Fall is in the air, and cool weather is right around the corner! I am slowly reminded of this fact every time my dog waits by the door for her bathroom breaks (which seem to increase in frequency as the temperature drops). Although my claim to fame isn’t exactly being the outdoorsy type, my husband loves being outside – camping, hiking and everything else – so I am slowly expanding my extracurriculars. So, for both my husband and I, the lover and the learner, the Great Smoky Mountains are the perfect place to spend some quality time in nature. If you’re planning a trip to Gatlinburg before the really cold weather arrives, here are some great activities for a nice day outside.
Birdwatching – The crest of the Smoky Mountains towers almost a mile above the foothills, which allows for a wide range of elevations and topographies. This diversity provides an array of habitats and micro climates for a large variety of birds. Around 240 species of birds have been found in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Golf – With the background of the beautiful Smoky Mountains, Gatlinburg has a number of magnificent golf courses. Gatlinburg Golf Course and the Bent Creek Golf Course are just two of the great courses in the area.
Whitewater rafting – Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge are home to quite a few whitewater rafting outfitters, all ready to take you splashing down the Big Pigeon and other local rivers. Whitewater rafting is a challenging and exciting activity for kids of all ages.
Hiking – This is definitely one of the most popular activities in the Great Smoky Mountains. With over 800 miles of hiking trails ranging in difficulty, there is something for all ages and abilities. Whether you just want to spend an hour lazily taking in the wooded views, or you want to challenge yourself to hike to the highest or best waterfalls, there is a trail for you.
Horseback riding – Another great way to take in the incredible sights of the Smokies is a horseback ride. Smoky Mountain Stables and Sugarlands Riding Stables offer guided tours for people of all ages. This is wonderful for a family activity or a romantic day outside.