Top 5 Things to Do in the Smoky Mountains for Nature Lovers

river in the smoky mountains
April 18, 2016

The Smoky Mountains are home to some of the most beautiful natural elements on the Eastern seaboard and should definitely be on the "must visit" list for any nature lover. With a number of lakes and rivers, not to mention the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the possibilities for exploration are endless. Whether you enjoy reaching new heights by hiking to the peak of one of the Smokies' most popular mountains, learning about the area's natural history, wildlife and vegetation, or spending your days on the waterways of one of the Smokies' many rivers or lakes, we're sure there are plenty of things to do in the Smoky Mountains to keep nature lovers coming back for more!

Check out these 5 great things to do in the Smoky Mountains that any nature lover is certain to enjoy:

1. Hiking

From beginner to experienced and everything in between, the Smoky Mountains offer a range of challenging yet enjoyable hikes to some of the range’s most fabulous scenic views. Every season offers something special for hikers with the spring/summer months revealing gorgeous wildflowers in bloom and plenty of streams to cool off in on your way to the top. Some of the area’s most popular hiking spots include Chimney Tops, Mt. LeConte, Andrew’s Bald, Alum Cave and Charlies Bunion. Planning to hike with children? Check out Porters Creek or the Kephart Prong Trail to introduce them to the wonders of the Smokies on a more moderate-level trail.

2. Fishing

Fishing in the Smoky Mountains

Another great activity that’s a ton of fun as the weather warms up is fishing. The Smoky Mountain area is home to several freshwater lakes including Douglas Lake (TN) and Fontana Lake (NC), and each is located approximately 30 minutes from the park itself. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is also home to one of the last wild trout habitats in the Eastern U.S., and all streams in the park are open to be fished. As always, before you decide to fish, be sure to check on licensing requirements as they vary from state to state and within certain areas of the national park.

3. Wildlife Viewing

If you’re a wildlife enthusiast, you’ve come to the right place! While many forms of wildlife including birds, deer and occasionally bears can be seen wandering throughout the natural habitat that surrounds our cabins, if you want to get a closer view head into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and check out one of the open viewing areas such as Cades Cove or Cataloochee. Wildlife viewing is one of the most kid-friendly things to do in the Smoky Mountains, as it allows them to see a range of different animals that they wouldn’t normally encounter, including elk, raccoons, turkeys, woodchucks and more.

4. Horseback Riding

Horseback Riding in the Smoky Mountains

The Smoky Mountains offer several different ways to enjoy nature on horseback including guided tours through a number of area stables, as well as special trails and horse camps that allow you to bring your own ride. Check out the Sugarlands Riding Stables at the Gatlinburg entrance of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park for a ride that takes you off the beatin’ path.

5. Zip Lining

Zip lining in the Smokies

One of the best things to do in the Smoky Mountains that you may not have thought of is zip lining. Zip lining gives you a chance to get in touch with nature in a whole new way! Offering outdoor fun for all ages, CLIMB Works, located in Gatlinburg just across the street from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, offers 9 different world-class ziplines that will take you on an unforgettable 2.5 hour treetop tour of the Smokies. For the best experience, be sure to make your ziplining reservation ahead of time and dress appropriately to make the most of your outdoor adventure.

You simply cannot go wrong no matter how you choose to spend your time in the great outdoors during your Smoky Mountain vacation, and after a day filled with outdoor activities, you’ll have the perfect place to recuperate when you book one of our Smoky Mountain cabin rentals. Check out all of our great cabins today!