During the white water rafting off season, there is still plenty to do in the surrounding area. As the most visited national park in the country, the Great Smoky Mountains are packed with fun activities for everyone to enjoy. Here are 4 things to do in the Smoky Mountains National Park when you’re not rafting with us:
1. Go on a Hike
With over 800 miles of hiking trails in the national park, there are tons of trails that you will love, regardless of your experience or skill as a hiker. If you’re looking for something easy that your whole family can partake in, we recommend trails such as Grotto Falls or Laurel Falls, both of which feature gorgeous waterfalls at the end of the hike. Note, if you want to explore Laurel Falls, you’ll need to make parking reservations ahead of time as they are required for this trailhead. For those looking for a little more adventure and challenge, the Chimney Tops and Mount LeConte are great options. These trails will both challenge you and reward you with unbeatable views at the summit. Regardless of which hikes you decide to take, you won’t be disappointed by the natural beauty of the Smoky Mountains.
2. Have a Picnic
There are tons of fantastic spots in the Smokies to throw down and blanket and enjoy your favorite snacks and drinks for a picnic. A few of the most popular picnic spots include the Chimneys Picnic Area, Greenbrier Picnic Area, Big Creek Picnic Area and the Collins Creek Picnic Area. Kick back and listen to the sounds of the mountains while enjoying good food and good company. There is nothing quite like finishing the day with a delicious picnic after spending hours exploring and hiking through the park.
3. Bike Cades Cove
As a fan-favorite spot in the area, visiting Cades Cove is definitely one of the best things to do in the Smoky Mountains National Park. While you can drive or walk the 11-mile Cades Cove loop, we recommend taking your bike to enjoy a pleasant ride through the mountains and valleys. Cades Cove is also a great place to see wildlife in the Smokies, so keep an eye out for white tailed deer, turkey and even families of black bears. If none of the picnic areas mentioned above spark your interest, try the Cades Cove Picnic Area, which is a perfect place to stop and catch your breath on your bike ride. You will also get to see a few historic Appalachian buildings throughout the loop, including churches, cabins and barns.
4. Take an Auto Tour
If you prefer to take in the Smokies from the comfort of your car, you should try an auto tour of the mountains. Auto touring has long been a favorite way for travelers to enjoy the park, giving easy access to some of the best views along various pull-offs on the roads. Some of the most popular drives for the best views include Newfound Gap Road, Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail and Upper Tremont Road. If you’re a motorcyclist, you will love the feeling of the wind through your hair as you drive these gorgeous roads! Some of these roads are closed during icy conditions so make sure to check their status before attempting to drive them.
Now that you know about a few of the fun things to do in the Smoky Mountains National Park when you aren’t rafting with us, you can begin to plan your trip to the Smokies during our off season. Do you have any questions about rafting with us or other fun activities in the area? Contact us today and let one of our knowledgeable team members assist you with whatever you need!