Best Winter Hikes

Wintertime hiking in The Great Smoky Mountains National Park can be challenging at best. But, with the proper clothing and gear, winter hikes can reward you with lots of unique sites that you can not see at other times of the year. There are frozen water falls to see. With snow on the ground you can find animal tracks much easier and with the leaves off of the trees you have a better chance at spotting the wildlife in the park. Here are 5 of the best winter hikes in the Smoky Mountains order of easiest to extreme.

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Ramsey Cascades water fall in the Smoky Mountains.
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Water Falls and Swimming Holes of the Smokies

Summertime is a great time to visit the waterfalls and swimming holes of the Smokies. On average, June, July, and August have highs in the upper 80s to lower 90s. These warm and humid conditions make it the perfect time to put on your swimsuit and take a dip in the pristine waters of the Smokies! There are numerous areas inside the national park to spend the day cooling off in the 65-degree waters. That’s right, 65 degrees! On a day when the temperature is 90 and the humidity level is 90%, you won’t want to get out of the water. Check out a few of the most popular waterfalls and swimming holes in the Smokies:

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Fishing In Gatlinburg and The Smokies

Some people may not be aware but, Gatlinburg, TN and The Great Smoky Mountains National Park offer miles of streams and rivers that are full of Native and and, in Gatlinburgs case, both native and stocked Rainbow Trout. For the experienced sportsman the national park has some of the best fly fishing in the area. There are guides available in the area or you can just get your permit and go for an adventure in the park alone or with a friend. The City of Gatlinburg stocks trout in about 5 miles of rivers and streams every Thursday in season. This gives even the least experienced fisherman a good chance at catching his or hers daily limit. There are even 2 specific areas that are stocked heavier than the rest and reserved for the young fishermen under 12. Gatlinburgs stocking season runs March to November. Daily or weekly permits can be purchased at the Gatlinburg City Hall on Hwy 321 across from the Food City grocery store. You can fish in Gatlinburgs stocked streams 6 days a week. Fishing in Gatlinburg on Thursday is prohibited. So bring your family, friends and, your fishing poles and be ready to enjoy some delicious fresh trout off of your grill, out of your frying pan, or out of the oven. And, as always sit back in your rocking chair on the deck of your Gatlinburg cabin and enjoy the view.


As a travel planner, I always get asked by parents, “what is there for my teenage kids to do in the Smokies?”  I would say the list is pretty infinite.  Here are 10 quick ideas:

River Rafting is fun for the family!
1.  Dollywood & Splash Country
2.  Hike the Smoky Mountains & the Parks’ trails

4.  Shopping for school, holidays, & discounts
5.  Photography or picture-taking of family & friends
6.  Ziplining (A new craze here in East Tennessee). It’s exciting & fun!
7.  River-Rafting trip (Located on the North Carolina-Tennessee Border generally)

Lakes, Rivers, & Creeks in Tennessee

8.  Visit Aquarium of the Smokies, The Titanic, or the many Museums in Gatlinburg-Pigeon Forge area

9.  Miniature or Regulation Golf (many courses for your enjoyment!)

10.Rent a cabin where they will enjoy pool tables, foosball, hot tubs, swimming pools, & wifi internet access.  Choose Aunt Bug’s Cabin Rentals when your family visits the Gatlinburg area for luxury Gatlinburg cabin rentals!)
This list should get you started on coming up with a vacation plan and schedule!  Remember each season provides different options for your family’s enjoyment.  Don’t forget the different festivals, events, & concerts in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, & Sevierville throughout the Spring, Summer, Fall, & Winter Seasons!  The Smoky Mountains are so beautiful that your kids will be inspired to get outside & enjoy nature with their friends or siblings.  You might want to remember your camera, journal, or smartphone to capture video or pics of your Gatlinburg trip

Great Fishing Hole and Park for Families and Kids

Herbert Holt Park, located on the right, as you are coming into Gatlinburg, is a subtle quiet park hidden away from the bustling city. It features a pavilion, play area, walking trail, and free fishing for kids under 12 in the river! The pavilion can be reserved, please call the Gatlinburg Community Center for reservations.  The city of Gatlinburg is the only city in Tennessee which stocks the rivers weekly with Rainbow Trout to provide the experience of trout fishing for visitors and locals alike. There are very few cities in the nation that spend resources to stock animals for the enjoyment of the population, and Gatlinburg is one of them. Gatlinburg also provides many children’s fishing areas to allow children to participate in one of the great outdoor traditions of the Smokies. The trout-stocking project began in 1980 and continues strong today. In 2005, Gatlinburg ordered a large upgrade of their trout farm, ensuring a steady supply of trout for city waters.  Anywhere from 35,000 to 45,000 fish ranging from 8-14 inches long are placed in Gatlinburg streams annually. The trout hatchery is located at Herbert Holt Park, just past the Gatlinburg entrance from Pigeon Forge.