Walkin’ In A Winter Wonderland

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Don’t let the winter months scare you from going outside, there is still so much to be seen. The Great Smoky Mountain National Park is brimming with beauty, even in the colder months. Several hikes will give you luxurious views of snowy mountains, icy falls and even traces of wildlife!snowycreek_ig

Alum Cave Bluffs is a 5 mile, round trip hike that sits off of Newfound Gap Road. The trail has recently been restored for better access to hikers. During the winter months, the drips from the Bluff turn into icicles, so watch out! If you continue from the Bluffs up another 2.5 miles, you’ll reach the summit of Mt. LeConte and run into some amazing views. This is a difficult hike, especially in the snow so don’t forget to come prepared for anything.

Another Local favorite is Porters Creek Trail. This kid-friendly, 2 mile hike leads into what used to be a small farmstead. You will see several buildings and other structures still standing from the early 1900s. Follow the trail left up to Fern Branch Falls for a magnificent view of the 60-foot frozen waterfall. laurel250xv

Laurel Falls is a paved, relatively easy trail, but one of the most traveled in the area. The trail is kid-friendly, although it does have a few steep drop offs along the way. In the winter, the Falls will ice over providing you with the perfect winter snapshot.

Our favorite winter hike would have to be Rainbow Falls. This 5.5 mile hike is rated as moderate to difficult, climbing a total of 1,700 feet. This trail sends you right through Bear Country so always keep an eye out for wildlife, even though they usually hibernate through winter. The 80-foot Falls usually boasts a beautiful rainbow, hence the name, although in the winter months it will freeze, creating a gorgeous hourglass shaped ice sculpture! You really have to see this one for yourself!

Remember that preparation is key for hiking, especially in the winter. Some guidelines to ensuring your safety include carrying a map of the area, informing another person(s) where you are going and when you plan to return, researching terrain or trail conditions and staying up to date on weather and weather alerts. Don’t forget to bring key items such as water, food, a flashlight, trekking poles for stability, an emergency blanket and other items you may need in case any unforeseen issues arise. Always dress in layers and wear adequate shoes or boots. Stay aware of your surroundings at all times and always practice Leave No Trace principles.

 

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This blog is sponsored by ERA In The Smokies Realty and Rentals located at 207 Parkway in Gatlinburg. For more info. on a Gatlinburg Cabin for your Smoky Mountain Vacation or all the reasons to move to the Smokies, call 1-800-309-0277. ERA In The Smokies is a leader in chalet and Log Cabin Rentals and Real Estate Sales in the Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and Smoky Mountain areas.

Let it Snow!

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We are happy to say that Ober Gatlinburg is up and running! Ride the famous Aerial Tram from Downtown Gatlinburg up 2.1 miles to the Ski Resort and Amusement Park as a great way to kick off your day. The views are astonishing! Once at the top, there are a variety of activities for all members of the family. They feature an indoor ice skating rink, arcade, carousel and wildlife encounters that are perfect for anyone not wanting to brave the elements.

They have a outdoor Alpine Slide and a Ski Mountain Coaster for family friendly outdoor activities. Ober has also opened up Snow tubing, which has been a huge hit for anyone ages 3 and older. It’s just like sledding but you don’t have to walk back up,  Ober has a “magic carpet” that takes care of that! If you have little ones, they also offer a Cubbies Snow Zone for the kids to play. Entry is free with an area/lift ticket.

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The slopes will resume regular operating hours following the start of the 2016/2017 season. Ticket prices vary on amount of days and equipment rental. The resort starting blowing snow last week and already has a base of over 15″ on most of their runs. Of course, you’ll have to check the forecast daily. And with 10 different trails and 7 different lifts, you’re sure to find one to suit your needs.

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This blog is sponsored by ERA In The Smokies Realty and Rentals located at 207 Parkway in Gatlinburg. For more info. on a Gatlinburg Cabin for your Smoky Mountain Vacation or all the reasons to move to the Smokies, call 1-800-309-0277. ERA In The Smokies is a leader in chalet and Log Cabin Rentals and Real Estate Sales in the Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and Smoky Mountain areas.

It’s Still Fall, Y’all!

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November is coming to a close, but that doesn’t mean it’s over yet! The leaves are still changing so there’s time to experience the wonderful colors the Smokies have to offer. You may just have to take a walk on the wild side with some adventurous coasters or saddle up for a whole new outlook on the beauty our area has to offer.

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We now have an incredible selection of coasters in the area. Start off small with the Alpine Slide at Ober. This 1800 foot track is fun for all ages! They also have the Ski Mountain Coaster where you can enjoy a faster ride down a 3750 foot metal track! If you would like to see the colors from all areas and angles, try the other coasters in the area as well. Stop by Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster 640px-DW_Wild_Eagle.JPGon your way into town to experience their 35 mph coaster. Or if you’ll be lodging in Pigeon Forge, the Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster would be a fun stop for the kids (and adults!). Go big or go home with Dollywood‘s roller coaster the Wild Eagle®. It is definitely one of a kind! While “flying” high above the park itself, the views you catch showcase the Smoky Mountains.

 

sunset riders 250xTo slow down the pace a bit, head over to Cades Cove. This 11-mile loop through the National Park offers a close up look of the flora and fauna we have in the area. Take your time to drive around the loop or just take the shortcut at one of the two they have. They also offer Horseback Riding Tours Guided  Hayrides, and Carriage Tours up until November 30 (weather permitting). You’re sure to see some of the wild animals in this area and some of the prettiest close up views from inside the park itself.

 

Want to soar through the trees? Head over the CLIMB Works Zipline Canopy Tour to get up close and personal with nature. Start off with an ATV ride to the top in groups of six. Sticking with a “true tree canopy” feel, during the tour  your feet won’t touch the ground for 2 1/2 hours! You’ll walk over 3 sky bridges giving you a ‘bird’s eye view’ when not zipping. If you’re looking for more of a challenge they also offer Mountain Biking. El Regis Trail is a two mile loop that is considered intermediate, but beginners up for a challenge are more than welcome on it as well.

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This blog is sponsored by ERA In The Smokies Realty and
Rentals located at 207 Parkway in Gatlinburg. For more info. on a Gatlinburg Cabin for your Smoky Mountain Vacation or all the reasons to move to the Smokies, call 1-800-309-0277. ERA In The Smokies is a leader in chalet and Log Cabin Rentals and Real Estate Sales in the Gatlinburg area.