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Top Four Outdoor Activities in Gatlinburg For Families

Blog Home : Category Posts : Top Four Outdoor Activities in Gatlinburg For Families

Make your next Gatlinburg vacation memorable by seeking thrills that go beyond traditional attractions. Our picks for the top four outdoor activities in Gatlinburg for families will leave the heart pumping while you make beautiful memories with those who matter most, ensuring an unbeatable getaway experience.

Fun For All Ages

The power of nature is present throughout the Gatlinburg area and beyond, making it easy to want to get outside and start having fun. Safety is paramount, which is why we've put together a list of excellent outdoor activities for kids so everyone can get in on the fun.

Biking

Riding a bicycle is a classic activity that everyone, young and old, can enjoy. Fortunately, Gatlinburg offers many trails that let you take cycling to another level for extra enjoyment. Some of our favorite places to ride bikes in the Smoky Mountains are:

Gatlinburg Trail

The Gatlinburg trail is nearly flat, making it accessible for all ages. Two paths are open to bicycles, ensuring the whole group can do this activity together. The trail covers 1.9 miles one way and starts at the Sugarlands Visitor Center along the Little Pigeon River.

Cades Cove Loop Road

The Cades Cove Loop Road is popular with everyone, thanks to providing plenty to see as you cover the 11 miles. While vehicles can access this road for most of the year, they are prohibited from May 5th to September 1st, letting everyone cycle safely. If you don't have your own bike, you can rent one at the Cades Cove campground store.

Foothill Parkway

Are you feeling the need for more of a challenge while riding your bike? You'll love the Foothill Parkway. Go extreme by covering the entire 60-mile roundtrip path or break up the ride into shorter, more manageable sections.

Before tackling this trail, keep in mind it's steep with about 8,000 feet of climbing necessary. Also, there are no stores on this route, so load up the snacks and water before heading out to ride.

Hiking

Riding on two wheels is fun, but it's not easy to explore your surroundings compared to the benefits of hiking. Enjoy a slow pace designed to let everyone in the group see the beauty of the Smoky Mountains firsthand.

Rainbow Falls Trail

The Rainbow Falls Trail covers 5.1 miles and offers a moderately challenging path for seasoned hikers. For the best experience, plan your hike between March and November.

Grotto Falls via Trillium Gap Trail

Another moderate challenge, this 2.6-mile trail takes a little over an hour to complete but offers gorgeous views throughout. Hike between April and October to get the best experience possible.

Cataract Falls

This trail is only ten minutes from downtown Gatlinburg, so you'll love its accessibility. Covering ¾ of a mile, it is excellent for all ages, including young children, letting everyone enjoy beautiful scenery without too much effort.

Horseback Riding

Nothing says being outside more than horseback riding through the Smoky Mountains. Fortunately, thanks to local stables in the area, you don't need your own horse to enjoy this popular activity. Experience trails, see the wildlife, and enjoy your adventure.

Smoky Mountain Riding Stables

This stable offers guided backcountry excursions, letting you enjoy a more rustic experience. After saddling up, you'll enjoy a 45-minute tour that covers three miles of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. During your ride, you'll see the streams, trails, and possibly bears, giving you a firsthand look at nature's beauty.

Sugarlands Riding Stables

This family-friendly stable offers well-trained horses and professional tours, ensuring safe and guided adventure through the national park. With four miles to cover, you'll enjoy an hour of pure natural bliss as you look for signs of the local wildlife.

There are longer rides available for avid riders or those who want more fun. One ride is six miles, while the other covers eight miles. The most experienced riders can select the four-hour, 15-mile ride if they feel up to the challenge.

Mini-Golf

Sometimes, you're looking for things to do in Gatlinburg without having to make a huge production of things. Arguably, the best option to do this is through mini golf. Prove your skills and enjoy the different themes each mini golf course offers.

Hillbilly Golf

The most famous option for mini golf in Gatlinburg is Hillbilly Golf. You'll start with an incline railway ride up the side of a mountain. After, it's time to tackle one of the two 18-hole courses. While playing, you'll hear banjos playing in the background while enjoying hillbilly-themed obstacles for a unique, challenging experience.

Ripley's Davy Crockett Mini-Golf

Hit this course and prove your skills to become known as the best mini-golf player in your family. Throughout one of the two 18-hole courses, you'll face interactive elements and hazards while trying to get the ball in the hole. While you can just do the golfing, consider purchasing a combo ticket so you can enjoy other Ripley's attractions while on vacation in Gatlinburg.

Treasure Quest Golf

For those moments when you want to get out, but the Gatlinburg, TN, weather isn't cooperating you want to visit Treasure Quest Golf. This 18-hole golf course is indoors and provides a jungle temple as a backdrop. Golf your way through dinosaur bones, tombs, and other elements, including a blacklight element on some of the holes.

Maximize Your Gatlinburg Vacation

When not playing in the Smoky Mountains, you'll love relaxing and unwinding in a Gatlinburg cabin that keeps you close to everything. Take it easy in the hot tub or keep the fun going in the game room. Many of our vacation rentals offer large yards and access to the surrounding woods, letting you enjoy outdoor activities in Gatlinburg however you see fit.

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