There’s something primal about our need to reconnect with nature. The sights, sounds and smells in nature quicken our senses and make us feel more present, more at peace and more alive. To experience it is to remember that we are each a part of something bigger and wonderous, like the Great Smoky Mountains of eastern Tennessee. Shrouded in an ethereal mist, the ancient peaks of the bluish-hued Smokies straddle the border between Tennessee and North Carolina. They are the centerpiece of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the most-visited national park in the U.S.
The park is filled with opportunities to immerse yourself in the great outdoors, with 850 miles of trails to hike, bike or horseback ride beneath a canopy of leafy branches. Find a sparkling mountain stream and try your luck angling for trout or small mouth bass. Challenge yourself to a whitewater rafting adventure, or spend a sunny summer afternoon floating down a peaceful river. Autumn is spectacular here as well, with mountain slopes covered in a dazzling carpet of red, gold, orange and ochre. Man-made entertainment and attractions are also available any time of year in nearby Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg.
Best known as a ski resort, this attraction also includes America's Largest Aerial Tramway, an amusement park and go-kart track, three “dry water” raft rides plus an 1,800-foot slide.
Rafting in the Smokies
Whitewater-rafting adventures are extremely popular in the mountains of Tennessee and no experience is necessary. The Upper Pigeon is a phenomenal river offering challenges at all skill levels.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The most visited National Park in the United States is home to 900 miles of hiking trails, trout fishing, wildlife encounters and breathtaking views from Clingmans Dome.