A Traveler’s Guidebook to Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Part 2

Jun 04, 2015

As we enter into Part 2 of our Traveler's Guidebook to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, your eyes will open up to all the wonder that the Smokies truly hold. Take a trip to the Smoky Mountains and behold the beauty from one of our Gatlinburg cabin rentals. When you stay at one of our cabins in Gatlinburg, you are steps away from all the fun things to do. In Gatlinburg, you will find a story to be told, a story that only you can hear through the breezes of the trees and the music of the songbirds.Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Enjoy a Ranger-Guided Hike and Walk and Talk About the Smokies Together

June through October are the designated months for ranger-guided hikes for visitors to walk through the Smoky Mountains and learn a thing or two about the nature and history. You can schedule evening campfire programs, guided hikes that range between .25 miles and 5.0 miles, and history demonstrations. Most programs are held at the Cades Cove and Elkmont locations.

Trot About the Smoky Mountains Horseback With Your Family and a Trail Guide

Ride through nature on the back of a well trained horse. Horseback riding is available in the following areas: Sugarlands, Smokemont, Cades Cove, and Smoky Mountain Stables in Gatlinburg.

All Aboard! Hayrides and Carriage Rides in Cades Cove

Enjoy a hayride or a carriage ride in Cades Cove with your family and friends! The hayrides and carriage rides are available for use starting in the spring and run through the fall. Some rides are ranger-guided, please inquire with the Cades Cove Campground for this. You can also enjoy a fun wagon ride at the Smokemont Stables!

Tips From the Experts: How to Watch Wildlife Safely and Effectively

Experiencing an encounter with wildlife in the Smoky Mountains is a moment you will never forget. Viewing wildlife can be tricky as the majority of the populated areas are covered with dense forest. Wildlife in the Smoky Mountains consists of black bear, wild boar, salamanders, several types of birds, raccoon, squirrels, turkey, woodchucks, deer and elk. Animals are found to be more active during the late hours of the night. Viewers will have a better chance of viewing wildlife during daytime hours, it is recommended that you use binoculars and always look to the trees. Winter is a better month for viewing wildlife as the leaves have fallen, and the animals will stand out against any snow covered areas. Always practice a safe distance and keep a note of animal behavior. Notice if you have alarmed the animals and if you have gotten too close, protect yourself while protecting the good nature of the animal.

Throw Your Best Cast: Fishing in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

There are 2,115 streams to enjoy fishing at in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Smoky Mountains are home to one of the last known wild trout habitats in the East. One must obtain a Tennessee or North Carolinian fishing license to fish in the streams of the Smokies. The only approved method for lure and bait is a single hook artificial lures and flies.

Walk on the Clouds: Clingmans Dome

Did you know that Clingmans Dome is the highest peak in the Smoky Mountains, standing at 6,643 feet in the air? Clingmans Dome is also known for being the third highest mountain East of the Mississippi! From Clingmans Dome Observatory, you can witness 360-degree views with a cast of over 100 visible miles which offer you a gaze at Tennessee's connecting states. Weather is known to be unpredictable. Bring a light jacket with a hood for cover from pop-up showers.

Cades Cove: Preserved in Time

Cades Cove is a beautiful mystery, full of preserved historic structures that continually stand the test of time. Cades Cove is one of the most visited areas of the park, offering hiking, auto touring, wildlife viewing, picnicking, 19th-century homesteads and erected buildings, waterfalls, old churches, and cemeteries.

History of Elkmont

Elkmont was once a logging community, named after the majestic elk that one roamed. Elkmont was free of elk for several years until the park service reintroduced a new population of elk into the area in the early 2000s. Wealthy townspeople were allowed to board trains to Elkmont from Knoxville and Asheville areas for use as a resort town filled with summer homes. These summer homes still stand in the Elkmont area and are registered cultural structures.

Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail

Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail is known for an abundance of wildflowers, waterfall walks, wildlife viewing and historic buildings. Experience forests filled with old growth and well preserved historic buildings such as grist mills and well-preserved log cabins one inhabited by Gatlinburg's early settlers.

Sugarlands Visitor Center

Sugarlands Visitor Center is a great place to start or end your journey in the Smoky Mountains. Sugarlands is filled with undeniable history, trail maps, books, visitor information and even short films. Sugarlands Visitor Center is open year-round.

We trust that this handy Traveler's Guide to Great Smoky Mountains National Park will be of help to you on your next getaway to the Smokies. Heartland Cabin Rentals is happy to assist you in finding the cabin of your dreams. Call today to book one of our cabins in Gatlinburg for your next Smoky Mountain vacation!

Category: Things to do

Doug Shanks


By Doug Shanks a Smoky Mountain blogger and writes about things to do in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Wears Valley, and Sevierville, Tennessee. Area interests include hiking, fishing, whitewater rafting, shopping, and family fun.

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