A Spring Break Escape in the Smoky Mountain Outdoors
An elementary school-aged boy shoves an old homework assignment into his backpack. He dashes over to his buddy on the other side of the classroom. “Your mom said you could come with us on vacation, right? It’s going to be so awesome!”
A teenage girl loads a suitcase in her bedroom. She’s FaceTiming her bestie and asks, “What are you going to wear on the trails? I mean, we’re going to be riding horses, but I still want to look cute!”
An employee shuts down her work computer with a satisfied smile. She prepares to clock out when a coworker catches her in the hall. “Got any special plans for the break?” “You know it. I’m taking the kids ziplining and horseback riding in Gatlinburg, TN!”
After a long and cold winter, spring break will be here before you know it. With April showers and May flowers come the first warm days of the year, inviting you to get some much-needed outdoor time in nature. Soak up the sun on the best zipline in Gatlinburg, and bathe your senses in a tranquil forest while horseback riding in Pigeon Forge. Springtime in the Smokies is ripe with these kinds of family-friendly outdoor adventures!
Horseback Riding in Pigeon Forge & Beyond
The Great Smoky Mountains contain thousands of miles of winding nature trails riddled with historical sites, old-growth forests, and unique wildlife species. While hiking is undoubtedly a great way to get some forest therapy, exploring the mountain terrain on the back of a horse makes it that much more memorable. These stables and ranches will pair you with a gentle equine guide for a scenic journey into the wilderness.
Big Rock Dude Ranch at Ponderosa
The best horseback riding in Pigeon Forge is undoubtedly found at Big Rock Dude Ranch at Ponderosa. Set out for a 3.5-mile journey and enjoy the beautiful views of the mountains and surrounding forest. Their expert equestrians take meticulous care of the 80+ horses, ensuring that they are well fed and watered between tours. Because the horses are so well-socialized, they are very gentle with their human riders, and total beginners will feel at ease. Once you return to the ranch, you’ll find plenty of other fun activities to try. Before heading back into town for dinner, spend the afternoon checking out the petting zoo, fishing pond, gem mining station, and general store.
Sugarlands Riding Stables
With Sugarlands Riding Stables, your one, one-and-a-half, or two-hour tour through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park won’t be just any old walk in the park. While you take in spectacular views of glistening streams and secluded woods, you’re bound to catch glimpses of local wildlife, including black bears, turkeys, and deer. Even where there’s steep or rough terrain, your veteran horse guide will carry you with ease, as trained by professional handlers with over 20 years of experience. Beginners and advanced riders are welcome. However, riders must be at least 5 years old and under 225 pounds. If you’re looking for horseback riding in Gatlinburg, Sugarlands Riding Stables and their 40 magnificent horses are the clear winners!
At Jayell Ranch, you’ll get a chance to see some of the most spectacular natural landmarks in Eastern Tennessee and Western North Carolina, such as Mount LeConte and Shield’s Mountain Fort. Their one-hour horseback riding tour wanders across four miles of trails within the impressive 260-acre property. The outdoor adventures don’t have to stop at the stables, either. Jayell Ranch also offers a 6-line ziplining course, a 12-mile guided ATV tour, a thrilling mountain tubing slide, and an interactive visit with the exotic birds and monkeys in the aviary. Come for the horses and stay for the monkeys – you won’t be disappointed with the variety of all-ages outdoor fun at Jayell Ranch!
Wears Valley Ranch
You love the idea of escaping into a natural setting full of horses and animals, but perhaps you prefer keeping your own two feet on the ground. A visit to Wears Valley Ranch is an excellent way to get the full outdoor ranch experience without the obligation to ride. Wears Valley Ranch is a 120-acre property whose mission is to support children in crisis through counseling, education, recreation, and equestrian programs. Aside from providing a home for children without a strong family system, this retreat welcomes visitors to stroll through the scenic ranch property, say hello to the horses, view the chapel and art gallery, and pick up a scoop of homemade ice cream.
Best Ziplines in Gatlinburg & Sevierville
It’s no secret that the Smokies are one of the most naturally beautiful places on Earth. Countless visitors come to Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg each year just for a glimpse and a photo of the rippling layers of hazy blue peaks. Yet, few may be aware that these incredible panoramic landscapes are best viewed from the heights of a zipline. These ziplining courses will show you a whole new world from the treetops while taking you on the ride of a lifetime.
CLIMB Works Zipline
One of the top-rated ziplines in Tennessee according to TripAdvisor, Google, Facebook, and Yelp, CLIMB Works Zipline has – and only needs – two zipline tours to scratch your high-speed itch. The 2-hour Mountaintop Zipline Tour consists of 6 dual lines, in which you can zip alongside one of your family members. Between zips, you’ll cross four sky bridges set against stunning views of the surrounding mountain scenery, then rappel safely off the platform after the final line. In the 2.5-hour Treetop Zipline Tour, get ready for 9 lines soaring over trees, valleys, and streams, plus 3 sky bridges and a rappel to finish. Both tours also include an exciting ATV ride to the top of the mountain, climbing 400 feet in elevation. From this scenic altitude, you’ll get to witness the remarkable beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park up-close while learning about the area’s history from your tour guide and educational placards. It’s no wonder CLIMB Works Zipline can be considered the best zipline in Gatlinburg!
Foxfire Mountain Adventure Park
From whitewater rafting to hiking tours to ziplining, Foxfire Mountain Adventure Park is Sevierville’s premier venue for all the most popular outdoor activities to do in the Smokies. When it comes to ziplining, you have a choice of two tours. The Waterfall Canopy Tour spans 7 zips, plus 3 introductory lines, and features a flight over the picturesque Lost Mine Falls and creek. Daredevils may want to pick the Goliath Tour, consisting of five high-adrenaline zips shooting over pastures, forests, rivers, and valleys. Your tour will include a spin on the longest, highest and fastest ziplines in the Smokies, soaring 475 feet high for half a mile at 55 mph over the Little Pigeon River! Participants must be at least 7 years old for the Waterfall Canopy Tour or 10 years old for the Goliath Tour. Foxfire Mountain Adventure Park is a whirlwind of high-flying escape into the mountain scenery.
Wahoo Ziplines will take you on a panoramic thrill ride through 80 acres of gorgeous grounds. Once you’re all strapped in, get ready to zoom at a heart-racing 40 mph on their six signature lines ranging from 900- to 1600-feet long. For two hours, you’ll get to perfect your flying technique and see your feet dangle anywhere from 40 to 250 feet in the air! If ziplining sounds nerve-wracking to you as a first-timer, Wahoo Ziplines is an excellent place to get started. Their experienced guides will instruct you and ensure your safety every step of the way. Plus, you won’t have to worry about slowing down in time with their speed-regulated lines. At Wahoo Ziplines, you can literally let go and feel the wind rushing by!
Escape the daily grind, and take full advantage of your spring break with an adventurous dive back into nature. From hiking and camping to whitewater rafting and off-roading, there is certainly no shortage of exciting outdoor adventures in the Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. However, the moderate springtime weather is perhaps best suited to activities like ziplining and horseback riding. You’ll never forget the unbridled excitement with which your son raced on the zips, nor the enraptured ardor with which your daughter communed with the horses.
Content on this page is subject to change. Please contact the locations mentioned to see if promotions, hours, pricing, etc. are still valid.
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