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January 9th, 2023
A tent campsite at Pigeon River Campground in the Smoky Mountains.

6 Best Things to Do in the Smoky Mountains This Summer

June 19, 2018 January 9th, 2023

Nothing gets better than breathing in the fresh mountain air during the sweet summertime! When you visit the Smoky Mountains during the summer, you’re guaranteed to have the time of your life exploring everything that the area has to offer. Whether you’re coasting down the river on one of our rafting trips, or soaring through the trees on a zipline, you’ll be making memories that last a lifetime! Here are the 6 best things to do in the Smoky Mountains this summer:

An extreme rafting trip with Smoky Mountain Outdoors.1. White Water Rafting

Of course you don’t want to miss the chance to go white water rafting in the Smoky Mountains during the summer! You’ll have a variety of rafting trips to choose from, like a 6.5-mile trip down class 3 and 4 rapids, or a more relaxing float on the Lower Pigeon River. If you’re looking for a more thrilling adventure, try our Extreme Upper River Rafting Trip offered in the summer! You’ll get to raft down the Upper Pigeon River in a smaller raft for an exciting experience full of hitting big waves and pushing the limits. The ability to swim is required and previous rafting experience is recommended for this trip.

2. Ziplining

Another great activity during the summer is to go ziplining! Ziplining in the Smoky Mountains allows guests to get a bird’s eye view of the gorgeous mountain scenery. You’ll have plenty of options for great places to go ziplining, and each adventure includes other fun activities, like aerial bridges and ATV rides! We’ve teamed up with CLIMB Works to offer the ultimate adventure package, so you can save money on both a rafting trip with us and a ziplining adventure with CLIMB Works.

3. Hiking

Woman hiking in the Smoky Mountains as part of our Gatlinburg white water rafting trip.One of the best ways to see all the gorgeous sights of the Smokies is to go for a hike! The Great Smoky Mountains National Park has more than 850 miles of hiking trails for you to explore. During the summer, you can see gorgeous waterfalls, wildflowers, wildlife and more! The trails range in level of difficulty, so there is something for every skill level, from beginners to experts. If you plan on going for a hike, read our blog, “Top 5 Trails for Summer Hiking in the Smokies.”

4. Camping

Spend a night in the great outdoors when you visit the Smoky Mountains this summer! You can sleep underneath the stars and make the most of your vacation. After you go white water rafting, head down the road to Pigeon River Campground! Pigeon River Campground has old-fashioned tent campsites, RV campsites and even camping cabins for you to choose from. There are even a variety of amenities to enhance your camping experience, like a swimming pool, a general store, and river access for fishing!

5. Horseback Riding

guided horseback riding in the smoky mountainsTo explore the Smoky Mountains in a different way, go horseback riding! There are great horseback riding opportunities in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. One of the best places that offers horseback riding is Cades Cove Riding Stables. Their guided trail rides are fun for both beginners and experts. All of the horses have been handpicked for their calm temperament and athletic ability, and each horse is matched to suit your skill level. You’ll even go through an orientation before your ride so you feel safe with your horse! You’ll love traveling through the winding trails of the Smokies on the back of a horse. Cades Cove Riding Stables also offers guided carriage rides and guided hayrides!

6. Fishing

For a relaxing summer activity, go fishing! If you stay at Pigeon River Campground, you can catch smallmouth bass fish, as well as trout along the bank. You can even go to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to fish! The national park has 2,900 miles of streams, all of which are open to fishing. Fishing is available from sunrise to sunset. A valid fishing license is required to fish in the park.

Enjoy all of these amazing things to do in the Smoky Mountains when you visit this summer! Start planning your vacation by browsing all of our exciting white water rafting trips.