Our Gatlinburg restaurant is located just a short drive away from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, where you can spend the day taking in the fantastic mountain views and learning about the history of the area. Whether you want to hike along some of the most popular trails or simply take a scenic drive with the windows down, there are numerous ways to enjoy the peacefulness of the Smokies! Here are 4 of the most exciting things to do in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park:
1. Explore Historic Buildings
As you probably know, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is filled with fascinating stories and history. One of the best ways to learn more about the people who shaped the mountains into what it is today, you can visit some of their old homesites and other historic buildings in the park. Located in Cades Cove, the John Oliver Cabin was built by the first permanent European settlers in the area, John Oliver and his wife Lucretia. During their early days in Cades Cove, they did not have a working grist mill and built their cabin using only gravity and notched corners, meaning there is not a single nail in the foundation. Some of the other historic places you will want to check out include the Little Greenbrier School, the Primitive Baptist Church, and the Walker Sisters’ Place.
2. Search for Wildlife
As you make your way through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, be on the lookout for some of the incredible creatures that call the area home. Some of the animals you may come across include white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, horses, coyotes, and even black bears. While these animals can be seen anywhere in the mountains, Cades Cove is one of the most popular places in the park for wildlife viewing. As you make your way along the loop road, drive slowly and keep a close eye on the grassy fields and up in the trees because you never know what you might see!
3. Hike the Trails
Did you know the Smoky Mountains feature over 850 miles of hiking trails? The good thing about this is that it is easy to find a hike that is suitable for all ages and skill levels. For a good beginning level hike for children, we recommend either the Cataract Falls Trail or Laurel Falls Trail. Both of these pathways are relatively flat and provide excellent mountain views and waterfalls! If you are an experienced hiker, you can’t beat the incredible scenery from the top of Mount LeConte or the Chimney Tops in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. There are both short and long hikes in the park, so you can choose how long you want to spend on the trails and what you want to see the most!
4. Take a Scenic Drive
In addition to Cades Cove Loop Road, there are plenty of other scenic drives that are worth checking out in the Smokies. A drive through the national park allows your family to soak up the beauty of the mountains without having to walk long distances. Some of the best drives in the Smoky Mountains include the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, Newfound Gap Road, the Foothills Parkway, and Clingmans Dome Road. All of these routes have plenty of pull-offs where you can get out to stretch your legs and take plenty of photos of the natural beauty.
After your exciting day in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, you can return back to Gatlinburg to enjoy a fantastic meal at The Peddler Steakhouse. Take a look at our amazing menu options to start planning your next trip to see us! We look forward to seeing you soon!