Every visitor can enjoy the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee in their own way, no matter what strikes their fancy. People who love the outdoors can observe the majesty of the Smoky Mountains up close on a hike or from a raft on the river. Visitors who prefer to stay indoors can admire the surrounding Smoky Mountains from afar as they sample more low-key attractions. Check out these options to try on your next visit to the Smoky Mountain region of Tennessee!
Consider a whitewater rafting adventure on the Pigeon River. Admire the trees, wildlife, and mountains as you navigate the rushing river with an experienced guide. Whitewater rafting is ideal for adventurous visitors who love to take in the view from the water.
The trails through the Smoky Mountains vary in difficulty, so visitors can find a trail that suits their abilities. Rainbow Falls Trail is a moderately strenuous hike that allows visitors to enjoy the rhododendrons, pink lady’s slippers, and teaberry on the way to Rainbow Falls. These falls get their name from the rainbow that appears in the sunlight of the afternoon. Chimney Tops Trail is a four-mile path that leads hikers across streams and up steep inclines to observe the scenery from rocky pinnacles called the Chimney Tops. Other well-known trails in the Smoky Mountains include the Charlies Bunion, Andrews Bald, and Alum Cave trails.
Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies
This expansive aquarium in Gatlinburg has a variety of sea life on display. Their coral reef exhibit includes butterfly fish, regal blue tang, foxface rabbitfish, and, of course, clownfish. Sharks, stingrays, eels, and penguins are a few of the other animals you can see at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies. Don’t forget to visit Touch-a-Ray Bay!
Gatlinburg Sky Lift
Visitors who want to experience the beauty of the Smokies from above may want to try this attraction. Take a ride to the top of Crockett Mountain to observe the view of the mountains and city through binoculars. Try the Gatlinburg Sky Lift during the day and at night to get the full experience.
The Great Smoky Mountain Wheel
Travel to The Island in Pigeon Forge to experience the Great Smoky Mountain Wheel. Riders sit in gondolas that are raised 200 feet in the air to achieve a perfect view of the Smokies. The gondolas are climate-controlled and have glass walls so visitors don’t miss a thing. Along with the Great Smoky Mountain Wheel, The Island has rides, shops, and restaurants for guests to enjoy.
Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Odditorium
Take a tour through Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Odditorium in Gatlinburg to see a life-sized ostrich skeleton, shrunken heads, amazing optical illusions, and other oddities that help this attraction live up to its name. The Odditorium has three floors and 500-plus exhibits with exotic items from throughout the world.