Laurel Falls in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

6 Awesome Outdoor Activities in Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains

If you love being outside, you can’t beat a vacation in Gatlinburg, TN! Located at the doorstep of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, our charming city offers a variety of wonderful outdoor adventures. When you stay at Sidney James Mountain Lodge, you will be near all of the best things to do in the great outdoors. To help you make the most of your vacation, we have put together a guide to six of the most popular outdoor activities in Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains.

1. Hiking

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is home to over 800 miles of beautiful trails to explore. The incredible diversity of trails in the Smokies means that you’re virtually guaranteed to find a hike that’s right for your group. Beginners and casual hikers can enjoy a number of trails that are just a few miles long (and some trails that are less than a mile). More adventurous hikers can take on the park’s 14 mile treks and other challenging trails. According to the National Park Service, these are the five most popular hikes in the Smoky Mountains:

  • Appalachian Trail
  • Abrams Falls Trail
  • Laurel Falls Trail
  • Alum Cave Trail
  • Trillium Gap Trail/Grotto Falls

2. SkiingThe office for the Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway in downtown Gatlinburg TN.

The Smokies are home to the only ski resort in the state of Tennessee! The Ober Gatlinburg Ski Area & Amusement Park offers excellent skiing, snowboarding, and snow tubing during the winter months. In the off season, Ober offers a number of other fun outdoor attractions, including a mountain coaster, alpine slide, mini golf course, chair lift ride, and water raft rides. Guests at Sidney James Mountain Lodge will have an easy commute to Ober, since our hotel is within walking distance of the Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway, a cable car ride which takes you straight to the resort.

(See Also: 4 Advantages of Staying at Our Hotel Near Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway)

3. Horseback Riding

Horseback riding is another one of the best outdoor activities in Gatlinburg. Sugarlands Riding Stables offers guided trail rides through the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. No prior experience is necessary, as all of the horses at Sugarlands are well trained and friendly.

4. Whitewater Rafting

Located a short drive away from Gatlinburg, the Pigeon River is the third most rafted river in the entire nation! For a fun ride down the river, book a trip with Smoky Mountain Outdoors. This company specializes in thrilling rides down the Upper Pigeon River, which features Class 3 and Class 4 rapids, and relaxing trips down the the Lower Pigeon River, which has mostly Class 1 and Class 2 rapids.

5. Ziplining

Ziplining is a fantastic way to see the Smokies! CLIMB Works is situated right across the street from the national park and offers amazing canopy tours through the mountains. Visitors to CLIMB Works will conquer 9 exhilarating ziplines during their 2 and ½ hour adventure.

6. Bicycling

While bicycles aren’t allowed in certain areas of the national park, there are still plenty of opportunities for cycling in the Smoky Mountains. Cades Cove is a great place for a scenic bike ride, and you can even rent a bicycle from the campground store if you don’t have your own. The roads in the Greenbrier and Tremont areas are also approved for bicycling.

A man mountain biking in a forest.If you’re looking to go mountain biking during your vacation, CLIMB Works has got you covered. Visitors will find a variety of fun bike trails that are immersed in the beauty of the Smokies. CLIMB Works has a great selection of mountain bikes for rent, or you may bring your own.

After a full day of enjoying outdoor activities in Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains, you will love relaxing at Sidney James Mountain Lodge. Our hotel has everything you need to kick back and unwind, including two outdoor pools, and indoor pool and sauna, rooms with private balconies, and a beautiful picnic area. To start planning your vacation, browse our selection of Gatlinburg hotel rooms!