Wilderness Wildlife Week in Pigeon Forge

Outdoor fun is not limited to summer, spring, and fall in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Neighboring Gatlinburg, placing it just down the road from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Pigeon Forge is known for its fantastic scenery and great events year-round. In January, Pigeon Forge welcomes one of the area's most popular events. The annual Wilderness Wildlife Week is perfect for nature lovers and educators, offering classes, nature walks and talks, seminars, and kids' activities that teach all about the wildlife and natural history of the area.

The event has been recognized year after year as one of the nation's leading conservation education events, giving it the extra credibility that hardcore nature enthusiasts seek. It's also wildly popular because of the hands-on fun and educational experiences available for kids. Wilderness Wildlife Week is a fantastic way to introduce kids to nature and conservation, particularly in a time when phones, tablets, and TVs seem to be taking over. Just unplug and unwind!

With activities for all ages, Wilderness Wildlife Week attracts thousands of nature lovers to Pigeon Forge. The event lasts a little over a week, and it's designed to connect visitors with the outdoor world of the Great Smoky Mountains. It's one of the most popular Winterfest events because it offers so many different classes and activities.

Throughout Wilderness Wildlife Week, people can participate in more than 50 challenging hikes, exciting field trips, over 100 lectures and classes, informational workshops, presentations, and more. Some of the presentations include topics such as:

  • The Appalachian Trail
  • Nature photography
  • Camera Basics 101
  • Carving
  • Fly Fishing the Smokies
  • A day in the life of a riverboat captain
  • Bear safety
  • Great Smoky Mountains heritage
  • Mountain wildflowers
  • Meditating
  • Rock formations
  • Kids' hiking
  • Conservation
  • Black bear encounters
  • Banjo playing
  • Lightroom photo editing
  • Mountain music & instruments
  • Fossils
  • Cougars in the Smokies
  • Changing weather in the Smokies
  • Cherokee Indian heritage and history
  • Mount Everest & its climbers
  • Civil War in the West
  • Lewis & Clark
  • Birds and butterflies
  • Basket making
  • Nature writing
  • Hawks of the Smokies
  • Cartooning for kids

Wilderness Wildlife Week typically features about 90 nature experts who provide visitors with a wealth of information about the many wonders found in one of our nation's most biologically diverse national parks – the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. During the week, representatives from the National Park Service, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, Tennessee State Parks, Appalachian Bear Center, Foundation to Protect America's Eagles, and many educators from universities come together to promote nature education.

Guest speakers during workshops, seminars, and classes will cover topics ranging from natural and cultural history to photography, fly fishing, songbirds, wildlife, wildflowers, and more. The history of the Smoky Mountains and legends of the Cherokee Indians and early settlers will be a huge part of this fantastic Pigeon Forge event.

The International Festivals and Events Association has recognized the event for its environmental and educational efforts. Teachers and educators from all over will fall in love with the Wilderness Wildlife week, as many programs and activities are designed for small children. Others can enjoy the guided hikes through the Smokies, which range from easy, relaxed walks to more strenuous treks. Best of all, Wilderness Wildlife Week is FREE! What a fantastic family event to attend in Pigeon Forge!

Whether you're a teacher seeking the ideal field trip, a nature enthusiast looking to learn more, or a family trying to find an event that will please both children and adults, you're guaranteed a satisfying experience in January at Wilderness Wildlife Week. Workshops, discussions, classes, and presentations, as well as hike sign ups, are held at the LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge, located at 2986 Teaster Lane, Pigeon Forge, TN. Call 1.800.251.9100 or 865.453.8574 for more information. The information desk is open daily from 7 a.m. - 9 p.m., and the vendor and exhibit hall is open daily from 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Looking for more fun on a Pigeon Forge winter vacation? Check out the other Winterfest events, which run from November to February and include Christmas shows, special occasions at the Titanic Museum Attraction, fireworks, the Trolley Tour of Lights, and much more! Downtown dinner shows offer Christmas and holiday-themed shows, and downtown shops adorn their windows with festive décor, making every walk down the Parkway a magical one.

Cabins for YOU has Pigeon Forge cabin rentals just a few minutes away from the heart of downtown Pigeon Forge. After classes or hikes during Wilderness Wildlife Week, our cabins will be a warm place to relax. Curl up by a wood-burning fireplace, unwind in an outdoor hot tub or indoor jetted tub, whip up homemade meals in fully-equipped kitchens, and get some rest in comfortable beds. So head to Pigeon Forge this winter, just in time to be enlightened during Wilderness Wildlife Week!

More Outdoor Fun

For those who just can’t get enough of the great outdoors, there is much more to do beyond Wilderness Wildlife Week. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park – the most visited national park in the U.S. – boasts more than 800 miles of trails. Easy trails offer something for younger kids and beginners, while more taxing climbs challenge seasoned hikers and those looking to push themselves. Each trail offers something unique, from close-up waterfall views, fields of wildflowers, and historic buildings to incredible mountain vistas, wildlife, and quiet mountain streams.

Mountain streams in and around the national park are perfect for a day of fishing – just bring your gear – and there are plenty of scenic drives where you can pull off and take in amazing views of the Smokies. For the more adventurous tourists, there is whitewater rafting or skydiving nearby, along with fun at Smoky Mountain Ziplines, outdoor adventures with Smoky Mountain Guides, the alpine slide at Ober Gatlinburg, and several mountain coasters!

For a more laid-back outdoor experience, there are quiet spots for picnics, swimming holes for hot summer days, open-air trolleys for rides around downtown, afternoons spent rocking on a cabin porch with a glass of lemonade, and nights spent soaking in a hot tub underneath the stars. No matter what you want to do, there is no shortage of outdoor activities here!