Blog for Zip line Attraction in the Smoky Mountains
Located in Pigeon Forge, TN and near Gatlinburg and Sevierville.
By Ross Bodhi Ogle
Posted on April 20, 2021
Did you know we're smack in the middle of National Park Week? The annual event, sponsored by the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation is a celebration of America's most treasured resources. There are more than 400 national parks across the country, and we're fortunate to have the most visited one in the nation right here in our backyard-Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
This year's event, April 17 through 25, features a number of daily observations and tributes. For example, April 19 is Military Monday, April 20 is Transformation Tuesday, April 21 is Wayback Wednesday and April 22, as always, is Earth Day. Visit the National Park Foundation website at www.nationalparks.org to learn more about each of these celebrations and how you can get involved with them.
We thought it would be appropriate to devote this week's blog to celebrating some of the great things about the Smokies. If you're going to be visiting our area this week, or anytime soon, for that matter, we hope you take some time to venture into the park and enjoy the beauty and majesty of nature at its finest. Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the few national parks that does not charge an admission fee, so a lot of fun, wonder and adventure awaits for virtually no additional vacation expense on your part.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park encompasses 522,419 acres in both Tennessee and North Carolina, making it one of the largest national parks in the country. Its square mileage includes sections of both the Great Smoky Mountains and the Blue Ridge Mountains and features some of the tallest peaks east of the Mississippi River. The park was chartered by Congress in 1934 and dedicated by FDR in 1940. It was the first national park whose land costs were paid for in part with federal funds.
One of the most popular things to do in the Smokies is hike. There are some 850 miles of trails and unpaved roads, including a 70-mile stretch of the Appalachian Trail. Mt. LeConte is a frequent destination. At 6,593 feet, it's the third highest mountain in the park. There are six different trails that will get you to the top, but the Alum Cave Trail is the shortest and one of the most frequented. You'll find an overnight lodge at the top of LeConte, but it's only accessible by trail, and you have to reserve your stay there at least a year in advance.
Otherwise, the hiking options in the Smokies run the gamut, from short nature strolls to hours-long treks. They range from easy to strenuous and offer a wide range of points of interest, including waterfalls and cascades, historic buildings, observation towers, mountain peaks, balds and much more. Whatever your destination, just make sure you wear the appropriate clothing for the weather conditions (including sturdy footwear), and if you're taking a longer hike, don't forget to take plenty of water and calorie replenishment.
Another fun national park activity is camping. You can set up a tent or park your camping vehicle at several different campground locations in the park, including Elkmont, Cades Cove and Cosby. Reservations are required, and there is a nightly fee, but the setting is tranquil, beautiful, and lots of amenities like restrooms, showers, barbecue grills and more are on site. More adventurous types might want to get a permit to do some backcountry camping, where a limited number of one-night shelters are in place to accommodate backpackers looking to go off the beaten path.
We're just scratching the surface of what's available in the Smokies. Other options include scenic drives, fishing, picnicking, horseback riding, bicycling and more. One thing you can't do in the national park, however, is ziplining. You'll have to visit our Smoky Mountain zip lines to do that.