Gatlinburg, TN has attracted many visitors traveling by motorcycle over the years. With it’s winding roads and gorgeous mountain views, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a wonderful place to have fun riding motorcycles and take in the beauty of the mountains. Throughout the many different motorcycles trails there are quaint mountain tours offering culture and history to visitors. Stop in each town and have a meal and discover what the natives have to offer. The trails range from moderate in difficulty to strenuous in difficulty for all levels of experienced drivers. Have fun and remember to always put safety first when riding!
Here is a complied list of great motorcycle trail in the Smokies:
Gatlinburg, TN tour NC, TN- Approximately 225 miles round trip. Travel along the Blue Ridge Parkway heading West and onto Gatlinburg, TN. A terrific road with abundant scenery. Time permitting, drive onto Pigeon Forge, TN and then return home after lunch.
Cherohala Skyway tour NC, TN- Approximately 320 miles round trip. Truly a road in the sky! Typically less traffic than the Blue Ridge Parkway and much more isolated. Arrive in Tellico Plains, TN and have lunch along the river. Return home on the same road with a totally different view of the scenery.
Cherokee/Casino tour NC- Approximately 180 miles round trip. Ride the Blue Ridge Parkway over to Cherokee and learn about the Indian heritage in the area. If you are a gambler, Harrah’s Casino offers an abundance of gambling diversions to take your money.
Biltmore Estate tour NC- Approximately 65 miles round trip. Ride the Blue Ridge Parkway into Asheville and then to the Biltmore Estate, “America’s Castle”. Spend as much time as you like exploring the Estate and Gardens and have lunch while you are there.
Oconee Forest/ Highlands tour NC, SC and GA- Approximately 150 miles round trip. Travel through a canopied forest and up a back road to Highlands. This is one of the more spectacular curvy mountain roads around. Have lunch in the quaint mountain village of Highlands and experience some great shopping afterwards and then head home.
Deals Gap tour NC, TN- Approximately 200 miles round trip. Travel to Bryson City and beyond to Deals Gap and the “Tail of the Dragon”, 318 turns in 11 miles. This is the longest trail in the Smokies, but possibly the most rewarding.
Hot Springs tour NC- Approximately 160 miles round trip. Travel scenic mountain roads to North Carolina’s only natural hot water springs/baths. Be careful, the springs really relax you.
The Newport Trail tour TN- Enjoy scenery of mountain streams, rivers, mountain coves and valleys, town of Newport, TN and the river gorge.
The Dandridge/ Douglas Lake Trail tour TN- Enjoy scenery of mountain streams, river gorge, mountain coves, mountain lake, historic town of Dandridge, TN, Douglas dam and bypass around Pigeon Forge, TN.
The Waynesville/ Cherokee Trail tour NC, TN- Enjoy scenery of mountain streams, river-cut canyon through the Great Smoky Mountains, quaint mountain resort towns and the Cherokee Indian National Reservation. A final ride over the high range of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a grand finale for this scenic and entertaining trail.
The Maggie Valley/ Blue Ridge Parkway Trail tour NC, TN- Enjoy scenery of mountain streams, river-cut canyon through the Great Smoky Mountains, a quaint mountain resort town with regional amusement park combined with spectacular views at roadside overlooks, picnic areas and quiet trails along the Blue Ridge Parkway for one of the most popular motorcycle trails for locals and visitors alike.
Stay at an authentic mountain cabin with ERA In The Smokies and travel to all of the fun motorcycle trails!
There are many different trails to hike in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park ranging from easy to moderate to strenuous. Whether you’re looking for a quiet forest walk and wildflowers or a hike by the river to an amazing waterfall, there is a hike for everyone! Here are a list of the hikes you can complete in a day.
Alum Cave- Features views and interesting geological features. 4.4 miles roundtrip and moderate in difficulty
Charlie’s Bunion- 8.0 miles roundtrip
Spruce-Fir Trail- Located in Newfound Gap/ Clingmans Dome, 0.4 miles roundtrip
Laurel Falls- Located in Elkmont, 2.3 miles roundtrip and features a historical waterfall and stream
Little Brier Gap- Located in Elkmont, features the Walker Sisters Place and is 2.3 miles roundtrip
Grotto Falls- Located in Gatlinburg/ Mt. Leconte, features waterfalls and is 2.6 miles roundtrip
Schoolhouse Gap- Located in Cades Cove/ Townsend, features a quiet forest hike and wildflowers and is 3.8 miles roundtrip
Baskins Creek Falls- Located in Gatlinburg, features waterfalls and is 3.0 miles roundtrip
Andrews Bald- Located in Newfound Gap/ Clingmans Dome, features panoramic views and is 3.5 miles roundtrip
Porter’s Creek Trail- Located in the Greenbrier area, features waterfalls, streams, flowers and an old growth forest, 4.0 miles roundtrip
Abrams Falls- Located in the Cades Cove area, features waterfalls and is 5.0 miles roundtrip
Little River Trail- Located in the Elkmont area, features streams and seasonal wildflowers, 4.9 miles roundtrip
Meigs Mountain Trail- Located in the Elkmont area, quiet forest hike, 4.6 miles roundtrip
Hen Wallow Falls- Located in the Greenbrier area, features waterfalls, 4.4 miles roundtrip
Huskey Gap (Newfound Gap Rd)- Located in Gatlinburg, features a quiet forest walk and is 4.2 miles roundtrip
Chimney Tops- Located in Gatlinburg, features panoramic mountain views and is 4.0 miles roundtrip
Cucumber Gap Loop- Located in Elkmont, features streams and seasonal wildflowers. 5.6 miles roundtrip
Grapeyard Ridge Trail- Located in Greenbrier, features a historical Injun Creek steam engine wreck and is 5.8 miles roundtrip
Deep Creek Headwaters- Located in Newfound Gap, features a stream and is 5.8 miles roundtrip
West Prong Trail- Located in the Cades Cove area, features a stream and quiet forest walk, 5.4 miles roundtrip
Curry Mountain Trail- Located in the Elkmont area, features a quiet forest hike and is 6.4 miles roundtrip
Sugarland Mountain Trail (lower)- Located in the Elkmont area, features a quiet forest hike and is 6.0 miles roundtrip
The Jump Off- Located in Newfound Gap, features panoramic mountain view and is 6.5 miles roundtrip
Bullhead Trail- Located in Gatlinburg, features views and interesting geological features, 5.9 miles roundtrip
Sugarland Mountain Trail (upper)- Located in Newfound Gap, features views and solitude, 7.0 miles roundtrip
It is important to always hike prepared. Here is a complied list of things to bring with you on each day hike in the Smokies during the Summer months.
Backpack, daypack or fanny pack
Water: full canteens, water bottles or hydration pack
Extra food: high energy snacks
Map and/or guidebook
First Aid kit
Toilet paper (in a plastic bag)
Suggested/ Optional Gear:
Notebook with pencil
Zip seal plastic bags
Include in basic first-aid kit:
Sterile gauze pads
Miscellaneous band aids
Decongestant and Antihistamine tablets
Poison ivy cream/ cleansers
Bee sting kit
Snake bite kit
Personal information/ contact person
Never hike alone, give a family member or friend your hiking itinerary and estimated time of return, always stay on the designated trail, don’t hike too quickly pace yourself, start early, check the weather forecast before heading out, know where to get emergency medical care, watch for signs of heat exhaustion, don’t pack too heavily, never approach wild animals, and remember to always have fun!!
Gatlinburg’s 38th annual Craftsmen’s Fair is currently being held in the Gatlinburg Convention Center and will continue until Sunday July 28, 2013. The fair is open daily from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm and 10:00 am to 5:00 pm on Sundays. Admission for adults is $6.00 and children 12 and under are free. The Gatlinburg Convention Center is located at traffic light #8 on the parkway in downtown Gatlinburg.
“Rarely does an event come along that features the wonderful variety of juried artists as the Gatlinburg’s Craftsmen’sFair. It is a show that should not be missed!”- Southeast Tourism Society
There will also be Country and Bluegrass Music Shows daily at the Craftsmen’s Fair. The shows will be held at 12, 2 and 4 pm daily and at 12 and 2 pm on Sundays. The Summer Fair will feature Tim Watson The “Fiddle Man” and Dennis Lee and Band.
With over 200 booths of talented artisans, the Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair is one of the only places that artisans from around the country can gather to demonstrate their talent and beautifully display their one of a kind crafts in the same place. The Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair is a truly magical event where such talent can be seen.
Some participants in this year’s Summer fair include: Larry Burton, an award winning artist from Townsend, TN who uses watercolors on canvas; Sandy Hensley, a jewelry designer from Shelbyville, KY who is inspired by the spirituality of nature for her designs; and Charles Adams, a stained glass artist from Troy, Ala who has been participating in the Craftsmen’s Fair for nearly 30 years and is always a favorite.
There will be a new feature this Summer at the fair:
“We’re partnering with Smoky Mountain Area Rescue Ministries to present our new children’s area. It’s free and available for children ages 2 and up. There will be lots of art projects for them, everything from making necklaces to painting birdhouses. It;s going to be adorable.” -Tracey Large
“Willfully approaching within 50 yards (150 feet), or any distance that disturbs or displaces elk, is illegal in the park. Violation of this federal regulation can result in fines and arrest. Do not enter fields to view elk-remain by the roadside and use binoculars, telephoto lens, or a spotting scope to view the animals.”- Great Smoky Mountains National Park Service
Elk can also be dangerous. Female elk with calves have been known to charge people in defense to their young. Male elk have also been known to charge people if they perceive them as a threat to their domain. Please keep your distance to avoid these hazards.
History of Elk in the park
At one time, elk inhabited the southern Appalachian mountains, but unfortunately, they were eliminated from the region by over-hunting and loss of habitat. The last elk seen in North Carolina was in the late 1700s when it was killed. The last elk was killed in Tennessee in the mid 1800s. By 1900, conservation organizations became concerned that the species would soon become extinct. In cases where a species has been eliminated from the area, the National Park service can choose to reintroduce them. In 2001 the Great Smoky Mountains National Park service began to reintroduce elk to the park. Twenty-five elk were brought here from the Land Between the Lakes National Reservation Area along the Tennessee-Kentucky border.
Fun Facts about Elk
Adult male elk are known as “bulls” and weigh between 600 and 700 pounds
Adult female elk are known as “cows” and weigh about 500 pounds
Adults can be 7 to 10 feet long and stand 4.5 to 5 feet at shoulder length
Adult males have antlers that can grow up to five feet
Elk can live up to 15 years
Elk are vegetarian and eat grasses, forbs, acorns, bark, leaves and buds from shrubs and trees
Newborn elk weigh about 35 pounds and can stand within minutes of birth
In early spring, elk shed their antlers and immediately begin growing new ones
In late spring, elk shed their winter coats and begin to grow beautiful copper-colored, one-layer coats
The fall breeding season is known as “rut”
Elk can be seen in the Cataloochee Valley and in the field beside the Oconalufee Visitors Center
Candy has been around since the cave man, who would eat honey off the honey comb. Over 3000 years ago, chocolate became known when the cacao trees reached the tropical lowlands of southern Mexico. It was then that cacao began to be used for culinary purposes. Candy as Americans know it has been around since the 1800s. The first packaged box of Whitman’s Chocolate hit the scene in 1854. Gatlinburg, TN is known for their numerous local candy stores. Candy Stores have been in Gatlinburg since the 1930s. Downtown Gatlinburg is the right place to be for a delicious homemade sweet treat. There are many myths about candy, but none as infamous as the myth that there is no such thing as healthy candy. The truth is, many treats such as lollipops, candy canes and gummies have no cholesterol or fat, making them a healthier treat than many people realize. Gum drops, most licorice products and many hard candy varieties are fat-free and have little to no cholesterol, plus, they are low-calorie. For example, a cup of candy corn contains fewer calories than the same amount of raisins.
Salt Water Taffy is a big candy item here in the Smokies. The first recorded documents of Salt Water Taffy are dated from the late 1800s. Salt Water Taffy got its name in 1890 in Atlantic City, New Jersey when an ocean wave came ashore one night filling Mr. Bradley’s candy store on the Boardwalk full of ocean water. The next day, a small girl came into the store asking Mr. Bradley if he had any taffy. He replied, “Yes, I have salt water taffy.” Mr. Bradley’s mother overheard his remark and thought the name fit perfectly. In the early 1900s, this new candy was seen at County Fairs and soon many stores were opening. Salt Water Taffy came to the Great Smoky Mountains in the early 1950s and has since been a big attraction for travelers. Is it real “salt water taffy?” You decide.
Below is a list of local candy stores in Gatlinburg and surrounding areas.
Ole Smoky Candy Kitchen-774 Parkway, Gatlinburg,TN 37738
Glades Homemade Candies- 1402 E Parkway #9, Gatlinburg, TN 37738
Reserve your cabin with ERA In The Smokies now and join the Bass Pro Shops in Sevierville, TN every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday from June 8,2013 to July 14,2013 Noon to 5 P.M.. There are numerous activities for the whole family and the best part is they are all FREE! Bring the family together to learn about nature and make lasting memories in the Smokies.
“This is our way of helping families enjoy affordable, fun activities together and create lifelong memories. Bass Pro Shops is committed to helping adults and children out away their laptops, video games and cellphones this summer and head outdoors.” -President Jim Hagale
Activities being featured this summer are:
BB Shooting Range- New in 2013
Carousel- Let the kids enjoy a ride while dad shops for new gear!
Casting Challenge- Test your skills using a fishing rod and reel at the target casting area.
Homemade Ice Cream- Saturdays only 5-6 P.M. while supplies last.
Archery- Learn about bowhunting, equipment and safety tips and more about bowfishing.
Birdwatching- Learn about the function of different types of feathers.
Backyard Adventure- Learn about insets and animals that could be in your backyard and what they eat and if they help of hurt your backyard.
Fishing- Saltwater vs. freshwater
Camping- Learn about the animals you might see while camping.
Wildlife Exploration- Learn about mammals, reptiles, amphibians and arthropods.
Exploring, shooting and hunting- Learn about the history of hunting and conservation benefits and safety tips.
Water Safety- Learn about safety while swimming and boating.
Outdoor Discovery and Conservation- Get tips on how to enjoy the outdoors and hiking, discuss comfort, safety and ways to conserve the beauty of the outdoors.
Make dad a bobber key chain-June 18, 20
Color your own slap bracelet- June 22, 23, 25, 27
Design a lizard door hanger-June 29, 30, July 2, 4
Create a popsicle stick fish- July 6, 7, 9, 11
Paint a deer track- July 13 & 14
While you’re here take the family fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains area! Click the picture above for a link to more information.
True Southern hospitality had its humble beginnings with Smoky Mountain pioneer women. Everyone was always fed and friends and family always had a place to stay and visit. What little they had they gave graciously. The mountain women ran the home, worked hard for what they had and cared for everyone in the household. The national park staff and volunteers will perform live demonstrations of lye soap making, sewing, corn shuck crafts, hearth cooking, and traditional mountain music. Exhibits of artifacts and historic photographs will also be on display offering a glimpse of the past life of the mountain women. The Davis-Queen house will also be open to visitors, including an audio exhibit featuring the last child born in the house.
Corn Shuck Crafts
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is hosting a very special event honoring the traditions of rural Appalachian Mountain women on June 15, 2013 from 10:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M.. The event will be held at the Mountain Farm Museum located next to the national park’s Oconaluftee Visitor Center (Newfound Gap Road, U.S. Highway 441), 2 miles north of Cherokee, North Carolina. This event is free and open to the public.
There are often seen Bull Elk in the field beside the Oconaluftee Visitor Center. Make sure to watch for these magnificent creatures!