cuisine.

4. The Trailhead Steak & Trout ($$): This rustic steakhouse specializes in high-quality steaks and other grilled meats. They also offer seafood options and vegetarian dishes. The Trailhead Steakhouse provides a relaxed atmosphere and friendly service.

5. Little River Bar-B-Q: If you’re craving barbecue, Little River Bar-B-Q is the place to go. This casual joint serves up delicious smoked meats, including ribs, pulled pork, and chicken. The sides, such as mac and cheese, coleslaw, and baked beans, are also worth trying.

6. The Apple Valley Mountain Village & Café ($$): Situated in a charming log cabin, The Apple Valley Café offers homestyle Southern cooking. They are particularly famous for their breakfast menu, which includes pancakes, omelets, and biscuits with gravy. They also serve lunch and dinner, featuring comfort food classics.

7. Riverstone Restaurant ($$): Overlooking the Little River, Riverstone Restaurant offers a picturesque setting to enjoy a meal. They serve a variety of dishes, including seafood, steaks, sandwiches, and pasta. The patio seating is especially delightful during warm weather.

Book Now: This goes to our secure portal to review your info and confirm booking.

Send Inquiry: If you’re not quite ready to book, you can send an inquiry with any questions.

Where have you been that’s not your usual tourist traps? We want to know about it! Comment below.

Best Things to do with Your Family in the Smoky Mountains

The Smoky Mountains offer a multitude of family-friendly activities and attractions. After a short drive through Pigeon Forge Parkway and Gatlinburg, you’ll be faced countless options of things to do with your family during your stay at Smoky Mountains Lodge. Here are the 10 best things to do with your family in the Smoky Mountains (and driving times from our cabin:

1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park (10min drive): Explore the most visited national park in the United States, known for its stunning natural beauty, hiking trails, wildlife, and scenic drives. Don’t miss Cades Cove, Clingman’s Dome, and the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail.

2. Dollywood (30min drive): Visit Dolly Parton’s popular theme park in Pigeon Forge, featuring thrilling rides, live entertainment, shows, and family-friendly attractions suitable for all ages. It’s the #1 ranked theme park by Tripadvisor.

3. Outdoor Gravity Park (29min drive): Roll down a hill inside a giant inflatable ball! This unique and memorable attraction is sure to garner some laughs and memories with the family. This is a great summer activity and bring your swimsuit because you’ll likely get wet.

4. Ober Gatlinburg (40min drive): Enjoy year-round family fun at Ober Gatlinburg. Ride the aerial tramway to the mountaintop, do some snow tubing, skiing or snowboarding in winter, try ice skating, ride the alpine slide, and experience other attractions and activities.

5. Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies (30min drive): Voted best aquarium of North America by USA Today, this is a must see indoor attraction. You’ll discover a fascinating underwater world with over 350 species at this acclaimed aquarium in Gatlinburg. Explore interactive exhibits, walk through their unbelievable Shark Lagoon underwater tunnel, and marvel at a wide variety of marine life. In addition of exploring the aquarium, some of their most popular add-on experiences are the Penguin Encounter and Turtle Time. We recommend booking these in advance as they can sell out! Kids under 2 are free.

6. Anakeesta (35min drive): Take a scenic chairlift ride to Anakeesta Mountain in Gatlinburg. Once there, enjoy treetop canopy walks, ziplining, a mountain coaster, gem mining, and picturesque views from the observation tower. Also check out their incredible Astra Lumina night walk!


Still looking for the perfect family cabin in the Smoky Mountains?

Look no further, and book your stay with us!

Mountain views from the deck
Mountain views from the deck
Cabin view of the back deck
Cabin view of the back deck
Fire pit at dusk
Fire pit at dusk
7-seater hot tub
7-seater hot tub
Game room equipped with ping pong, foosball, and pool
Spacious Game room and movie space
Open living room
Open living room
Dedicated movie space + Popcorn machine!
Battle on the arcade games
Battle on the arcade games
Dining room + Kitchen island
Upstairs king master bedroom with mountain views
Upstairs king master bedroom with mountain views
Second upstairs king bedroom with views of the mountains
2nd upstairs king bedroom with views of the mountains
Downstairs queen bedroom and Roku TV
Downstairs queen bedroom and Roku TV
2 twin bunk beds in the open game room
Jacuzzi off the 2nd king bedroom
Newly remodeled kitchen + island
Newly remodeled kitchen + island
Driveway at dawn
Driveway at dawn
Access to the community pool
Access to the community pool

7. Foxfire Adventure Park (46min drive): Nestled amidst the breathtaking landscapes of the Smoky Mountains, Fox Fire Adventure Park offers an exhilarating escape for families seeking outdoor fun. This immersive park caters to adventurers of all ages, making it an ideal destination for families with kids. From thrilling zip lines, to challenging obstacle courses and swinging bridges, to rock climbing walls, there’s no shortage of excitement here. The park’s emphasis on safety ensures a worry-free experience for parents, allowing them to join in the excitement or relax and enjoy the scenic beauty. Located a bit out East past the Parkway, Fox Fire Adventure Park promises unforgettable memories and endless opportunities for family bonding amidst nature’s wonders.

8. Dinner Shows: There are several dinner shows in the area and most are expensive, but fantastic! It’s probably best for kids who are 8 and up (younger kids might not make it through). Some of the top recommended are Dolly Parton’s Stampede (high production value), Hatfield & McCoy (great food & comedy), Pirates Voyage (best for kids), the Comedy Barn, and the newest show in 2023, Array.

Pirates Dinner Show
Pirates Dinner Show
Hatfield and McCoys dinner
Hatfield and McCoys dinner

9. Goats on the Roof (17min drive) is a unique attraction where you could easily spend a half-day. They have goats running around their roof and have a great mountain coaster. As of May 2023, they’re in the process of installing some large-scale dinosaurs along the track, so watch out for the T-rex! Another great mountain coaster alternative for the family is Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster. Experience an exhilarating ride on the Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster, an individual coaster cart that zooms through the mountains, providing thrills for the whole family.

10. WonderWorks (26 min drive): Explore this interactive indoor amusement park in Pigeon Forge, featuring over 100 hands-on exhibits and activities that blend education and entertainment.

11. Smoky Mountain Deer Farm & Exotic Petting Zoo (41min drive): Visit this petting zoo in Sevierville, where you can interact with a variety of animals, including deer, kangaroos, camels, zebras, and more.

12. Knife Forging: Go forge a one-of-a-kind knife at Circle Bar T Forge (29min drive), Iron Mountain Metal Craft (26min drive), or Viking Blade Forge (47min drive): This is an awesome and unique experience for your family to be a blacksmith and forge your own knife. Not only will you learn about the process of forging and making a knife, but you’ll actually be able to MAKE it and bring it home with you.

13. Soaky Mountain Water Park (38min drive): The summer months can be hot, so why not take the family to a huge water park!? This has several massive water slides, pools, and rides for all ages. Located in Sevierville.

14. Wilderness at the Smokies (36min drive): Right across the street from Soaky Mountain Water Park is this hotel and water park. You don’t have to have to stay at the resort to enjoy their water park. They offer a limited amount of day passes available between $40-$80/day per person, depending on the time of year. Be sure to check out their new and expanded for 2024 Kaleidoscope Kavern Lazy River.

15. Wild Bear Falls Water Park (33min drive): This is an exhilarating and safe aquatic adventure, and you don’t need to stay at Westgate Resorts to visit their water park. With thrilling water slides, a lazy river, and splash zones, it offers endless entertainment for all ages regardless of the weather outside. Parents can relax in the hot tubs while kids enjoy the interactive play areas, creating unforgettable memories in a vibrant and family-friendly environment. Plus, its convenient location near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park makes it a perfect addition to any family vacation itinerary. Day fees: Adults $35, Kids $18, and kids under 3 are free

16. Activate Gatlinburg (37min drive): Activate Gatlinburg offers an exciting adventure experience for both kids and adults, featuring a variety of interactive games and challenges. From thrilling obstacle courses, light games, light-up basketball, lazer tag, blacklight rock climbing, to virtual reality experiences, the attractions cater to groups of kids ages 10+ up to adults. With its immersive activities and state-of-the-art facilities, Activate Gatlinburg promises a memorable and engaging entertainment destination.

17. The Brown Buffalo Farm (45min drive): This hidden gem is worthy of a visit…plus it’s free! When you need a break from the crowds, hop in the car and drive the 15 scenic minutes through the Arts & Crafts Loop to have some time watching several of these magnificent, wild animals. Click here for directions.

18. Parrot Mountain (36min drive): Enjoy a wildlife sanctuary of many varieties of parrots and the surrounding gardens. A visit here would get you up close and personal with these beautiful birds and the lush gardens that the live in. Note that they typically close down during the slow months of January and February.

19. Skyland Ranch (27min drive): SkyLand Ranch combines all your favorite things about the Smoky Mountains into one exciting Sevierville attraction. Gorgeous views, exciting rides, shops and eateries, live entertainment, miniature animals, and more are waiting for you at SkyLand Ranch.

20. Jayell Ranch (30min): This is a premier outdoor adventure destination nestled in the scenic Smoky Mountains. Known for its thrilling ziplining experiences, visitors can soar through the treetops while enjoying breathtaking views. The ranch also offers horseback riding adventures, ATV tours for those seeking an adrenaline rush, and a family-friendly petting zoo where guests can interact with farm animals. With gem mining activities, pony rides for children, and the backdrop of the stunning Smokies, Jayell Ranch provides a diverse range of outdoor activities for visitors of all ages, making it an ideal destination for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike.

21. Smoky Mountain River Rat Tubing & Rafting (14min drive): Embark on a thrilling family rafting adventure along the Pigeon River. Choose from calm float trips or more exciting whitewater rafting experiences suitable for different age groups.

22. Visit Mountain Mile (24min drive): As one of Pigeon Forge, Tennessee’s most unique shopping, dining, and entertainment destinations, there is something for everyone. They have a few thrill rides for the older kids and thrill seekers, but also have fun lawn games like checkers and corn hole. It is also a fantastic place to shop, get dinner, or relax on the lawn.

23. Lorelei’s Candles (42min drive): This handmade candle shop is a great hidden gem in Gatlinburg. They have tons of unique candles and you can also create your own hand-dipped candles. Let your imagination go wild!

24. Forbidden Caverns (48min drive): Take a guided tour of these mysterious underground caves near Sevierville. Learn about stalagmites, stalactites, and the intriguing history of the caverns.

Remember to check the operating hours, availability, and any specific requirements for each activity before visiting. The Smoky Mountains offer a wide range of attractions that cater to various interests and age groups, ensuring a memorable family vacation. Have fun and make memories with the family!

Book Now: This goes to our secure portal to review your info and confirm booking.

Send Inquiry: If you’re not quite ready to book, you can send an inquiry with any questions.

What are your must-see things to do with your family in the area? We’d love to hear and add to our list! Comment below.

Best Nature Hikes in the Smoky Mountains National Park

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers a wide range of beautiful nature hikes with stunning scenery and diverse wildlife.

Parking pass for the Park

There is no entrance fee for the Smoky Mountains National Park, however, as of March 2023, you will need to purchase a parking pass if you plan to park anywhere inside the park. You can get a daily ($5), weekly ($15), or annual ($40) parking pass. They can either be purchased online and printed or purchased in-person:

Best Nature Hikes in Smoky Mountains

Here are some of the best nature hikes you can explore in the Smoky Mountains:

1. Abrams Falls Trail (medium): This 5-mile round trip hike takes you to Abrams Falls, a picturesque 20-foot waterfall. The trail offers scenic views of the forest and crosses over Abrams Creek. It’s conveniently located right off the Cades Cove scenic loop.

2. Cataract Falls (easy): Hiking Cataract Falls in the Smoky Mountains offers a scenic adventure through lush forests and alongside cascading waterfalls. The trailhead starts just behind the Sugarlands Visitors Center, a couple miles inside the park from Gatlinburg. The trail spans approximately 2.6 miles round trip with a moderate elevation gain of 400 feet, making it accessible for hikers of various skill levels. Along the way, hikers are treated to stunning views of the falls as they tumble gracefully over rocky ledges, providing a refreshing and rejuvenating experience amidst the tranquil beauty of the mountains.

3. Clingmans Dome (easy): This isn’t much of a hike, in fact you just drive up the road and walk up 0.5 miles up the paved, but steep walkway to the observation deck. At 6,643 feet, this is the highest point in Tennessee, and on clear days you can expect to see 100 miles in any.

Clingmans dome by Kirk Thornton

4. Cave Trail (medium): This 4.4-mile round trip hike is one of the most popular in the park. It takes you through an arch rock formation, past Alum Cave Bluffs, and offers stunning vistas along the way.

5. Rainbow Falls Trail (medium): This 5.4-mile round trip hike leads to Rainbow Falls, a majestic 80-foot waterfall. The trail has about 2,000 feet of elevation gain and is known for its colorful wildflowers and the possibility of seeing a rainbow in the mist of the falls.

6. Mount LeConte via the Alum Cave Trail (hard): This challenging 10-mile round trip and 3,000 ft elevation gain hike takes you to the summit of Mount LeConte, the third-highest peak in the park. This is one of the most popular trails in the park, so start early. Check out LeConte Lodge cabins while you’re there. Along the way, you’ll encounter unique geological features and enjoy sweeping views from the mountaintop.

7. Spruce Flats Falls (easy): This 1.6-mile out and back is one of the most underrated falls hikes in the Smokys. The journey to Spruce Flats Falls takes you through lush, dense forests filled with towering trees and diverse flora. The well-maintained trail follows the course of the Middle Prong of the Little River, creating a serene atmosphere as the sound of flowing water accompanies you throughout the hike. Along the way, hikers may encounter vibrant wildflowers, moss-covered rocks, and the occasional wildlife, adding to the natural charm of the surroundings.

Upon reaching Spruce Flats Falls, visitors are greeted by the sight and sound of a mesmerizing 30-foot waterfall cascading over layered rocks into a tranquil pool below. The falls are surrounded by a scenic amphitheater of moss-covered boulders, creating an ideal spot for a restful break or a peaceful picnic.

8. Laurel Falls Trail (easy): This 2.6-mile round trip and 500 ft elevation gain of paved trail leads to Laurel Falls, a beautiful 80-foot waterfall. It’s a relatively easy hike and is suitable for all skill levels.


Still looking for the perfect family cabin in the Smoky Mountains?

Look no further, and book your stay with us!

Mountain views from the deck
Mountain views from the deck
Cabin view of the back deck
Cabin view of the back deck
Fire pit at dusk
Fire pit at dusk
7-seater hot tub
7-seater hot tub
Game room equipped with ping pong, foosball, and pool
Spacious Game room and movie space
Open living room
Open living room
Dedicated movie space + Popcorn machine!
Battle on the arcade games
Battle on the arcade games
Dining room + Kitchen island
Upstairs king master bedroom with mountain views
Upstairs king master bedroom with mountain views
Second upstairs king bedroom with views of the mountains
2nd upstairs king bedroom with views of the mountains
Downstairs queen bedroom and Roku TV
Downstairs queen bedroom and Roku TV
2 twin bunk beds in the open game room
Jacuzzi off the 2nd king bedroom
Newly remodeled kitchen + island
Newly remodeled kitchen + island
Driveway at dawn
Driveway at dawn
Access to the community pool
Access to the community pool

9. Cades Cove Nature Trail (very easy): This 0.8-mile loop trail offers a leisurely stroll through the historic Cades Cove valley. It provides opportunities for wildlife spotting and features beautiful meadows and mountain views.

10. Little River Trail (easy): This 4.9 mile (up to 7.6 miles) hike is popular amongst families and kids. This trail offers a leisurely stroll along an old logging road, providing a tranquil escape into nature suitable for hikers of all abilities. Beginning at the trailhead near Elkmont Campground, the path winds alongside the picturesque Little River, revealing remnants of the area’s logging history, such as railroad rails and steel cables from the early 1900s. While there isn’t a specific endpoint like a waterfall or viewpoint, hikers have the flexibility to tailor the hike’s length according to their preferences. Springtime brings vibrant wildflowers, while autumn showcases the fiery foliage, making it an ideal destination year-round. Furthermore, the trail’s connection to the Elkmont area offers a unique opportunity to witness the mesmerizing display of synchronous fireflies during early summer nights.

11. Grotto Falls Trail (easy): This 2.6-mile round trip hike and 550 ft elevation gain takes you to Grotto Falls, the only waterfall in the park that you can walk behind. This trail is extremely popular so START EARLY, otherwise parking might be difficult. The trail is known for its lush vegetation and is particularly beautiful in the spring.

12. Ramsey Cascades Trail (hard): This strenuous (2,200 ft elevation gain) 8-mile round-trip hike leads to Ramsey Cascades, the tallest waterfall in the park, with a 100-foot drop. This is one of the most popular and best nature hikes in the Smoky Mountains. The trail passes through old-growth forests and offers a challenging but rewarding experience.

13. Mingo Falls (medium): This stunning waterfall located in on the North Carolina side near Cherokee, North Carolina. The hike is 0.4 miles in and is well-maintained, offering a relatively easy trek for those who wish to enjoy the beauty of the waterfall and its picturesque surroundings. The waterfall itself stands at approximately 120 feet (37 meters) tall, making it one of the tallest waterfalls in the southern Appalachians. The falls are surrounded by lush greenery and are accessible via a relatively short hike, providing visitors with a rewarding natural spectacle.

14. Andrews Bald (medium): This 3.6-mile round trip hike takes you to a grassy bald atop the Great Smoky Mountains. It offers stunning panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and is especially popular during the peak wildflower season.

15. Charlies Bunion (hard): This 8-mile round trip hike follows the Appalachian Trail to a rocky outcrop known as Charlies Bunion. From there, you can enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding mountains.

16. Deep Creek (hard): This trail is known for its scenic beauty and diverse features. It’s a popular trail in the park, showcasing waterfalls, lush forests, and the soothing sounds of Deep Creek. The hike is moderate in difficulty and covers about 5.4 miles one-way to reach the popular Juney Whank Falls. Hikers can enjoy the serenity of the forest, cross footbridges, and experience the cascading waterfalls along the way, such as Tom Branch and Indian Creek waterfalls.

Remember to check with the park authorities or visitor center for trail conditions and any specific guidelines or restrictions before embarking on your hike. Enjoy exploring the beauty of the Smoky Mountains!

Book Now: This goes to our secure portal to review your info and confirm booking.

Send Inquiry: If you’re not quite ready to book, you can send an inquiry with any questions.

What are the best nature hikes according to you in Smoky Mountains? Which of the above hikes would you do again and again? Add your comments below!

Staying at the Historic LeConte Lodge

When planning your trip to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, you’ll soon come upon Mt LeConte and LeConte Lodge. It is a wonderful and historic set of cabins that you must reserve well in advance and hike 5+ miles to. There are several compelling reasons to visit Mt. LeConte Lodge:

1. Stunning Natural Beauty: Mt. LeConte is located within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, one of the most beautiful and biodiverse areas in the United States. The lodge is nestled at an elevation of 6,593 feet (2,010 meters), offering breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains, valleys, and forests. The scenery is truly awe-inspiring, especially during sunrise and sunset.

2. Challenging Hiking Trails: Getting to Mt. LeConte Lodge requires a hike, which adds an element of adventure and accomplishment to your visit. There are several trails to choose from, each with its own unique features and difficulty levels. The Alum Cave Trail and Rainbow Falls Trail are amongst the best nature hikes in the Smoky Mountains, offering scenic views and interesting geological formations along the way.

3. Rustic Family Experience: Mt. LeConte Lodge provides a rustic and remote wilderness experience. The lodge consists of several hand-built cabins without electricity or running water, adding to its charm and authenticity. You and your family can disconnect from the modern world and immerse yourself in nature, enjoying the simplicity and tranquility of the surroundings. Memories will be made!

4. Unique Accommodations: Staying at Mt. LeConte Lodge is a distinctive experience. The cabins are cozy and comfortable, equipped with basic amenities such as beds, propane heaters, and kerosene lamps. The lodge also provides family-style meals, which are prepared and served by the staff. It’s a chance to unplug, relax, and enjoy the company of fellow nature enthusiasts.

Leconte-Lodge-dining-room

What makes LeConte Lodge so unique?

These historic mountain cabins were built in 1926, which event predates Smoky Mountains National Park

LeConte Lodge unique factors

  • It’s the highest guest lodge in the Eastern United States, at 6,593 feet
  • Only accessible on foot via hiking trails (five trail options ranging from 5 to 9.1 miles)
  • Reserve 6-12 months in advance as these rustic mountain cabins are in high demand
  • The lodge is open late-March through mid-November
  • It’s the only hotel accommodations in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

5. Wildlife and Nature Observation: The lodge is located in an area known for its diverse wildlife population. While visiting, you may have the opportunity to spot animals such as black bears, deer, foxes, and a variety of bird species. The trails around the lodge also offer ample opportunities for birdwatching and observing unique plant life.

6. Sense of Serenity and Solitude: Due to its remote location and limited number of cabins, Mt. LeConte Lodge offers a sense of peace, solitude, and escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. It’s a chance to reconnect with nature, unwind, and rejuvenate your mind, body, and spirit.


Did you miss out on your reservations to LeConte Lodge? Book your stay at Smoky Mountains Lodge instead!
It’s surrounded by beauty too! Our cabin has a full-suite of amenities: 7 comfy beds, hot tub, fire pit, massive game room, newly renovated kitchen, and a neighborhood pool.

Your kids will never want to leave!

Mountain views from the deck
Mountain views from the deck
Cabin view of the back deck
Cabin view of the back deck
Fire pit at dusk
Fire pit at dusk
7-seater hot tub
Game room equipped with ping pong, foosball, and pool
Spacious Game room and movie space
Open living room
Open living room
Dedicated movie space + Popcorn machine!
Battle on the arcade games
Dining room + Kitchen island
King master bedroom with mountain views
2nd king bedroom
Downstairs queen bedroom and Roku TV
Downstairs queen bedroom and Roku TV
2 twin bunk beds in the open game room
Jacuzzi off the 2nd king bedroom
Newly remodeled kitchen + island
Newly remodeled kitchen
Driveway at dawn
Lap pool

7. Outdoor Activities: In addition to hiking, there are plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy in the vicinity of Mt. LeConte Lodge. You can go fishing in nearby streams, explore other trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, or simply relax and enjoy the natural surroundings.

Visiting Mt. LeConte Lodge is an opportunity to experience the beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains, challenge yourself with a rewarding hike, and immerse yourself in the peacefulness of the wilderness. It’s a place where you can disconnect from the modern world and reconnect with nature.

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Have you stayed at LeConte Lodge? Tell us about your stay and what you loved about it! Comment below.