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.

Stay Warm – Come On In!

Planning your vacation this Winter? Look no further than the Great Smoky Mountains! There are a slew of indoor activities in the area. Whether you’re here with family or on a couples retreat, we have something for you!

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As you drive into Sevier County, you’ll see the crazy large upside-down house known as Wonderworks! This 35,000 square ft. house is jam packed with FUN for the whole family! Inside you’ll find over a hundred hands on exhibits for all ages, with six different “Wonder Zones” to explore. They mix education with entertainment for an experience you’re family won’t forget. Don’t miss the glow in the dark indoor ropes course, sure to bring out the child side in you. If you want to get your adrenaline going, try out the Rock Climbing wall or the Xtreme 360 Bicycle attraction. They even have a bubble lab- where you can blow bubbles bigger than a person! After touring the museum, head over to The Wonders of Magic Show with Terry Evanswood.

The Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies is a true favorite with two levels of sea-sational entertainment. The Penguin Playhouse lets you view the wonderful life of a penguin. They even have a crawl through tunnel for the kids to get an up close and personal look! You can touch a jellyfish or a horseshoe crab in the Discovery Zone. If you would rather stay at bay, take a ride on the 340 ft. glidepath through the tunnel for an experience that is one of a kind. You truly feel like you’re a part of the ocean surrounded by sharks, sea turtles, stingrays and more!

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Lose yourself in a world beyond at MagiquestMaqiquest.jpgThis role-playing game lets you interact with other players as you work your way through quests and other adventures. Use real magic wands to battle your way through and solve the game’s mysteries. Once you complete all three Rune Quests, you can then become a Master Magi.

The Hollywood Wax Museum is located in Pigeon Forge and is the only one in the country that is entirely devoted to celebrity figures. This picture perfect attraction allows you to immerse yourself into Hollywood with lifelike statues of the most famous people of show-biz. Photo-ops are sure to impress your friends with amazing folks such as Charlie Chaplain, Marilyn Monroe, Brad Pitt and more. Check out the other attractions they offer with an all access pass – Hannah’s Maze of Mirrors, Castle of Chaos and Outbreak Dread the Undead.

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We want to welcome Alcatraz East Crime Museum as the newest addition alcatraz-banner-cropto attractions in the Smokies. This  unique museum has artifacts straight from Alcatraz itself, but that’s not all! It’s divided into five different categories: History of Crime, Crime Scene Investigation, The Consequence of Crime, Crime Fighting and Pop Culture. They boast over 500 artifacts and 28 different areas with interactive exhibits.

 

LOGO with textThis 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.

A Smoky Mountain Winter

 

Winterfest is in full effect here in the winterfest lights.jpgGreat Smoky Mountains. Everywhere you turn you are filled with the joy of the holidays, lights throughout the city and holiday decor on every corner will definitely put you in the mood!

Take the Trolley Ride of Lights to sit back, relax and enjoy all the lights in the comfort of a Gatlinburg Trolley. The journey takes you all around town to view the one of a kind displays put out by the city. The new LED lighting provides a bright blast of new and old scenes that portray what Winter means to us, showing off native wildlife to the Great Smoky Mountains as well as holiday themed scenes and some classics from the last 23 years.

 

dollywood-chapelDollywood has all the classic shows going on through their own celebration, Smoky Mountain Christmas. Featuring shows including It’s A Wonderful Life, O’ Holy Night, ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas and more, you’re sure to get in the spirit of Christmas! Stop by Santa Land with the kids for crafts, huge toys and of course a visit with Santa and meet Rudolph and his Friends too! The Parade Of Many Colors closes the night with a spectacular show of lights, floats, characters and more.
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Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland is a Christmas light show unlike one you’ve ever seen before. It is the largest drive-through, fully computerized, LED light and music show of its kind! You just pull up and tune your radio station to the one provided and start your drive through a magical wonderland of moving lights that are synced to the music. After your tour, stop by Santa’s Workshop for several attractions including a petting zoo, pony rides, inflatables, crafts, Christmas movies and of course pictures with Santa! They are located at the Tennessee Smokies Baseball Stadium.

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For over thirty years The Christmas Place has give us the opportunity to enjoy Christmas all year long and is now the South’s largest Christmas shopping village. With over 60 themed Christmas Trees, there is definitely something for everyone! They have everything you may need for Christmas, including decorations, presents, collection items and many others! You can even personalize an ornament for each member of the family. Now that would be a Christmas tradition you wouldn’t forget!

 

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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.