You’re an active person who lives life to the fullest, seeking authentic adventures wherever you go. When you chose the Great Smoky Mountains for your vacation destination, you picked a world-class playground. Here are four ways to get out and play in this amazing landscape.
Bluff Mountain ATV Adventures
Deep in Wear’s Valley is a 6,000-acre private mountain reserve where you can ride fully automatic all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) on mountain trails and across clear mountain streams. Feel the power of your motor as you conquer rough terrain on your ride to the top of the “Bluff” for outstanding views of surrounding valleys. Bluff Mountain ATV Adventures offers a fleet of ATVs ranging from the 450 Grizzly for one rider to the Teryx for four riders. Solo riders must be at least 12 years old and 57” tall. Passengers under 12 must be at least 57” tall. Ride options range from the 1-hour introductory family ride to the 2+ hour custom ride for experienced riders.
Bluff Mountain ATV Adventures provides training, helmet and safety goggles, and a CPR/First Aid certified trail guide with every ride. Closed-toe shoes are required, and trips go rain or shine. ATVs are available year-round, but ride times vary throughout the year. Please call for scheduling. Trips must be booked at least an hour before ride time, and tickets are sold on a first come, first served basis.
Located within a short drive of Pigeon Forge, the Bluff Mountain ATV Adventures resort includes the Walden’s Creek Lodge, with one-bedroom to seven-bedroom cabins in a rustic mountain setting.
Smoky Mountain Riding Stables
View native flora and wildlife from the back of your mild-mannered trail horse. An authorized concessioner of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Smoky Mountain Riding Stables has been providing horseback riding trips on wilderness mountain trails within the National Park boundary for 30 years. Trails can be steep, and the scenery is unparalleled.
Each trip is accompanied by CPR/First Aid certified trail guides, and no prior riding experience is necessary. The minimum age for riders is 5 years old, and maximum allowed weight is 225 pounds. The introductory-level ride is 45 minutes, with trips up to 4 hours for very experienced riders. Helmets are available upon request, and some special needs may be accommodated.
While dates may vary, the riding season is generally March – November. Trips do not go out in the rain, and for safety reasons, there is no trotting or cantering. Trips are sold on a first come, first served basis, and advance reservations are not available.
Smoky Mountain Riding Stables and sister property Sugarlands Riding Stables offer the only horseback riding trails in the National Park and close to Gatlinburg.
CLIMB Works Zipline Canopy Tours and Mountain Bike Trail
Experience the beauty of the Smoky Mountains from the tree tops on this world-class canopy tour that will keep you swinging for 2.5 hours. For 10 years, CLIMB Works set the standard for building, inspecting, and training on ropes courses before opening their first location near Gatlinburg in 2010. From the ATV ride at the beginning of the tour through 9 lines, 3 sky bridges, and a surprise ending, this course will inspire you to step out of your comfort zone and soar to new heights.
Prefer solid ground beneath you as your swoop down the mountain? Try the CLIMB Works Mountain Bike Trail—the only dedicated mountain bike trail in the Gatlinburg area. Bring your own or rent a bike to ride this intermediate two-mile loop. Beginners are welcome, and bike experts are committed to giving pointers to make this an incredible first experience.
Adventure packages are available for same-day or back-to-back days of outdoor adventure thrills. Choose to combine CLIMB Works Ziplining and Mountain Biking, or add Whitewater Rafting on the nearby Pigeon River with Smoky Mountain Outdoors.
Smoky Mountain Outdoors, the largest whitewater rafting outfitter in the area, offers Class III / IV whitewater trips and ages 8 and up and Class I / II scenic river floats for ages 3 and up. No rafting experience is required, and CPR/First Aid certified river professionals guide every boat.
Rafting season is March – September. Trip times vary, so advance reservations are strongly recommended. Book your package online through CLIMB Works for special savings.
Pigeon River Campground
Get away from it all! Camp on the river and wake up in the fresh mountain air. The brand new Pigeon River Campground is located on the bank of the Pigeon River next door to Smoky Mountain Outdoors Whitewater Rafting in Hartford, TN. Open since 2015, lodging options include rustic camping cabins, wooded tent sites, and full-hook-up RV sites. Amenities include wi-fi, individually locked bathrooms, swimming pool, camp store, and private river access for fishermen and private boaters.
With easy on-off access from I-40, this destination puts you halfway between Sevierville, TN, and Asheville, NC—right in the heart of the largest managed public lands in the Eastern US. Make Pigeon River Campground your base camp for adventure packages, including whitewater rafting or guided hikes with Smoky Mountain Outdoors, zipline canopy tours with CLIMB Works, mountain biking with CLIMB Works, or exploring the trails and roads of nearby Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Cherokee or Pisgah National Forests.
There are plenty of options for getting into the heart of the mountains in the Smoky Mountain Region. We hope these suggestions help you plan a vacation that provides you with memories to last a lifetime.
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