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Our most recommended Gatlinburg Nature & adventure

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Self-Guided Driving Tour

1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park Self-Guided Driving Tour

Start by downloading the Action Tour Guide app, which will function as your personal tour guide, audio tour, and map. Purchase one tour per car, not per person. Everyone listens together! NOTE: This 47-mile-long tour covers the essentials of the Great Smoky Mountains in 5-6 hours. Explore the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and discover why it’s the most visited National Park in the country. Buckle up and prepare for a deep dive into the most famous stretch of the Appalachians. Enjoy a flexible route that allows you to take all the time you need to admire the timeless wonders of the mountains. Start by downloading the Action Tour Guide app that will function as your personal guide, audio tour, and map all in one. Purchase one tour per car, not per person. Everyone listens together! Drive through the scenic mountains and hear all about parts of Cherokee history, like the ancient Cherokee monarchy and the revolutionaries who fought against it. Get detailed accounts of Cherokee ancestral legends, from the great buzzard who shaped the Smoky Mountains from clay to the witch whose droplets of blood bloom into stalks of corn. Experience animated videos allowing you to visualize what you cannot see, such as snapshots from different centuries or interior rooms. Be pointed towards some of the most awe-inspiring sights in the park. Gaze at the majestic Rainbow Falls, the breath-taking 360-degree views atop Clingmans Dome, and hear about the deep-rooted history of the Elys Mill. Learn about the complex flora and fauna which call the mountains home. Get to know the creatures of Cades Cove and learn how wildfires form an integral part of the vast and interconnected ecosystem. As you drive, audio stories will automatically pop up and start playing, allowing you to keep your attention on the natural beauty of the Smoky Mountains.

Great Smoky Mountains NP & Cades Cove Self-Guided Tour

2. Great Smoky Mountains NP & Cades Cove Self-Guided Tour

Start by downloading the Action Tour Guide app, which will function as your personal tour guide, audio tour, and map. Purchase one tour per car, not per person. Everyone listens together! Note: This 72+ mile-long tour covers the essentials of Great Smoky and Cades Cove Bundle in 4-5 hours. Explore the Great Smoky Mountains at your own pace with a self-guided and self-driving tour. Hike to Alum Cave, enjoy a panoramic view from Charles Overlook, and discover Cades Coves from the comfort of your own car. Start by downloading the Action Tour Guide app that will function as your personal guide, audio tour, and map all in one. Purchase one tour per car, not per person. Everyone listens together! Drive to the Oconaluftee Visitor Center to start your journey. After exploring the Visitor Center, head past the Mingus Mill, a remnant of a once-thriving town. As you drive to Beech Flats Quiet Walkway, hear accounts of the Cherokee people who once lived here. Learn about their legends and their struggle to hold onto their land. Once you arrive, enjoy a meditative stroll through nature. Hop back into your car and head to Charles Webb Overlook, which offers a panoramic view of the park. Once you’ve snapped some stunning photos, continue toward Clingman’s Dome, the highest peak in the Smokies, for more unparalleled views of the mountains. Continue to the trail for Alum Cave, one of the most popular hikes in the park. If you wish, take the moderate 4.4-mile roundtrip trail for beautiful panoramas and fascinating rock formations. After your hike, drive to Chimney Tops Overlook, offering more stunning mountain views. Next, enjoy an easy wilderness walk at Balsam Point. As you continue past yet another incredible vista and another secluded walkway, hear little-known park history. Jump back in your car and drive towards Gatlinburg, stopping on the way to check out the pristine Cataract Falls. In Gatlinburg, pass the famous Ripley’s Believe It or Not. Drive past Ogle Place, an old-timey homestead dating back to the 1800s, before arriving at Rainbow Falls. Continue your drive past several more waterfalls and the historic cabins of Ephraim Bales and Reagan Tub, offering a fascinating glimpse into the past. Finally, finish your Great Smoky National Park tour with a visit to the old Ely’s Mill, which is still in operation today. Start the second part of your combination tour, discovering Cades Coves, just west of Gatlinburg. From there, continue west toward the scenic loop. The first landmark on your route is John Oliver Place, once home to some of the first homesteaders to make a living here. After that, pass 3 churches dating back to the 1800s and uncover the devastating impact of the Civil War on this community. Drive to Elijah Oliver Place, a beautifully-preserved homestead offering an authentic look at early pioneer life. If you wish to stretch your legs, hike to Abrams Falls, a secluded, powerful waterfall. Next, drive to Tipton Place. Finally, reach the Carter Shields Cabin, another idyllic homestead from a bygone era. Finish your tour at the start of the loop as you hear about the last family to call the cove home.

Great Smoky Mountains: Self-Guided Audio Driving Tour

3. Great Smoky Mountains: Self-Guided Audio Driving Tour

Take an audio tour guide to explore America’s most-visited National Park. Enjoy the many historic log buildings, wide range of wildlife in diverse ecosystems, extensive hiking trails, and stunning viewpoints from scenic drives and mountain peaks. Benefit from a fully flexible tour which you can take at your own speed. Follow the suggested itineraries, or divide the commentary and create your own half, full or multi- day sightseeing trips. Marvel at the 17,000 species of abundant wildlife from tiny fireflies to colorful and giant salamanders. Witness over 240 species of birds, including woodpeckers, owls and warblers, elk, deer, foxes, bobcats black bears. Explore Cades Cove with its collection of historic homesteads, preserved buildings like Cable Grist Mill and churches. Pause in this scenic valley which is also one of the best and most reliable areas to see wildlife. Witness blue fog rising from the valleys at Newfound Gap and discover the reason why the range is called the Smoky Mountains. Continue on climbing the spur road to Clingmans Dome, the highest peak in Tennessee before taking a trip to the flying saucer-style viewing platform. Traverse the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. Discover a landscape of lush hardwood forest, numerous waterfalls including Rainbow Falls and the Place of a Thousand Drips, as well as historic cabins like Noah “Bud” Ogle’s, grist mills, and other preserved buildings. Learn all about key highlights of the region including: Alum Cave Cable Mill Cades Cove Chimney Tops Clingmans Dome Gatlinburg Grotto Falls John Oliver Place Laurel Falls Mingus Mill Morton Tunnel Newfound Gap Oconaluftee Farm Museum The Sinks Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail Sugarlands

Pigeon Forge: French Broad River and Lake Helicopter Trip

4. Pigeon Forge: French Broad River and Lake Helicopter Trip

Join a helicopter tour and fly alongside the French Broad River, across Douglas Dam and along the western shore picturesque Douglas Lake. As the flight turns southwest, see the Great Smoky Mountains in the distance, but it doesn’t end there. The tour continues southward and over the Sevierville and Dollywood areas. As you climb in altitude, you’ll follow the terrain up to the crest of Cove Mountain at the national park boundary line where you’ll be met with unbeatable views of the Wears Valley area. Continuing along the edge of Wears Valley, travel northbound between Pigeon Forge and the rolling foothills of the Smoky Mountains as you return to the heliport.

Pigeon Forge: Helicopter Tour of Gatllinburg

5. Pigeon Forge: Helicopter Tour of Gatllinburg

Climb aboard a helicopter and admire Gatlinburg from a new vantage point. Enjoy a bird’s-eye view of downtown Sevierville, the Pigeon Forge Parkway, and downtown Gatlinburg on your way towards one of Tennessee’s highest mountains, Mount LeConte. As you fly over the towns of Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, your pilot will provide you with information about iconic landmarks and things to do such as Dollywood, Gatlinburg Sky Bridge, Gatlinburg Space Needle, Anakeesta, and Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies. You'll be able to capture fantastic photos throughout to help you remember this unique experience.

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What people are saying about Gatlinburg

An absolute amazing experience!! It was our first time on a helicopter, the staff took their time to explain everything to us to make sure we felt safe and comfortable. Absolute great views and even better pictures!! Would definitely recommend and will definitely be back to do this when we go back to the smokey mountains !! Great find ⚡️

Had a great time with Emily. We had our 4 year old granddaughter and 11 year old granddaughter with us. Emily made everyone feel comfortable! She even was strong enough to pull my 240 pound husband in the raft after he was swimming!! Sam was pretty fun for the bus ride back too.

give your self time to set it up and allow it to synch. i put it on apple play and the entire vehicle enjoyed the history and guidance. excellent. program. It triggers when you reach a key point and is very informative.

It was amazing we did it twice the view was beautiful don’t leave too late you will miss out a lot. It’s most definitely a two hour ride

Loved hearing the history of the Smokey Mountains.