Family-Friendly Hikes and Activities Near Gatlinburg & Pigeon Forge

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Family-Friendly Hikes and Activities Near Gatlinburg & Pigeon Forge, TN

1. Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail

For families with young children or those looking for a leisurely stroll amidst nature's beauty, the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail is an ideal choice. This picturesque 5.5-mile loop offers easy access to cascading waterfalls, historic buildings, and lush forests. Keep an eye out for wildlife such as black bears, deer, and various bird species along the way.

2. Laurel Falls Trail

Another family-friendly hike worth exploring is the Laurel Falls Trail, a paved path leading to the breathtaking 80-foot Laurel Falls. This 2.6-mile round-trip trek is suitable for all skill levels and provides an opportunity to marvel at the mesmerizing beauty of one of the most iconic waterfalls in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

3. Ober Gatlinburg

For a unique mountain experience that the whole family will love, head to Ober Gatlinburg. This mountain-top amusement park offers a range of activities, including skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, and wildlife encounters. During the summer months, you can enjoy scenic chairlift rides, mini-golf, water slides, and a wildlife habitat featuring bears, river otters, and more.

4. Anakeesta

Anakeesta is another must-visit destination for families seeking adventure and fun in Gatlinburg. Take a scenic ride on the Chondola or Ridge Rambler to reach the mountain-top village, where you'll find a variety of attractions, including a treetop canopy walk, zip lines, gem mining, and a mountain coaster. The Firefly Village offers dining options and shopping opportunities, making it a perfect spot for relaxation after a day of exploration.

5. Cades Cove

No visit to Gatlinburg is complete without exploring Cades Cove, a picturesque valley surrounded by mountains and teeming with wildlife. Take a scenic drive or rent bicycles to explore the 11-mile loop road, stopping at historic homesteads, churches, and scenic overlooks along the way. Keep your camera ready for sightings of deer, black bears, wild turkeys, and other native wildlife.

Whether you're seeking a leisurely stroll amidst nature's beauty or an adrenaline-pumping adventure, Gatlinburg offers a plethora of family-friendly hikes and activities to suit every preference. So pack your hiking boots, grab your camera, and get ready to create unforgettable memories with your loved ones in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains.

6. Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies

Dive into an underwater adventure at Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies, where kids can marvel at fascinating sea creatures from around the world. From playful penguins and mesmerizing jellyfish to majestic sharks and colorful coral reefs, the aquarium offers immersive exhibits that will captivate young minds. Don't miss the chance to walk through the underwater tunnel and watch in awe as sharks and other marine life swim overhead.

7. The Coaster at Goats on the Roof

Prepare for an unforgettable ride at The Coaster at Goats on the Roof, where you'll twist and turn down the mountainside amidst lush forests and scenic vistas. This unique mountain coaster takes you on a thrilling journey through the trees, with speeds reaching up to 30 miles per hour. Keep an eye out for the resident goats on the roof as you zoom past on this exciting ride.

8. Greenbrier: Best Hidden Gem

Nestled within the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park lies a hidden gem known as Greenbrier. Outside of the bustling crowds and tourist attractions of nearby Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, lies Greenbrier entry's network of picturesque hiking trails, which meander through dense forests, alongside babbling streams, and past cascading waterfalls.

  • One popular trail is the Ramsey Cascades Trail, which leads hikers on a challenging but rewarding journey to the tallest waterfall in the park. Along the way, you'll encounter towering old-growth trees, moss-covered boulders, and the soothing sounds of nature.
  • For those seeking a more leisurely stroll, the Porters Creek Trail is a scenic option that features historic homesteads, wildflower meadows, and a peaceful creek. Keep an eye out for wildlife such as deer, black bears, and songbirds as you explore the tranquil beauty of Greenbrier.


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