The Great Smoky Mountains are a great destination for mountain lovers. Smoky Mountain vacation has been a thing for a long time. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park was created in 1934 to protect this range, and it receives more than 11 million visitors every year. The pristine mountain range that rises in the Tennessee-North Carolina border in the southeastern United States is well protected in this manner while serving as a beautiful place for a retreat.
The range is actually a subdivision of the Appalachian Mountain Range and is part of the International Biosphere Reserve.
So, let’s dive into today’s subject of a smoky mountain vacation without beating about the bush. Before we talk of smoky mountain vacation, we need to know about a few things we would need to keep in mind before going voyaging over there.
As critical as lodging is, it is often overlooked during vacation planning, especially during Smoky Mountain vacation. A big factor of where you visit the next morning is where you spend the night.
Lodging needs vary from if you’re a solo traveler or if you’re coming here with your family or friends. Both these parties have different priorities and different needs regarding both lodgings and places to visit.
A Few Places to Stay for a Smoky Mountain Vacation Goer
Located at the Smoky Mountain’s base, Gatlinburg is known for its bustling atmosphere, all the while maintaining a small-town appeal for the people who love that. There are plenty of activities for the tourists, and fortunately, it caters to a wide variety of tourists. There are walking areas that you can take advantage of, along with the scenery being delightful.
2. Pigeon Forge
While bearing similarities with Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge has some key differences that are worth talking about. While the Smoky Mountains are more easily reachable from Pigeon Forge, some active people prefer Gatlinburg for its proximity to the national park for Smoky Mountain vacation.
Music is an important part of this region, and Dolly Parton’s music rises through this area. Apart from this, you’ll get access to several exclusive perks, including TimeSaver to minimize the time of waiting for rides, door-to-door transportation, and early ride access on Saturdays.
3. Great Smoky Mountain Natural Park
Now while the upper two are near the National Park, there aren’t in it. And there’s your difference. Because this place is slightly removed from the other places’ hustle and bustle, this place is ideal if you’re going on a Smoky Mountain vacation and are looking for a total escape into nature.
With the only limitation being dining opportunities, I don’t think you’d have many problems if you’re not too picky about your food. The trails will be nearer, and if you’re missing a rustic feeling, you could easily hang out in a tent at the LeConte Lodge.
Types of Places to Stay for a Smoky Mountain Vacation Goer.
1. Traditional Hotels
These can be found in plenty if you’re on a Smoky Mountain vacation. Several recognizable chains offer spectacular service in exchange for some sweet green bills. It’s best not to go in on short notice, though.
2. Bed & Breakfasts
While hotels are cool, if you’re are looking for something not buzzing with people, you could choose Bed & Breakfasts, which offers a serene atmosphere.
If you’re traveling with families, you could prefer condo rentals, which offer more space than a regular hotel suite. They often come with a kitchen to prepare your own food, but they rarely come with a continental breakfast.
4. RV Camping
This only works if you have your own RV or have rented one. This is ideal if you are about to have a long Smoky Mountain vacation, as the cost of hotels can quickly start putting pressure on your wallet.
5. Camper Cabins
This option is for people whose jam isn’t strictly a big hotel, but neither have the means or the willingness to spend the night in a tent. Camper cabins offer a perfect middle-ground for Smoky Mountain vacation goers are of this type. They also provide privacy. Keep in mind that they can vary significantly in terms of luxury, and you have the choice to pick one up based on your taste and budget. Many also come with small kitchens, so “ain’t nothin’ to worry about.”
6. Tent Camping
If you are truly a nature lover at heart and soul and crave the wilderness breathing on your skin, Tent Camping might be the perfect option for you, the brave-hearted Smoky Mountain vacation goer. The hotels’ comfort and coziness mean nothing to you, and your heart beats for the nights in a test, under the clear skies.
Now for this obviously you have to have your own camping equipment. And if you do, it might be considerably cheaper than other options. Even if you have to shell out a lot for good quality camping gear, the one-time expenditure will pay for itself in the long run if you’re a regular camper, so nothing to lose here.
Choose your location according to your needs, and you should be pretty happy for the upcoming days of your Smoky Mountain vacation.
1. Lauren Falls Trail
One of the most popular in the Smoky Mountains is a 2.6-mile hike, which is relatively easy and has an amazing pay off in the form of an 80-foot waterfall called, you guessed it, Laurel Falls. The trail is paved; hence it is easy in case you’re worried about it.
2. Cataract Falls Trail
Being less than 2 miles away from Gatlinburg, the Cataract Falls trail is a super option for groups with family and kids who can’t do a long hike. You’ll pass the Cataract Falls, which is 25 feet, and get wet from the spurts of water, which is extremely enjoyable.
3. Grotto Falls
An enchanted forest hike for a Smoky Mountain vacation goer. It will not leave you disappointed with its 2.6-mile round trip. On this trip, you’d have the fortune of finding yourself amid overgrown trees and light filtering through pine. The end of the hike has the pay-off of bringing you near the Grotto Falls, which promises a wonderful view of the water plunging into a rocky pool at the bottom of the lake. With the ground being a little slippery here, I’d advise you to be careful.
4. Deep Creek Trail to Indian Creek and Tom Branch Falls
With the other trails offering you a view of one waterfall, here there are two. A pleasing 1.6-mile round trip will provide you with incredible views of the 60-foot Tom Branch Falls and the 25-foot Indian Creek Falls. Over here, first, you’d have to hike for about 0.7 miles on the Deep Creek trail, which joins with the Indian Creek Trail.
5. Gatlinburg Trail
First, it has a paved path, perfect for people looking to have a good time without having a hike hassle. It is one of the two paths which allows bicycles and dogs for people on a Smoky Mountain vacation. It offers mostly flat routes and is a great hike for large groups of family and friends. You’d also be greeted with views of the river and several old homes.
Apart from hiking, here is a list of other cool things you could do on your Smoky Mountain vacation.
Some Cool Things to Do
1. Take a peek from Clingmans Dome.
Although the scenic access route is closed from December to March, this 6643-foot round top peak offers magnificent views overall. There’s also a spaceship-like observation tower. The peak is viral and gets easily crowded, so try walking up early if you want to have a good time.
2. Watch the Leaves Fall in Fall
A place like the Smoky Mountains is naturally famous for having many trees, and guess what happens in autumn? All deciduous trees change the leaves’ color, making it stunningly beautiful (looking at you, Canada), with the red, orange, green and yellow colors scattered all over the park.
3. Smell the Wildflowers
In the Smoky Mountains, you’d often find yourself enthralled by the varieties of wildflowers in spring and summer. More than 1500 types of flowering plants can be found here and can be immensely enjoyed if you go at the right time. The park features several types of trillium, trout lilies, orchids, rhododendrons, and much more.
4. Paddling up the Fontana Lake
You could rent a boat in the Fontana Village or from the Nantahala Outdoor Center or use a kayak for a beautiful multi-day trip. Lake is beautiful and very enjoyable.
5. Taste Pioneer History
Before becoming a national park, this landscape was a shelter and home to many men who settled here with their families and milled here. Many churches can be found in Cades Cove, with mills and barns dating back to the early 1800s.
6. Touring the Historic Park Road
For this, you’d need a car; you’d have to drive a mere 11-mile, one-way loop through Cades Cove to bring you to a lush valley surrounded by mountains. For an even quieter ride, take the Roaring fork motor nature trail, which offers wonderful views of streams, log cabins, and just plain old amazing forested wilderness for the lucky Smoky Mountain vacation goer.
And after having done all that, with a heavy heart, our Smoky Mountain vacation goer bids adieu to the place of his dreams and goes back to being a regular Joe. Now, if this article was a pleasure, feel free to check out another right here: Hiking in Switzerland: 5 Amazing Trails and The Ultimate Smoky Mountains Guide, and while you do that, let me say bye, and I’ll catch you later. Peace!