River Rafting in the Smoky Mountains (Gatlinburg, Tennessee)

River Rafting in the Smokies is one of the best outdoor activities to take in with your friends or family. You will love the uplifting feeling of floating over the river rapids and viewing the mountains, as you rush down the River.  There are many places to enjoy river rafting here in the Smokies.  The faint of heart can elect to go tubing, if river rafting seems to aggressive for their liking.  We always recommend taking a lesson prior to getting on the river, having a river guide, and wearing the proper safety equipment.  Some of the local rivers in the Tennessee-North Carolina area that provide water are the Chattooga, Ocoee, Nantahala, and Pigeon Rivers.In the summer shorts, a bathing suit and shoes that will stay on your feet are recommended.  For the spring and the fall we recommend layering with synthetics such as fleece or polypropylene.  Footwear should include Tennis shoes or sport sandals (no flip-flops)
*Cotton holds moisture to our skin, keeping you wet and clammy. Cotton will not keep you warm.
*Sunscreen- particularly if you are fair skinned.  The water reflects and enhances the chance of sunburn.
*If you choose to wear prescription or sunglasses we recommend string or Chums to hold them in place.
*Be certain to bring a change of clothes and a towel.

Many of the river rafting companies have friendly & helpful staff that will assist you with your plans.  Call them with any questions that you may have.  WildWater Adventure Centers have a good variety of activities, rivers to navigate, and tour guides to give you peace of mind.  Always consider renting a luxury cabin rental on your vacation to Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge.  You will get a budget-friendly vacation rental while enjoying the outdoors on your trip to the Smoky Mountains.

3 TRAILS TO HIKE WHEN VISITING GATLINBURG (SMOKY MOUNTAINS, TENNESSEE)

When visiting the Smoky Mountains, I always make it a top priority to hike the beautiful trails of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.  Some of the trails are more scenic and challenging than others, but it seems it always make it worthwhile to visit the Gatlinburg area after my successful hike.  Here’s three trails that I would strongly recommend your family or friends try when visiting Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge on your next family vacation.  Of course, you could always try river rafting, zip lines, or horseback riding, but the Smokies were made famous by the love of hiking the National Park.  Bring plenty of water, a snack, and first aid kit when possible.  Try to hike with a friend and don’t confront animals you see on the way.  It’s their home and we want to respect their habitat.  Have fun hiking up the mountains of the Southern Appalachian Trail!  We’ll see you in the Smokies…

Laurel Falls Trail – Described as moderate in difficulty, this 4-mile roundtrip hike rewards the hiker with a visit to one of the favorite waterfalls in the Park. This trailhead is very busy during the summer and weekends year-round. Access to the trailhead is via the Little River Road halfway between the Sugarlands Visitor Center and Elkmont Campground. The hiker can travel an additional .75 mile beyond the falls to see an old-growth forest.

Alum Cave Bluff Trail (photo right)- From the Sugarlands Visitor Center, drive 8.6 miles east on Newfound Gap Road. There you will find two parking areas, where a gravel path leads to The Grassy Patch and the beginning of a 2.3 mile hike to Alum Cave Bluff. This moderately difficult hike is 4.6 miles round-trip or 5.1 miles on to LeConte Lodge. The round-trip to the cave bluff takes about 2 and 1/2 hours, but allow about 3 and 1/2 hours to LeConte Lodge. The Alum Cave Trail is the most popular and well-known route to Mount Le Conte. Features include Arch Rock, 1993 summer storm damage, Inspiration Point, Alum Cave Bluff.

Rainbow Falls TrailThe Rainbow Falls Trail is fairly challenging if completed all the way to Mt LeConte. Allow an hour and a half to Rainbow Falls and four hours to Mt LeConte. Hikers will gain nearly 4,000 feet in elevation by the time they get to Mt. LeConte. The Point of departure is at Cherokee Orchard Road – Turn at light #8 in Gatlinburg and follow the Airport Road 1 mile out of Gatlinburg into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The name will change from Airport Road to Cherokee Orchard Road. About 2.5 miles after entering the Park, Cherokee Orchard Road approaches the Rainbow Falls parking area. You will find the trail head at one edge of the parking area. Features of interest include the 2.8 mile point when you arrive at Rainbow Falls. At the 6.6 mile point you will come upon an Alum Cave Trail junction which leads left 0.1 mile to the LeConte Lodge.

Biking in the Smoky Mountains (Gatlinburg, Tennessee & North Carolina)

Motorcycle enthusiasts love the Smoky Mountains & Blue Ridge Mountains as a scenic adventure of riding their bikes each year. Here are a few videos, links, & guidelines to review for those bikers out there who plan a 2011 visit. There are also biker-friendly chalets, log cabins, & townhomes out there that can accommodate you no matter the size of your group. You can even rent bikes in the Smokies. There is a motorcycle museum less than 1 hour away from Gatlinburg. There is also a Harley-Davidson Museum in Pigeon Forge (full-service dealership):
105 Waldens Main Street
Pigeon Forge, TN 37863
Phone: 865-774-3445

Come see us in the Smoky Mountains! It will be the road trip of a lifetime here in the Gatlinburg & Pigeon Forge areas of Tennessee!

Other information provided by the National Park:
Motorcycle Safety

Every year park rangers investigate many motorcycle accidents. Unfortunately, a significant number involve fatalities.

Be alert: Animals may dart out from forest edges. Other drivers may pay too much attention to the scenery and cross over the center line into your travel lane or may suddenly stop their vehicles in the middle of the road to observe wildlife. Sleet and snow may fall on higher elevation roads during any month of the year. Rocks, tree limbs, or gravel may be strewn across roads after storms or high winds. These and other unforeseen conditions can lead to motorcycle accidents.

 


Suggestions for Motorcycle Riding

•Watch for vehicles straying over the center line.

•Stay alert for sudden stops or traffic slow-downs, especially around scenic pullouts or other congested areas.

•Wear brightly colored clothing or jackets to increase visibility to other motorists.

•Carry raingear.

•Be aware of road surfaces as you ride. Look ahead for oil spots, loose rocks, trees or tree limbs, and gravel or sand (gravel or sand is spread on roads for traction during snowy or icy weather).

•Watch for wildlife at the forest edge.

•Be alert for weather changes—unexpected rain, snow, ice, and hail can make park roads hazardous throughout the year.

•Secure your motorcycle and valuables when you are away from your bike.

•Shake the crowds! Explore some of the lesser used areas and roads.


State Laws Require:

•Wear an approved motorcycle safety helmet.

•Don’t speed or pass on a double line—park rangers enforce traffic regulations.