Welcome to Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Forested Landscapes

The sun-dappled forests of the Great Smoky Mountains are a four-season wonderland. Rich blooms of springtime wildflowers come in all colors and sizes, while flame azaleas light up the high-elevation meadows in summer. Autumn brings its own fiery rewards with quilted hues of orange, burgundy and saffron blanketing the mountain slopes. In winter, snow-covered fields and ice-fringed cascades transform the Smokies into a serene, cold-weather retreat. This mesmerizing backdrop is also a World Heritage Site, harboring more biodiversity than any other national park in America.

Echoes of the Past

In small mountain communities around the Smokies, early settlers built log cabins, one-room schoolhouses, stream-fed gristmills and single-steeple churches amid the fertile forest valleys. The park has preserved many of these vestiges of the past, which make up one of the largest collections of log structures in the nation. You can get glimpses of the lives these homesteaders lived while exploring photogenic open-air museums sprinkled all around the park. You can walk bridges built by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the Great Depression and wander through abandoned resort villages that boomed during the lumber days.

Mountain High

The Smokies are part of the vast Appalachian chain, among the oldest mountains on the planet. Formed more than 200 million years ago, these ancient peaks were once much higher – perhaps as high as the Himalayas – but have been worn down by the ages. You can contemplate that remote past while huffing your way up to the top of a 6000ft peak overlooking the seemingly endless expanse of undulating ridges that stretch off into the distance. There are mesmerizing viewpoints all across the park, as well as one mountaintop lodge that can only be reached by foot.

Reconnecting with Nature

The Smokies are a magical place to unplug from the information overload of modern-day life and reconnect with nature – indeed you’ll be forced to, given the lack of mobile-phone service within the park. Days here are spent hiking past shimmering waterfalls and picnicking beside boulder-filled mountain streams, followed by evenings around the campfire as stars glimmer above the forest canopy. The park’s abundant plant and animal species create memorable opportunities for wildlife-watching, whether seeing elk grazing in the early morning light in Cataloochee, watching turkeys strut across the fields near Oconaluftee, or perhaps spying a bear ambling through the thick groves outside of Cades Cove.

Top experiences in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

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Travel guides

Starting at $38.99

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Great Smoky Mountains National Park activities

$41 Outdoor Activities

Great Smoky Mountains Waterfall Adventure

Your tour starts at the Greenbrier entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park (directions listed in your voucher), where you'll meet your naturalist guide. During your hike to several small waterfalls, you'll be immersed in the natural beauty of the one of the country's most biodiverse parks. Learn about the park's native wildlife, and pause for a snack on a moss-covered rock before crossing a clear mountain stream by hopping along the rocks. This 3-hour moderately strenuous walk (with a couple of difficult spots) is a great way for outdoor lovers to soak up the fresh mountain air and enjoy a small taste of adventure as you traverse narrow ridges. An alternate walk will be offered during periods of wet weather. If you are severely allergic to poison ivy or are not up for an adventurous hike, we have a beautiful alternate tour available.

$40.36 Water Sports

Upper Pigeon River Whitewater Rafting Trip with Guide

Enjoy an exciting 6.5 mile raft trip down Class 3 and Class 4 rapids through the heart of the Smoky Mountains. The certified guides will navigate your raft the entire trip, while sharing their love of splashing through the big waves, maneuvering around rocks, and enjoying the beauty of being in the great outdoors. Big waves, big drops and plenty of surfing will assure that you have the time of your life. On your trip, you'll get to run about 70 rapids ranging from Class 1 to Class 4. Trips go rain or shine! But, never fear, the Big Pigeon River is for the inexperienced and experienced paddlers.

$41 Outdoor Activities

Explore a Simpler Time Smoky Mountain Tour

Come for a guided nature walk and explore the best of what the Great Smoky Mountains National Park has to offer. For two decades, your naturalist guides from A Walk in the Woods have safely taken over 100,000 people through these mountains. They'll lead you to some of the most magical places in North America. You'll learn about the natural and human history of the Smokies in a fun and delightful way. You'll hear Cherokee lore and maybe an Appalachian tall tale. You'll learn what the Native Americans and Settlers did for food and medicine before there were grocery stores and pharmacies. You might even sample a tasty mountain treat. Every guided walk is geared towards enjoying the journey at a pleasant pace, using all of your senses to explore nature in a new way. You will also explore a small family cemetery, a 19th century barn, spring-house and restored cabin, and more. The difficulty for this 3-hour tour is considered easy, with a few moderate spots.

$32.68 Water Sports

Lower Pigeon River Rafting Tour

Rafting on the lower Pigeon River is one of the best attractions in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. It's a 5.5-mile trip through the scenic Pigeon River gorge. This adventure begins at the outpost and ends at the Denton Bridge. From there we bus you back up to the outpost. During your Pigeon River rafting trip you will run about 50 Class 1 and 2 rapids with one Class 3 at the end. Water fights and splashing are very popular on the lower Pigeon River. There is a guide in every raft. You will be provided with a lifejacket, helmet, and paddle for every rafter.

$31 Water Sports

Scenic Floats on the Lower Section of the Pigeon River

As the Pigeon River comes out of the steeper parts of the gorge it calms down a bit. Beginning at our outpost, the Lower Section of the Pigeon River is perfect for those looking for a scenic float trip of the Smoky Mountains. Stretching 5.5 miles of river distance and lasting approximately 1.5 hours, this section is beautiful and relaxing with a sample of whitewater. Class I & II rapids provide a great introduction for those not wanting to go straight to the Upper Section. No experience necessary. Take in the views, soak in some sun, and splash in the cool water on this ideal Smoky Mountain float trip.After your guide double-checks to make sure all equipment is fitted properly, guests then take a short walk from our outpost down to the river where their raft awaits. After completing the trip, guests will hop on our bus for a short 10-minute ride back to our outpost where guests can take a warm shower and change into dry clothes. But, don't forget about the pictures! Each group has a series of photos taken. You and your group can check out your pictures in our outpost after your trip

$39 Water Sports

White Water Rafting on the Pigeon River

Trips on this section launch at the TN/NC state line, surrounded by views of the mountains as well as the hydroelectric powerhouse feeding water into the river. And it doesn't take long to get into the whitewater. Within minutes of the put-in, guests find themselves paddling into their first Class III rapid of the day; the aptly named Powerhouse. With the help of an experienced guide, your group will continue through a total of 10 Class III rapids and 3 Class IV rapids, before finishing the trip back at our outpost. With rapid names like Lost Guide, Double-Reactionary, and Snapdragon, guests can expect plenty of excitement on this trip. But don't worry, there will still be time between the rapids to take in the views, soak up some sun and have a swim. This is the ideal trip for those wanting to enhance the beauty of the Smokies with the thrill of whitewater rafting.Each trip on the Upper Section finishes back at our outpost, where guests can quickly take a warm shower and change into dry clothes. But, don't forget about the pictures! Each group has a series of photos taken of them paddling through an exciting Class III rapid. You and your group can check out your pictures in our outpost after your trip.