The Smoky Mountains sit along the Tennessee/North Carolina border and are actually a subrange of the Appalachian Mountains.
But, geography aside, this is one part of America that you need to visit at least once in your lifetime. The reason is simple, whether you’re an adrenaline junkie or simply enjoy local fauna, you’ll find there is something for everyone.
Check out these 5 great adventures to be inspired –
Follow the Cherokee
Simply grab a hotel in Maggie Valley and head into the Smoky Mountains on foot. You’ll be following the footsteps of the Cherokee Indians that lived in this area for in excess of 14,000 years. Follow the paths and you’ll get to Clingman’s Dome, the view is the same as it was for the Cherokee’s.
You’ll also be in a great spot to take advantage of all the other Maggie Valley attractions.
Hit the Road
If hiking isn’t your thing then you can take the car! It is worth noting that the following route is very popular, you’ll find fewer crowds if you do it in the off-season. That’s April, May, early June, September, and November.
You can start at Asheville, head to Cherokee and check out the Oconaluftee Visitors Centre. You can then follow a route that will show you most of the Smoky Mountains, including Clingman’s Dome, Park Sugarlands Visitor center, and Cades Cove. Stop as often as you please on route!
Take the Train
Make the experience more authentic by taking a vintage train from Bryson City and travel along the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad. You’ll get to see the mountains and abundance of beautiful forests from the safety and comfort of your carriage.
Or, you can do this trip in the festive season when you’ll find the train magically becomes the Polar Express.
Camp in the Mountains
It doesn’t get much better for you and the kids than camping in the mountains and rinsing off in the ice-cold streams!
Try starting by mining for emeralds, sapphires, and rubies in Franklin; you’ll also discover more about these amazing minerals. Then head on up to Cherokee and experience a traditional Indian dinner at one of the great restaurants. You’ll also learn about the people, their history, and their culture.
After a good night’s sleep, you can catch the vintage train to the Nantahala Gorge and try some whitewater rafting!
To finish, after another deep sleep, check out Fontana Lake and the nearby Joyce Kilner Memorial Forest. You can’t go wrong!
Hot Air Balloon
If you want to experience something a little different and enjoy the Smoky Mountains from a new perspective then you’ll want to try one of the Hot Air Balloon rides. There are several to choose from depending on which part of the mountains you want to experience.
If you’re feeling really adventurous you can even get married on one! Now there’s a challenge!