Are you a nature enthusiast or an adventure seeker? Are you looking for your next vacation destination where you can enjoy the great outdoors and take part in some outdoor adventures? Then you’ve got to hear about the Great Smoky Mountains!

Picture this: stunning landscapes and a whole host of activities that bring you face-to-face with the beauty of Mother Nature. But with so much to do, how do you pick what’s best for your trip to the Smokies?

Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered. In this article, we’re diving into some of the coolest things to do in the Great Smoky Mountains. Whether you’re planning a trip or just daydreaming about one, these ideas are sure to spark your wanderlust and get you excited for a Smoky Mountain adventure!

  1. Ziplining 

Zipping offers hours of fun. It’s two and a half hours of adventure, especially if you dare to challenge Goliath, the tallest zipline in the Great Smokies. This mammoth stands at 475 feet, taking you through two mountains at 55 mph.

They have set up some new lines in Gatlinburg as well that let you zipline side by side with a friend to take in the wonderful view of the Smoky Mountains. So, don’t miss out on an opportunity to go zip lining in Tennessee with your family members the next time you’re in the area.

  1. Camping under the stars 

The Smoky Mountains offer a lot of comfy camping grounds. You can put up camp there, live close to Mother Nature, and engage in stargazing after nightfall. That’s why a lot of campers prefer to explore the Great Smokies in their RVs.

We recommend you look for campgrounds near the Smoky Mountains with all the amenities necessary for a comfortable stay. Some of these amenities include the following:

  • Volleyball areas
  • Swimming pools 
  • Laundry facilities
  • Hook-ups for RV utilities

It’s ideal to reserve your spot near Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg online before heading out to the Great Smokies, especially if you’re planning to travel there in the peak season. 

  1. Wildlife viewing excursions

Statistics from the government would tell that almost 1,900 black bears live in the Smoky Mountains. These woods are home to some amazing animals and serve as a sanctuary for many endangered species as well. So, don’t let go of this great chance to observe these majestic creatures slumbering in their natural habitats.

However, it’s very, very important to keep your distance; never get too close to these animals, especially the black bears. Witness their majesty from a safe distance to make new memories without getting harmed.

  1. Fishing in mountain streams

But not all animals in the Great Smokies are untouchable! You can always try your hand at fly fishing. The water-clear streams of the Great Smokies are teeming with trout. Maybe you can catch lunch on a sunny, breezy afternoon and go back to your campsite to cook it up. 

Think of fly fishing as more like a meditative experience to enjoy when exploring the Smoky Mountains.

  1. Hiking

What could be more enjoyable than hiking along the scenic trails in the Smokies? Even if you are not much of an adventure enthusiast – this is one thing everyone must do on their Smoky Mountains vacation! 

If you have decided to explore the Appalachian landscape, there are plenty of hiking trails for you. What’s even more exciting is that you can choose different trails based on difficulty levels! So, there are trails for novices, beginners, and expert hikers, accommodating all kinds of tourists. 

Just make sure you have enough snacks and water for this difficult expedition.

  1. Biking the Cades Cove Loop

Not everyone is a big fan of hiking and exhausting their feet. And if you’re one of these people, you can try exploring the 11-mile route of Cades Cove Loop on a bicycle. Traverse rolling hills and meadows while discovering historic sites. Enjoy the mountain breeze whistling through your ears while you sightsee the amazing scenery of the Great Smokies.

The Cades Cove Loop isn’t the only route for cycling enthusiasts; you should try the Gatlinburg Trail, the Oconaluftee River Trail, and the Lower Deep Creek Trail as well.

  1. Whitewater rafting and Kayaking

If you ever find yourself in Pigeon Forge, do consider enjoying the waves in the Little Pigeon River. It’s a 5-mile-long stretch available mostly between May and September. It’s an amazing way to experience class I through IV rapids in a raft, thrilling yourself down this great river. 

Moreover, you should try inflatable kayaking if you wish to conquer the waters without putting your safety in a raft. Kayaking through the twists and turns of this mountainous river is an awesome way to enjoy the Great Smokies outdoors.

  1. Picnics at Cades Cove

There’s no better destination for picnicking than the Great Smokies, a lush valley surrounded from all sides by beautiful mountains. So, pack your lunch and enjoy a leisurely outdoor meal while sitting in the middle of a spectacular landscape. 

Look for the best picnic areas in the Smokies. Travel experts have described Twin Creeks, Collins Creek, and Deep Creek as the best picnic destinations in the area. So, don’t let all those fun theme parks in Gatlinburg prevent you from a Great Smokies picnic.

  1. Photography expeditions

The awe-inspiring beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains invites people to memorize their trip in the form of photographs. Take as many pictures as possible to eternalize your vacation to this piece of heaven on Earth.

If you have rented a cabin back in Pigeon Forge, then take some selfies from the balcony. Share your travels with your friends, family, and (if you’re comfortable with this) followers on Instagram. Maybe you’ll discover a hidden passion for photography while participating in such an expedition.

But hey, don’t let that camera distract you from enjoying nature in all its glory.


This article has been all about the must-do outdoor activities in the Great Smoky Mountains. Think of it as your ultimate checklist for an unforgettable trip. We’ve talked about everything from the classic hikes that offer breathtaking views to thrilling biking trails to setting up camp under the stars. 

And it’s not just about the action-packed stuff like whitewater rafting; there’s also plenty of chances for those quieter moments, like stargazing or capturing the perfect selfie against some stunning backdrops.

So, pack your bags, grab your camera, and get ready for an adventure that you’ll be talking about for years to come!

Sanket Goyal

Sanket has been in digital marketing for 8 years. He has worked with various MNCs and brands, helping them grow their online presence.

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