The biggest draw is, of course, the vast and beautiful Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The park is comprised of 500,000 acres and over 800 miles of hiking trails. Hikers can enjoy the miraculous wonders of nature year round on trails designed to accommodate all levels of hiking ability.
Many visitors to the park are hoping to see a bear and with 1500 bears in the park you very well may. But don’t forget to look out for other creatures; the Smokies have the most biological diversity of any temperate zone on Earth. Included in this amazing diversity are over 1600 types of flowering plants. Ranger Guided programs are available year-round so that visitors can learn about this great American treasure.
Within the park, some of the best opportunities for wildlife viewing can be found in the popular Cades Cove. White-tailed deer are frequently seen in large numbers and it is also quite common to see; black bear, coyotes, ground hogs, turkey, raccoon and skunk. Numerous trails originate in the Cove and wildlife can also be viewed from your vehicle on an 11 mile one-way loop. Cades Cove boasts a campground and a horse camp as well.
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers four types of camping for visitors who wish to stay within the park. Backcountry camping requires campers to hike several miles to sites located in the backcountry. Frontcountry sites allow campers to camp near their vehicles in campgrounds that have bathrooms. Group campsites are located within the frontcountry campsites and accommodate groups of 8 or more. Finally, horse camps are small campgrounds that are accessible by vehicle, have hitch racks for horses and primitive camping facilities.
The Great Smoky Mountain National Park is indeed breathtaking but not to be overlooked are Pigeon Forge’s city parks. They boast a variety of possibilities for free family fun. A new greenway can be accessed from City Park and Patriot Park and Patriot Park also has a walking trail that honors local veterans.
For the enthusiastic nature lovers, who want to spend their whole vacation outdoors, Pigeon Forge has over 1900 campsites. Ranging from primitive sites within the park to full RV hookups at campgrounds with amenities such as pools and playgrounds, there is definitely a site for you.
Wilderness Wildlife Week is one of the highlights of the year, bringing thousands of nature lovers from all over the world into Pigeon Forge. Included in the week’s activities are guided hikes, storytelling, photography, fishing and music. This year over 100 experts will give 175 lectures, seminars and lessons to those eager to learn more about nature. Dates for the 2012 Pigeon Forge Wilderness Wildlife Week are January 7th-January 14th.
Pigeon Forge City Park
The City of Pigeon Forge Department of Parks and Recreation is an award winning department for its programs and facilities. Consisting of 18 acres of park land, nearly 2 miles of greenways and the Pigeon Forge Community Center, the Pigeon Forge City Park includes:
- • 1.25 miles walking trail
- • 5 lighted softball/baseball fields
- • 2 asphalt basketball courts
- • 6 lighted tennis courts
- • 1 lighted volleyball court
- • 1 horseshoe pit
- • 2 lighted pavilions
- • 2 unlighted playgrounds
- • 2 concession stands
- • 1 outdoor swimming pool at the Community Center
Pigeon Forge's Patriot Park, conveniently located behind The Old Mill, off of Middle Creek Road, hosts year-round activities, including the annual Winterfest lights, 4th of July fireworks, and Patriot Festival events. Patriot Park is also the site of memorials for local individuals that served in the Armed Forces featuring a large, cracked liberty bell erected within the park as a tribute to all of the Sevier County war veterans.
Beautifully landscaped with a large expanse of lush greens, Pigeon Forge's Patriot Park covers 16 acres including:
- • 1 lighted pavilion
- • 1/2 mile (800 m) lighted walking trail
- • 16 picnic tables
- • 1 lighted Gazebo
- • 18 park benches
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Getting back to nature is amazingly easy to do in the beautiful Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Filled with wildlife, more than 1,600 different types of flowering plants (more than found in any other North American National Park), some 800 miles of various maintained hiking trails, mountain streams, waterfalls and hisoric buildings, the beauty surrounds you whether you take a casual drive through or choose something more physical.
Wildlife abundant in the Smokies includes black bears (estimated at more than 1,500), white tailed deer, elk, more than 240 species of birds, raccoon, woodchucks, turkeys and more!
Favorite activities in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park include:
- • Hiking
- • Fishing
- • Horseback Riding
- • Picnicking
- • Wildlife Viewing
- • Auto Touring