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Smoky Mountain Activities + Things To Do

The Smokies offer activities for visitors of various ages and interests. Recommended Smoky Mountain activities include camping, hiking, picnicking, sightseeing, fishing, horseback riding, and nature viewing. There are also opportunities for ranger-guided programs.

Smoky Mountain Activities: Hiking

There are 850 miles of hiking trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Wander the mountain ridges, investigate the isolated coves and experience for yourself the mystery of the mountains. In the spring and fall temperatures are mild and the splendor of abundant spring wildflowers or autumn forests of red and gold prove a thrill for every audience.

Hiking

Picnic Spots

There are plenty of official picnic areas in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. These are all great spots to bring the family and enjoy a prepared lunch together. Many of these places even double as swimming holes, great for warm summer days. Plan a picnic on your next vacation.

Picnic Spots

Swimming Holes

Looking for places to go swimming in the Smoky Mountains? Check out this list of the top swimming holes in the Smoky Mountains to help you find a place to cool off. Some you can drive to; others you must hike. Alternatively you can always find a nice spot on the river following the road into the national park from the Townsend entrance.

Swimming Holes

Biking

There are many opportunities to bike on roads in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, but none as popular as the 11 mile one way Cades Cove Loop Road. This loop provides bicyclists with excellent opportunities for wildlife viewing and touring of 19th century home sites. Deer and black bear are the most popular animals sighted along the way.

Biking

Camping

Camping is one of the most popular Smoky Mountain activities. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park Service maintains developed campgrounds at ten locations within the park. These campgrounds have restrooms with cold running water, flush toilets, fire grates and picnic tables. For the avid backpacker, backcountry camping is another option.

Camping

Fishing

The Great Smoky Mountains is home to one of the last wild trout habitats in the eastern United States. With over 2,115 miles of streams in its boundaries, the Smokies offer a variety of angling experiences from remote, headwater trout streams to large, cool water small mouth bass streams. Fishing is permitted year-round in the park, from 30 minutes before sunrise until 30 minutes after sunset. The park allows fishing in all streams.

Fishing

Horseback Riding

Horseback riding in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is an exciting way to enjoy the outdoors. There are approximately 550 miles of the park’s trails that are open to horses. Take advantage of the many opportunities to view nature from horseback. If you wish to rent a horse, horseback riding by the hour is available at five different commercial stables located in the park from mid-March through late November.

Horseback Riding

Scenic Drives

In Spring? Lush green everywhere and lovely all the way. In Winter? Perfect view of mountain topography with vivid details of the forest floor. Large growth forest scenes envelope your senses as you glide though the mountain mist. Take a ride down the Blue Ridge Parkway, Cades Cove Loop, or if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, check out The Tail Of The Dragon.

Scenic Drives

Just For Kids

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers “Parks As Classrooms” for students K-8th grades. This allows teachers to bring their students to the park for a hands-on learning experience. Check out one of our kid-friendly blogs for tips on all kinds of things to do in Pigeon Forge with the family.

Just For Kids