Blog for Zipline Attraction in the Smoky Mountains

Located in Pigeon Forge, TN and near Gatlinburg and Sevierville.


The Most Fun Bear Hunt In The Smokies

By Ross Bodhi Ogle
Posted on May 22, 2023

Let's get one thing clear out of the gate. It's illegal to hunt bears anywhere in or near the Great Smoky Mountains. The hunt referenced in the headline is a completely harmless one that's now taking place at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge. On May 12, the theme park officially opened its long-awaited new roller coaster Big Bear Mountain.

Located in the Wildwood Grove section of the park, the coaster's back story is that passengers are on an expedition in search of the legendary Big Bear. Each coaster car is themed to resemble a specially outfitted four-wheel-drive SUV. Leading the hunt is renowned wilderness explorer Ned Oakley, who narrates the journey along the way. That makes Big Bear Mountain the first coaster at Dollywood to include onboard audio for the benefit of guests.

This $25 million addition to the park makes it the longest roller coaster at Dollywood, measuring 3,990 feet in length. The steel track occupies a six-acre footprint, and at its highest point, the coaster is 66 feet above the ground. The ride lasts anywhere from 99 to 104 seconds reaches top speeds of 48 miles per hour. Each train can accommodate as many as 20 passengers, and guests must be at least 39 inches tall to ride.

That minimum height requirement actually makes Big Bear Mountain pretty family-friendly as far as roller coasters go. It's a smooth ride, and although there are lots of twists and curves and climbs and dips, the ride is never inverted. It's a good stepping stone for younger guests who are now big enough to ride the grown-up coasters.

Big Bear Mountain joins a host of other cool roller coasters at Dollywood, which is becoming an increasingly popular destination for coaster enthusiasts. They include Blazing Fury, Dragonflier, FireChaser Express, Lightning Rod, Mystery Mine, Tennessee Tornado, Thunderhead, Whistle Punk Chaser and Wild Eagle.

If that's not compelling enough to get you to Dollywood, then consider that the park's Flower & Food Festival is still running through June 11. The park transforms into a celebration of spring thanks to more than one million flower blooms installed throughout its many themed sections. Guests are able to wander among fragrant flowers blossoming in vibrant hues of purple, pink and yellow. You'll also see towering sculptures crafted from thousands of living plants, including a playful peacock, mischievous bears, an upside-down umbrella and a busy beekeeper.

The other anchor of the Flower & Food Festival is the special menu featuring garden-fresh bites and refreshing beverages that are only available for this event. Other festival highlights include Bloom!, a troupe of high-flying street performers who execute acrobatic feats on sway poles. Also look for Umbrella Sky, an installation of colorful umbrellas that shields guests with its canopy of yellow, purple, pink, green and blue. The umbrellas dancing in the breeze is a sight to behold on a fine spring day.

If you decide to make Dollywood a part of your Smoky Mountain travel plans this spring or summer, keep in mind that the best ziplines Pigeon Forge has to offer are at Smoky Mountain Ziplines. And we're not a long drive from Dollywood either. From the theme park, just take Veterans Boulevard back to the Parkway in Pigeon Forge, turn left and then before you get on the Spur to Gatlinburg, turn right on Connor Heights Rd., which turns into Mill Creek Rd. Just two miles from the Parkway, you'll find us on the left.

Or you can start your day with us and then reverse those directions to get to Dollywood. In either case, we do recommend giving us a call to book your tour or schedule it on our website. This time of year, we're pretty busy, so walk-ins are not the best option for signing up for our canopy tour.


This content posted by Smoky Mountain Ziplines. Visit our home page, for more information on zipline adventures in the Smoky Mountains.

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