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Episode 020 – The Smokies at a Distance

We’re almost there!  Almost everything great about the Smokies and the surrounding areas is either open or set to reopen.  Most attractions and restaurants are now open albeit on a limited basis. In Episode 020- The Smokies at a Distance we will be exploring some of the lesser know trails and dining in and about the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  If you want to come to the Smokies but avoid the crowds this is a must listen to episode.

Park Sign, trail sign, The Smokies at a Distance

Let’s take a look at the park.  Not much has changed since last week.

Closed:

All the visitor’s centers – Closed

Campgrounds – Closed until at least June 7th

Clingman’s Dome – Open!

All other trails and backcountry campsites & shelters (accessible from open roads) are open with reduced capacity limits

Picnic Areas that are Open:

Big Creek
Cades Cove
Chimney Tops
Collins Creek and Pavilion
Cosby and Pavilion
Deep Creek and Pavilion
Metcalf Bottoms and Pavilion

Open restrooms:

Clingmans Dome
Newfound Gap
Restrooms near Cable Mill in Cades Cove
Restrooms near Oconaluftee Visitor Center
Restrooms near Sugarlands Visitor Center
Abram Falls, Alum Cave, and Rainbow Falls Trailheads
Restrooms at open picnic areas

Closed Roads: Little Greenbrier Road

Businesses Opening:

Sweet Fanny Adams Theatre: June 5

Country Tonite Theatre: June 5

Smoky Mountain Winery; June 5

Pirates Voyage Dinner & Show: June 10

Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort & Spa: June 10

The Ripken Experience: June 14

Governor’s Crossing Stadium 14 Theater: June 16

Forge Cinemas: June 24

Dolly Parton’s Stampede: July 4th

Dollywood – Dollywood Parks & Resorts will begin a phased reopening on June 15.

Dollywood and Dollywood’s Splash Country reopen June 17, with Season Passholder Exclusive Days on June 15 & 16.

Important Information To Know Before You Go

Daily capacity will be limited – Season Passholder Reservations are required and date-based tickets will be available for general admission.

Face masks or face coverings are required for all visitors ages 3 and up, with some exceptions. Some of the exceptions where masks are not required are while eating, on water park attractions or select coasters at Dollywood. For a full list of exceptions please visit our FAQ Page.

Temperature screenings will be taken prior to entry.

Attraction and dining capacities will be limited to allow guests to have more space to move around during their visit.

Physical distancing measures have been put in place including physically distanced queues, marked barriers and social distancing reminders.

Additional sanitation measures have been implemented. This includes high touch point areas being cleaned more frequently and providing additional hand sanitizing locations.

Businesses still without an opening date…

Bush’s Visitors Center

Comedy Barn

Lil’ Bit of Gatlinburg

Mysterious Mansion of Gatlinburg

Ripley’s Guinness World Records Adventure

Ripley’s Haunted Adventure

Smoky Mountain Escape Games

The Salt & Pepper Shaker Museum

Appalachian Bear Rescue Trillium Cove Visitor & Education Center

The Smokies at a distance. As more people return to the Smokies, Gatlinburg Pigeon Forge, Sevierville and the surrounding areas there are many people asking where ca the go with limited crowds.  Of course going downtown that sidewalks are fairly congested, many people not wearing masks. Many restaurants and attractions are limiting capacity.  With the influx of tourists and the limited capacity of the attractions you can see where this can add some congestion.  Once Dollywood reopens that will take a good number of the people  off the streets but with their limits not as much as they used to.

Many are going to turn to the park to get away, possibly more than before.  Last year a record 12 million people visited the National Park.  Cades Cove, Clingmans Dome, Newfound Gap are all going to be flooded with tourists.

Plus now…. The National Park Service announced this past week that it will be implementing ‘Vehicle-Free Wednesdays’ in Cades Cove this summer from June 17 through September 30. Each Wednesday, the Cades Cove Loop will be closed to traffic all day instead of just mornings so cyclists and pedestrians can safely enjoy recreation. 

The park will not be doing the Saturday morning summer loop closures in turn, which they hope will improve visitor experiences all around.

The change is part of a pilot study. The park proposed the study due to congested parking areas and disruption of visitor services associated with the vehicle-free periods formerly held on Wednesday and Saturday mornings during the summer months over the past couple of decades.

With all that said I’m going to give you a few places to explore in the park that are shall we say the less traveled trails…but still pretty cool adventures. The Smokies at a distance.

Wrecked steam engine, The Smokies at a Distance

Grapeyard Ridge Trail

Close to Gatlinburg and often incredibly quiet, the Grapeyard Ridge Trail links Greenbrier Cove with the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail and is a great plance to see the Smokies at a distance . Many opt to hike the trail from Greenbrier to the ruins of an old steam engine partway along, which makes for a 5.8-mile round-trip undertaking. However, you can extend your adventure by going the full way to Roaring Fork, crossing Grapeyard Ridge—named for prolific grapevines strung through its forests—in the process.

The east end of the Grapeyard Ridge Trail starts near where Porters Creek, False Gap Prong, and the Middle Prong of the Little Pigeon River merge to create the Little Pigeon River, which begins flowing northward towards Sevierville.

There are five water crossings without the benefit of a footbridge. During the rainy seasons the creek can be virtually impassable due to high water – if you wish to keep your feet dry. If you look around a little further upstream you may be able to find a spot to cross. The summer and fall time periods are usually drier, and are much better times to hike this trail when high water usually isn’t an issue.

There’s much evidence of bygone settlements, including the Whaley Cemetery not far from the Greenbrier trailhead. Along the hike you’ll pass several old homestead sites that were once part of a community known as Big Laurel. At roughly 2.1 miles the trail leaves the creek and begins climbing the ridge to James Gap. As you climb the trail passes through several long rhododendron tunnels. At roughly 2.85 miles hikers will reach the top of the ridge at James Gap. From here the trail makes a quick descent down to Injun Creek where you’ll find the remains of an old steam engine lying in the creek. Although some may suspect that “Injun” refers to “Indian”, it’s actually a misspelling of the word “engine”, apparently the mistake of an old mapmaker.

The engine, a Nichols and Shepard self-propelled, steam-powered machine, known as a traction engine, was brought to the area in the 1920’s to saw wood for the Greenbrier School. During its return trip the driver wasn’t able to execute a switchback, and the engine tumbled into Injun Creek. Many of its parts were salvaged, but the rest was left to rust in the creek bed.

Roundtrip Length:                 5.8 Miles   

Total Elevation Gain:            980 Feet   

Highest Elevation:                 2540 Feet 

Trail Difficulty Rating:           7.76 (moderate)

Getting there….At the junction of 441 and 321 in Gatlinburg (Light 3), turn to travel eastbound on Hwy 321. Drive 6 miles and turn right into Greenbrier (look for the Great Smoky Mountain National Park entrance sign on the right). This road will turn into a gravel road after a short distance. From the highway you’ll drive 3 miles to the Grapeyard Ridge Trailhead. There will be a small parking area alongside the road – just before reaching the bridge that takes you to the Ramsey Cascades and Porters Creek Trailheads.

Crooked Arm Cascades/Falls

This is a well-kept secret and a great place to see the Smokies at a distance right at the beginning of the Cades Cove Loop. Look for the trailhead for the Rich Mountain Loop.  The trail will run parallel to the loop road for a while until it turns and heads into the woods. You will come to a junction of the Rich Mountain Loop Trail and the Crooked Arm Ridge Trail.  Turn to the right and follow the Crooked Arm Ridge Trail.  Follow the trail until you come to the cascades/falls.  You can see the falls from the trail but many people hike down to the falls, be careful that decent can be steep.  This is a fairly short hike of maybe 45 mins to an hour and not overly difficult.

Mouse Creek Falls, The Smokies at a Distance

Big Creek / Mouse Creek Falls

The Big Creek Trail follows an old railroad grade, built by the Crestmont Lumber Company in the early 1900’s to haul lumber out of the mountains during the logging boom. The trail was improved by the Civilian Conservation Corp in the early 1930s when it was converted for hiking use.

With a relatively smooth and even surface that climbs gradually over the course of its 2.1 miles to Mouse Creek Falls, this is an outstanding hike for young or novice hikers.

At first the wide path climbs high above the Big Creek Campground, and away from the creek. After roughly 1.3 miles, however, the trail finally makes contact with the creek, and for the rest of this hike you’ll never leave the sight or sounds of Big Creek. Wildflowers and rhododendron also line the pathway throughout this section of trail.

At roughly 1.5 miles the trail passes Midnight Hole, a deep, emerald green pool that lies just below a six-foot waterfall flowing between two large boulders. If you’re lucky you may see a trout scooting through the water here. Unfortunately this spot isn’t marked by a trail sign. Moreover, you’ll pass a couple of smaller waterfalls along the way that might lead some to believe that they’ve already reached Midnight Hole. On the flip side you can use this an excuse to take your time to explore the many features along this portion of the trail.

At just over two miles you’ll see a hitching post on your left. Continue a little bit further beyond the hitching post and you’ll see a short side trail that leads to a viewing area of Mouse Creek Falls. Located on the far side of Big Creek, this 45-foot waterfall emerges from the dense forest to tumble over several tiers of moss covered rocks before crashing into Big Creek. This is an outstanding place to drop your backpack, break out the camera, and grab a snack or picnic lunch.

Roundtrip Length:                 4.2 Miles   

Total Elevation Gain:            605 Feet   

Avg. Elev Gain / Mile:           288 Feet   

Highest Elevation:                 2338 Feet 

Trail Difficulty Rating:           5.41 (moderate)

One of the best things about this hike is the drive to get there.  You’ll take 321 (East Parkway) all the ay to Cosby. You’ll turn left when the road ends and head north for a few miles.  Look for the entrance to the Foothills Parkway and turn right.  This is an exceptional drive with beautiful scenery and overlooks. The foothills parkway runs into I-40.  Take I-40 south near the Tennessee-North Carolina border, take the Waterville Road Exit (#451). Turn left after crossing the Pigeon River and proceed 2.1 miles to a 4-way intersection. Continue straight ahead onto the narrow gravel road and drive past the ranger station to a large parking area at the end of the road. The Big Creek Trailhead is located on the right, just before reaching the parking area, roughly 3 miles from the highway.

Hen Wallow Falls, The Smokies at a Distance

Hen Wallow Falls

Almost from the start the trail begins to make a steady climb up the northern flank of Snake Den Mountain. While ascending the Gabes Mountain Trail, which was once known as the Messer Trail, the roots and rocks will testify just how rough this route can be in some places. Although rugged, the trail passes through a beautiful lush-green forest of rhododendron and ferns, with eastern hemlocks and yellow poplars providing a nice overhead canopy.

At 2.1 miles hikers will reach the short (and somewhat steep) side trail that leads down to the base of the 90-foot Hen Wallow Falls. Although Hen Wallow Creek is only two feet wide at the top of the falls, it fans out to almost 20 feet at the base. During the drier seasons water flowing over the rock cliff can be fairly low. Be sure to check out the small cave in the ridge just off to the right side of the falls.

Roundtrip Length:                 4.4 Miles   

Total Elevation Gain:            900 Feet   

Avg. Elev Gain / Mile:           409 Feet   

Highest Elevation:                 2923 Feet 

Trail Difficulty Rating:           6.20 (moderate)

The hike to Hen Wallow Falls in the Great Smoky Mountains begins from the Gabes Mountain Trailhead in Cosby. To reach the trailhead from the junction of 441 and 321 in Gatlinburg (Light 3), turn to travel eastbound on 321/73, and drive 18.2 miles until the road dead-ends into Hwy 32. Turn right here towards Cosby, and drive 1.2 miles to the park entrance. Turn right into the park and drive another 2 miles to the Gabes Mountain Trailhead. The trailhead is on the right side of the road, but the large parking area, located in the Cosby Picnic Area, is across the street. Hen Wallow Falls is located off the Gabes Mountain Trail.

Huskey Branch Falls

Huskey Branch Falls is a 4.7 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Gatlinburg, Tennessee that features a waterfall and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from April until September.

This trail ascends a gentle grade along an old gravel railroad bed that parallels the Little River, a beautiful cascading stream with large boulders and several small waterfalls. f you’re lucky you might spot an otter in or around the stream. Between 1988 and 1990 park biologists released 14 river otters into the Little River as part of a successful effort to reintroduce the species throughout the Great Smoky Mountains.

At roughly 2.2 miles hikers will reach Huskey Branch Falls, a small 20-foot cascade that tumbles into the Little River. The waterfall flows down the slope along the hill next to the trail before running underneath a small footbridge.

Roundtrip Length:                 4.7 Miles   

Total Elevation Gain:            383 Feet   

Avg. Elev Gain / Mile:           162 Feet   

Trail Difficulty Rating:           Easy

Near the trailhead hikers will pass by several old cottages. Most of these former resort cottages were built in the 1920s, and were used as summer homes by the affluent from Knoxville. For many years the homes are in disrepair and are off limits to the public. However, in the fall of 2008, National Park Service crews completed emergency stabilization to 18 of the historic cabins, as well as the Appalachian Clubhouse. The park plans to fully restore all 19 structures so that they can be opened and viewed by the public.

From the Sugarlands Visitor Center near Gatlinburg, drive 4.9 miles west along Little River Road to reach the turnoff for the Elkmont Campground, which will be on your left. After turning into Elkmont, drive 1.4 miles to the campground entrance. Instead of proceeding into the campground, turn left and drive another 0.6 miles to reach the parking area for the Little River Trail. The Huskey Gap Trail is accessed via the Little River Trail.

Spruce Flats Fall

The Smokies is home to many waterfalls, but sometimes trekking to a waterfall can be crowded.  Spruce Flats Falls is a wonderful hidden gem just outside of the Tremont Institute.  This area is steeped in history of some of the Smokies’ original inhabitants and was even the site of a CCC camp. 

From the parking lot at the Tremont Institute, head up the hill approximately 25 yards.  You’ll see the Buckeye Trail heads off to the right. Take this trail to reach your destination.   The Buckeye Trail is not on any park map, but don’t worry – it’s easy to follow.  The wide and well-worn path travels uphill, steeply in spots, and can be rocky and root-filled. 

When you reach the top of the first hill, stop and take in the view of the lumbering Rocky Top and the Appalachian Trail – the large mountain looming above you. From here, head downhill now, walking down a unique foot log and making your way carefully through the roots.  The rushing sound of the waterfall gets louder as you reach your destination.

Spruce Flats Falls is a series of cascades – a total of four – with a total drop of approximately 30 feet.  Many visitors prefer to enjoy the top two tiers. It’s a great place to cool off on a warm summer afternoon. Return to your vehicle the way you came.  The trail is approximately 1.6 miles round trip.

Roundtrip Length:                 1.4 Miles   

Total Elevation Gain:            460 Feet   

Avg. Elev Gain / Mile:           657 Feet   

Highest Elevation:                 1692 Feet 

Trail Difficulty Rating:           2.32 (easy)

Little Greenbrier Trail > Little Brier Gap Trail > Walker Sister Place

The trailhead is on Wear Cove Gap Road at the park boundary. You can take the Little River Road to Metcalf Bottom, drive straight across the bridge and go about 1.25 miles to the park boundary, where you can park. You can also access the trail by going through Wears Valley and taking the Wear Cove Gap Road to the park boundary.

Since this trail begins on the park boundary, it’s a great trail even if most of the park roads are closed due to high water or snow. Even though it is easy to get to and has beautiful views, this trail is rarely used, so it is great if you are looking to get away from the crowds.

As you work your way along the park boundary, you catch glimpses into Wear Cove, which lies outside the park. You’ll continue in and out of the park as you follow the trail. When you reach 1.9 miles, you reach Little Brier Gap. You can take a right turn and work your way down to the Walker Sisters homesite, about .6 miles from the gap.

At one point the homestead consisted of several outbuildings, including a barn, blacksmith shop, applehouse, springhouse, smokehouse, pig pen, corn crib and a small tub mill. Today, only the cabin, springhouse and corn crib survive at the site.

Roundtrip Length:                 4.9 Miles   

Total Elevation Gain:            774 Feet

If you have little kids or want to make this a little lighter hike. You can start the hike to the Walker Sisters Place from the Metcalf Bottoms Trail >Little Brier Gap Trail. To reach the trailhead from the Townsend “Y” intersection near Cades Cove, drive 7.4 miles East to reach the Metcalf Bottoms Picnic Area. From the Sugarlands Visitor Center near Gatlinburg you’ll drive 10 miles West to reach the Metcalf Bottoms Picnic Area. Turn into the picnic area and park walk across the one-lane bridge and the trail hear is on your right.

Roundtrip Length:                 4.1 Miles   

Total Elevation Gain:            285 Feet   

Avg. Elev Gain / Mile:           219 Feet   

Highest Elevation:                 2062 Feet 

Trail Difficulty Rating:           3.17 (easy)

Wears Valley

Mountain Chick Café – Wears Valley Road

Family owned and operated, Mountain Chick Cafe is a must stop destination for breakfast, lunch and espresso!  Located in the heart of Wears Valley, we offer the perfect place to enjoy a bite to eat and take in gorgeous views!   Our goal is to create a cozy spot for locals and visitors to gather.   

Hillbilly’s

Breakfast &Lunch…  Banana Foster French Toast, Hillbilly Burgers and more….

Elvira’s

Breakfast Lunch and Dinner….Traditional Menu.

Townsend

Trailhead Steak and Trout House

Whether you’re in the mood for a good steak or craving a platter of seafood, you are sure to find a meal at our restaurant that will satisfy your appetite. You can choose from a selection of steaks and burgers as well as seafood like fish and shrimp. For something a little lighter, we also have different kinds of soups and salads.

Burger Master Drive In

Burgers, Sandwiches, Ice Cream, Treats for your Dog

Cosby

Docs 321 Café

Doc’s 321 Cafe serves AWARD WINNING 5 star healthy meals made from scratch in a family friendly atmosphere in a modified 1980 school bus.

Smoked Sirloin on a stick served on a bed of rice with side salad one side and Parmesan smoked tomato for 1595

Famous beef brisket served with two sides with red-eye gravy on the side for 1395

Three Little Pigs which is our ribs smoked pork homemade smoked sausage served with two sides for 1595

Cosby Creek Padilla which is a Tuscan flatbread pizza with garlic pesto sauce with yellow squash zucchini red onions tomatoes smoked sausage and cheese for 995

Rapid River Rat which is turkey ham lettuce tomatoes red onions avocado with herbal mayonnaise and it’s on a sundried tomato wrap served with one side for 1095

Soups tomorrow will be tomato-basil Java and possibly smoked sausage and chicken gumbo

Did I mention Smoked pies?

Arts and Crafts Community (Glades Road)

Gatlinburg Grind Café and Bakery

Fresh made bagels. Sweet almond blueberry with a mixed berry cream cheese. When there is a cream cheese this amazing, you choose your bagels for the day to pair with this amazingness. Gatlinburg, meet Delice de Bourgogne gourmet spread. It is like brie and cream cheese had a baby. It is so smooth and creamy ….and perfect to cut the spiciness of my favorite jalapeño bagels. Come try this amazing deliciousness with our cheddar garlic jalapeño or our everything jalapeño bagel.

We are beyond excited to share our love for REALLY good coffee and top notch pastries with our friends, community and the wonderful people who visit our incredible town.  Gatlinburg Grinds is proud to serve real coffee to great people.  Our coffees are roasted locally by 2 reputable companies.  CliffTops Coffee Company roasts their beans right here in Gatlinburg and Vienna Coffee Company in Maryville. Amazing Coffee, Espresso, Cappuccino, Loose Tea, Cold Brew and fantastic choices for the Kiddos.

The Greenbrier

The Greenbrier Restaurant is a food and spirit outpost nestled in the Great Smoky Mountains. Acclaimed for our unique chef-driven menu, we specialize in hand-cut prime steaks, fresh produce, house specialities, and craft cocktails. With a rare in-house dry-aging process and an exceptional atmosphere, The Greenbrier Restaurant is Gatlinburg’s premier steakhouse. Whether you are visiting the area or a resident of the Great Smoky Mountains, our staff is dedicated to providing the highest quality food and service. Visit The Greenbrier Restaurant for a truly unparalleled dining experience.

Crystelle Creek

I’ve never had a bad meal here.  From the chicken to the trout, to the streaks it’s always outstanding.  The live music is fun. Don’t miss the hummingbird cake!!!!

Are you planning a visit to the Smokies and are wondering how to fit it all in?  Check out our sample itineraries:  https://dancingbearfoot.blog/2018/08/30/smoky-mountains-vacation-itinerary-day-1/

If this is your fist time coming to the Smokies and renting a cabin check out out blog post in what to look for when renting a log cabin.

Thank you for reading.  If you’d like to learn more about our cabin or other great things to see while visiting the Smoky Mountains please visit us at Dancing Bearfoot.com.

Like our Pizza Bear? Check out the other great artwork from Kenton Visser https://www.kentonvisser.com/

Podcast

Pigeon Forge Update 2020! – Episode 019

PIgeon Forge Logo

At last most of the attractions and the restaurants are open so we can now have our Pigeon Forge Update 2020!

We hope you like axe throwing because that is the new rage in Pigeon Forge. Count them three different axe throwing hoses join our Pigeon Forge Update 2020.

Pigeon Forge Axe House

This is the ultimate adventure for those looking to step outside of your comfort zone. Axe throwing is a new popular sport to the United States and is growing rapidly. Like darts, axe throwing is a target sport focused on earning a number of points determined by where your axe sticks. In axe throwing, the bulls eye is the most important spot on the target. Once you get the hang of axe throwing, there are a number of games you and your party can play to ramp up the competitive spirit among your group.

Whether you are throwing axes or watching, everyone in your party must sign a waiver to enter the throwing area.  For each participant, a safety briefing demonstrated by one of our experienced axe coaches is required.  Additionally, every participant must wear closed toe shoes in order to throw. 

Pigeon Forge Axe House does not have an age requirement for participants.  Those under 18 must have a waiver signed by a legal guardian and those under 16 must be accompanied by a legal guardian to participate.  If you are unsure about your child’s ability to throw, ask an axe coach about allowing them to throw in a test lane.  Our coaches can help you make the best decision.  

They also offer food from Pizza at the Cove.  The restaurant will offer customers with varieties of pizza, wings, sandwiches, appetizers, desserts, candy and much more.  Are you thirsty?  We offer Coke products with free refills. 

We are excited to offer customers with a variety of beers to choose from.  Get a beer, hang out with your friends, and throw some axes. 

Located at 2850 on the Parkway, by the PF Factory Outlet Mall, Lid’l Dolly’s, Across the street from PF Gem mine.

BOWMAN’S HATCHET HOUSE

Second ax house in our Pigeon Forge update 2020 is Bowman’s Hachet House. They host group events or have walk-in axe throwing that range from 1 – 2 hours of axe throwing fun. Each event has dedicated axe throwing lane(s) and axe throwing coaches that will teach you how to throw an axe while playing fun games. If you’re looking for an awesome time, you came to the right place.

Located at 262 Old Mill Avenue, Over by Old Mill & Teaster Intersection.  Little Black Bear Café is up near that corner.

AXE THROWING AT LUMBERJACK FEUD

Our third chance to throw an axe on our Pigeon Forge Update 2020 is at Paula Deens. Channel your inner flannel! Lumberjack Feud is adding another fun activity for you to enjoy when you visit to see the show and try your hand at timber sports at the Adventure Park. Starting Friday February 21st, visitors can try to make a bullseye at a brand new Axe Throwing station. Head to Lumberjack Feud to test your skills soon. 

Located at 2530 on the Parkway, you cant miss that one.

DOUBLE DECKER BUS TOURS

In major cities around the world, you’ve more than likely seen large red double decker buses transporting tourists around to see the sights. The Smokies Double Decker Bus Tour will brings a similar experience to the area. Keep your eye open for these new double decker buses that are rolling through the Smokies. This mobile attraction is more than just a method of transportation. The double decker busses include knowledgeable tour guides with all kinds of insider information on where to eat, what to see, and things to do. Hop on and hop off with an all day pass or purchase a single one-way ride for just $5.00. In the upcoming months the attraction will begin offering specialty tours as well to places like Cades Cove and Harrahs Cherokee Casino

Departing Every 45 Minutes at Hard Rock Cafe, Pigeon Forge. (Starting at 10AM)

Tanger Outlet Mall > Apple Barn > Wonderworks > The Incredible Christmas Store > Lumber Jack Square > Gatlinburg Convention Center > Rowdy Bear Gatlinburg > Top Jump > Old Mill District > Crave Golf > Alcatraz East > Rowdy Bear Mountain Adventure Park Pigeon Forge

Both Double Decker Bus will depart at 10am.  Bus #1 will head to first stop at Tanger Outlet then proceed in order of route as noted.  Bus #2 will at 10am and proceed to first stop in Gatlinburg, and then will proceed on route as normal.

Hard Rock Café is located down near WonderWorks.

MOUNTAIN MONSTER

Welcome a thrill ride like no other to our Pigeon Forge Update 2020! The Mountain Monster combines three distinct thrill rides into one amazing experience. Are you willing to conquer the Mountain Monster, tame the Monster Launch, and face the Monster Fall? This one of a kind attraction can only be found at the Mountain Mile in Pigeon Forge, 

THE MOUNTAIN MILE

is Pigeon Forge’s newest entertainment, dining and shopping destination. Includes Junction 35 Spirits & Restaurant, Tennessee’s first distillery and full-service restaurant, blends the tradition of distilling spirits with a contemporary railroad-themed atmosphere. The family-owned Currahee Vineyards expands from Georgia to East Tennessee with a new location. Cream & Sugar Sweet Shoppe offers ice cream and homemade treats while Mountain Rifle Coffee Company serves its custom-roasted Black Rifle coffee. Shoppers will enjoy the Appalachian Apparel Company, with clothing that bears designs by regional artists. The Lawn at the Tower Shops is a relaxing outdoor space centered around a fire pit with beautiful mountain vistas in each direction. The 200-foot-tall Mountain Monster three-rides-in-one coaster towers above it all, awaiting thrill seekers.

It is located along Teaster Lane and Jake Thomas Blvd in the heart of Pigeon Forge, surrounded by the Cal Ripken Experience baseball tournament park, the Leconte (convention) Center, and “The Island”.

ROWDY BEAR RIDGE

Rowdy Bear Ridge Adventure Park located at 2155 Parkway Pigeon Forge, TN beside the Local Goat Restaurant and diagonal from The Titanic Museum is home to 2 of Pigeon Forge’s most exciting rides! Zip down Tennessee’s fastest outdoor tubing hill 500+ foot, year-round tubing hill or be a part of North America’s first Alpine Flyer and laser gun coaster!

Yeah you hear me right, Rowdy Bear Ridge is excited to announce an addition to their Alpine Flyer: the world’s first in-air Laser Gun Experience! See how many targets you can hit along the ride, and see if you can hold the high score. The Alpine Flyer coaster is a 2 seater and suitable for riders at least 40″ tall.  Don’t miss this action-packed attraction on your next trip to Pigeon Forge!

Dollywood 2020

We’d be remiss if we didn’t include Dollywood on our Pigeon Forge Update 2020. Children will love exploring Wildwood Grove – an entirely new section of the park opened in 2019.  From the Park’ Wildwood Grove features 11 themed attractions and was inspired by Parton’s life growing up in the Smoky Mountains. The new area is a 20% increase in the total size of Dollywood,

Discover the rest of the incredible festivals happening at Dollywood in 2020.

Flower and Food: May 8-June 14. It will have flower displays, visual elements and new food and drink options.

Summer Celebration: June 20-Aug. 2. The Gazillion Bubbles Show will make its return during this festival, and the park’s hours will be extended.

Rock the Smokies: 22. TobyMac and Crowder will return to Dollywood’s annual contemporary Christian concert event.

Harvest Festival: 25-Oct. 31. It will have Dollywood’s Great Pumpkin LumiNights with thousands of carved pumpkins, fall foods and displays. The Southern Gospel Jubilee will also return with several concerts throughout the park.

Smoky Mountain Christmas: 7-Jan. 2. This event will have 5 million lights, performances, Christmas food menus and the Parade of Many Colors.

The Flying Ox at Paula Deen’s Lumberjack Feud Show

The Flying Ox, the world’s first cable-to-rail zipline coaster, soars above Paula Deen’s Lumberjack Feud Show and Adventure Park. Riders experience the thrills of a 1,000-foot-long zipline experience that travels a coaster track. The Flying Ox winds, drops and soars through the air at approximately 25 miles per hour.

Pink Adventure Tours

Pink Adventure Tours’ offers the first touring experience of its kind in the Great Smoky Mountains area. Pink Adventure Tours’ iconic pink Jeeps are the newest way to explore the nation’s most visited national park. All tours conclude with an off-road experience on private land as passengers travel in customized Wranglers fabricated in the Pink Adventure Tours’ eco-friendly service center.

VALLEYS & VIEWS SMOKY MOUNTAINS TOUR – Enjoy panoramic views from Wears Valley and Foothills Parkway with photo-op stops along the Little River Gorge

 ROARING FORK SMOKY MOUNTAINS TOUR – Roll through charming and lively Gatlinburg in a custom, open-air Pink® Jeep® See historic log cabins, mills and other structures from the pioneer days, See beautiful vistas from mountain outlooks with stops at natural waterfalls and along swiftly rolling streams.

NEWFOUND GAP SMOKY MOUNTAINS TOUR – here’s a lot planned for you on your Smoky Mountains tour to Newfound Gap. Sugarlands Visitor Center is your first stop. You’ll learn the history of the towns we pass along the way. From Sugarlands Visitor Center, you’ll ascend 3,000 feet on paved roads. You’ll pass through a diverse forest made up of a mix of trees Discover how the Smokies got their name, stop for amazing photo opportunities and hear about local geology and history. You’ll arrive at Newfound Gap, which is nearly one mile above sea level. You’ll see part of the mighty Appalachian Trail. Rockefeller Memorial is where U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt stood to dedicate the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on Sept. 2, 1940. A short nature walk brings yet more discoveries.

The tours main attraction is its stunning viewpoint. It stretches as far as your imagination no matter the season. April and May bring wildflowers. The summer brings rolling and layered green hues. The fall features vibrant autumn colors. And, the winter reveals the true scale of the Great Smoky Mountains after its leaves have fallen.

FOOTHILLS PARKWAY SMOKY MOUNTAINS TOUR – This tour includes the breathtaking beauty along the Foothills Parkway. Your tour begins when your Certified Interpretive (CIG) Tour Guide heads toward Wears Valley and Townsend. A stop at Townsend Visitors Center highlights information about the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Shop for souvenirs here, too.

Stops at overlooks make this tour a spectacular photo tour. With your guide taking care of every amenity, you can focus completely on the scenery ahead. Foothills Parkway, touted by many as “the prettiest drive in America,” leads to awe-inspiring panoramas. The Smoky Mountains’ highest points will be seen along this route.

Tours are between 2 ½ and 3 hours.

Located at 2611 on the Parkway, that’s the corner of Wears Valley Road and the Parkway.

Santa’s Haus at The Incredible Christmas Place

Santa’s Haus can be found at The Incredible Christmas Place, the South’s largest Christmas store, where it’s Christmas 365 days a year. The 2,000-square-foot attraction features cookie decorating, story time with Santa, milk and cookies, ornament making, the Elf Academy, a place to write letters to Santa and a photo opportunity with the jolly old elf.

Located at 2470 on the Parkway, It impossible to miss The Inn at Christmas Place is located right across the street.

Wallace Hartley’s Violin Exhibit at Titanic Museum Attraction

The single most requested and important artifact from the historic ship—bandleader Wallace Hartley’s violin—will be hosted by Titanic Museum Attraction. The artifact, which was played as the passenger ship sank in 1912, is on display in Pigeon Forge from July 1 through Dec. 30. The instrument sold at auction in 2013 for a record-breaking $1.7 million.

Impossible to miss at 2134 Parkway.  If you’ve never visited it looks like a large ship hitting an iceberg on the side of the road.

The Sunliner Diner

The Sunliner Diner offers guests a blast from the past in a classic 1950s-themed American diner. The vintage chrome and red neon exterior invites guests inside where classic collector cars, retro newspaper menus, hand-spun milkshakes, and nostalgic diner cuisine encourage everyone to leave their worries at the door.

This eatery has something for all ages, making it a perfect spot to take the whole family out. The kid’s menu boasts tons of options for little ones all the way up to age 12. And for visitors over 21, there’s plenty of breakfast and specialty cocktails, beer, and even wine.

You can get a delicious breakfast all day at the Sunliner Diner. Start your day off right with a steaming cup of coffee, a plate of seasonal, specialty pancakes with a side of eggs and candied bacon. The lunch and dinner menu features classics like fried green tomatoes, beer battered fish & chips, dozens of burger and sandwich options, and much more. Finish it all off with a slice of pie or a sundae!

Located at 2302 on the parkway, just a little north of Teaster Lane.  It’s on the corner of Henderson Chapel Road/Sugar Hollow Road and the Parkway.  Right next door to the Grand Majestic Theater.

Puckett’s Grocery & Restaurant Pigeon Forge

Puckett’s Grocery & Restaurant Pigeon Forge treats diners to entertainment, including singers/songwriters, alongside authentic Southern comfort food. The 7,000-square-foot restaurant serves three meals daily and highlights include slow-smoked barbeque, Southern sides and homemade cobblers.

They are located at 2480 on the Parkway. Over by Magiquest and the Inn at Christmas Place.

Buzzed Bull Creamery

The may be my favorite add to our Pigeon Forge Update 2020. An ice cream shop perfect for adults is opening in Pigeon Forge in 2020! Buzzed Bull Creamery offers liquid nitrogen ice cream with boozy options. Everything is made to order, and you can even watch as it’s being made! See your treat start as a liquid, then transform into a frozen state in a matter of seconds. While the shop does offer frozen treats for all ages, guests 21 and over can choose from alcohol-infused made-to-order ice cream, milkshakes and coffee.

Death By Chocolate [chocolate ice cream or milkshake, brownie bites, chocolate chips, chocolate sauce on top with suggested buzz: chocolate vodka] •

Tiger Stripes [chocolate peanut butter ice cream or milkshake, peanut butter cups, peanut butter sauce on top with suggested buzz: spiced rum] •

Dreamsicle [orange cake batter ice cream or milkshake, waffle cone pieces, whipped cream with suggested buzz: orange vodka]

Located at 3239 on the Parkway, right near Fantasy Golf. Across the street from Cheddars.

Knox Dough

If you’re looking for a sweet treat, Knox Dough delivers just that! Newly opened in Sevierville, this shop offers a wide variety of flavors of egg-free, edible cookie dough. Pick from a classic chocolate chip or branch out and try something unique like the Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake or Fruity Pebbles. Another popular option is the Rocky Top Special, which boasts 8 scoops of whatever flavor you want to mix and match!

Knox Dough also sells rolled ice cream. So whether you’re out and about in hot, summer weather or dropping by on a crisp, autumn day, there’s a tasty dessert for any season! With a great location right along the Parkway in Sevierville, this new addition to the area will be a hit with your family.

Located at 1548 on the Parkway, over by Dave and Busters.

Byrd’s Famous Cookies at The Island in Pigeon Forge

The family-owned Byrd’s Famous Cookies has landed at The Island in Pigeon Forge. From the complimentary Cookie Bar filled with free samples to the helpful Cookie Crew, Byrd’s Famous Cookies is the latest place to satisfy a sweet tooth in Pigeon Forge.

Located in the Island

DULCE NITOGEN ICE CREAM & BUBBLE TEA

Dulce Nitrogen is the first shop in Pigeon Forge to serve Nitrogen ice cream, bubble tea and bubble waffles. Nitrogen ice cream is a mix of fresh cream and mix-ins of your choice, stirred together with liquid nitrogen to create a creamy ice cream while you watch. Bubble tea can be milk based or non milk based and comes with “boba” or black pearls made from tapioca. Bubble waffles are crispy on the outside, soft on the inside and make the perfect cone for your nitrogen ice cream.

Located at 2656 on the Parkway, near Mels Diner.

GIBBYS CANDY COOP

Gibbys Candy Coop is a family owned sweet shop on the Pigeon Forge Parkway. Visitors can enjoy fudge, caramel apples, ice cream, sundaes, banana splits, milkshakes, chocolate strawberries, truffles and more. There are a variety of chocolate dipped sweets and treats to choose from as well.

Located at 3526 Parkway just south of Ogle drive on the parkway.

Ogle Bros General Store

The Ogle Bros General Store is a must for tourists and locals alike. Stop by for some authentic Southern hospitality, delicious snacks, souvenirs, and products crafted by Tennessee artisans. This general store has so many amazing items to browse through, you won’t want to leave. Check out the clothing, toys, or unique décor for your home. Or head over to see what delicious candy is being crafted in the kitchen. They’ve even got you covered for mealtimes with their soup mixes, sauces and dips, and more!

Located behind Five Oaks farm Kitchen at 1640 Parkway.

There you have it, this completes my Pigeon Forge update 2020.

For information regarding businesses in the Smoky Mountains Area Reopening please visit: https://www.pigeonforge.com/coronavirus-updates

I’m going to be doing podcast updates every Thursday from this point on. I apologize if I got some things wrong here on this current podcast but there is a lot of information to sift through and not every business is updating their websites or Facebook pages.

Are you planning a visit to the Smokies and are wondering how to fit it all in?  Check out our sample itineraries:  https://dancingbearfoot.blog/2018/08/30/smoky-mountains-vacation-itinerary-day-1/

If this is your fist time coming to the Smokies and renting a cabin check out out blog post in what to look for when renting a log cabin.

Thank you for reading.  If you’d like to learn more about our cabin or other great things to see while visiting the Smoky Mountains please visit us at Dancing Bearfoot.com.

Like our Pizza Bear? Check out the other great artwork from Kenton Visser https://www.kentonvisser.com/

Podcast

Smokies Are Back! Area Update as of 5-21-2020

Loets go to the smokies logo

The Smokies are Back! In Episode 108 join Chuck Schmidt, travel host for a journey through Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Sevierville and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park as well as surrounding communities in the aftermath of the COVID virus.  Learn about weekly updates for attractions, hiking trails, dining, shopping and road closures. Plus, up to date information regarding the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Let’s take a look at the park.  What’s open and what’s colsed

Closed:

All the visitor’s centers – Closed

Campgrounds – Closed until at least June 7th

Clingman’s Dome – Open!

Trails Closed:

All other trails and backcountry campsites & shelters (accessible from open roads) are open with reduced capacity limits

The only open roads are:

Big Creek Road
Cades Cove Loop Road (will open daily at 8:00 a.m. No closures for bicycles only)
Cherokee Orchard Road (Historic Nature Trail)
Clingmans Dome Road
Cosby Road
Deep Creek Road and Trailheads* – Down near Bryson City
Foothills Parkway
Gatlinburg Bypass
Greenbrier Road (Due to roadwork, only open to Ramsey Cascades Trailhead only)
Lakeview Drive Road* -Down near Bryson City
Laurel Creek Road
Little River Road
Newfound Gap Road
Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail
Tom Branch Road
Tow String Road
Tremont Road
Upper Tremont Road
Wear Cove Road (Metcalf Bottoms)

The following roads remain closed for motorists, but will be open for pedestrians and cyclists: 

Elkmont Road, , Hwy 284, Cataloochee Road, Abrams Creek Road, Forge Creek Road, Rich Mountain Road, Little Greenbrier Road, Balsam Mountain Road, Heintooga Round Bottom Road, Straight Fork Road, Twentymile Road.

Picnic Areas that are Open as of May 23rd:

Big Creek
Cades Cove
Chimney Tops
Collins Creek and Pavilion
Cosby and Pavilion
Deep Creek and Pavilion
Metcalf Bottoms and Pavilion

Open restrooms:

Clingmans Dome
Newfound Gap
Restrooms near Cable Mill in Cades Cove
Restrooms near Oconaluftee Visitor Center
Restrooms near Sugarlands Visitor Center
Abram Falls, Alum Cave, and Rainbow Falls Trailheads
Restrooms at open picnic areas

Concession Operations are scheduled to open on the following dates: 

Sugarlands Riding Stables

Cades Cove Riding Stables

LeConte Lodge

Cades Cove Campstore on 5/23;

Smokemont Riding Stables on 5/23

Smoky Mountain Riding Stables is pending;

When you’re planning your trip, have several options in mind so that you can switch plans if an area is congested. Hikers and horseback riders should expect to encounter more debris and downed trees along trails. Our normal spring clearing operations to remove winter downfall by volunteers and staff have been delayed due to the park closure and local ‘stay at home’ orders that were in place this spring to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Open Businesses

Indeed the Smokies are back! The following businesses have reopened since last weeks update. Please note that they may have limited services and hours in addition to specific amenities and features remaining closed.

Alcatraz East Crime Museum
Arcadia
Big Rock Dude Ranch
CAM Cabin Crafts
Cooters
Country Cascades
Davy Crockett Mini Golf Course
Gatlinburg Space Needle
Love Life Live Life
Nantahala Outdoor Center Gatlinburg Retail Shop
Outdoor Adventures
Paula Deen’s Lumberjack Feud Show
Pigeon Forge Snow
Pink Jeep Tours
Rip Roaring Adventures
Rowdy Bear Mountain Gatlinburg
Sevier Air Trampoline & Ninja Warrior Park
Smoky Mountain Angler
Smoky Mountain Cat House
Smoky Mountain Popcorn Company
Smoky Mountain Spinnery
Stiffy’s Ax Throwing
The Captured
The Cliff Dwellers Gallery
The Coaster At Goats On The Roof
The Spice and Tea of Gatlinburg
Zoo Knoxville

Future Reopenings

The following businesses have shared an official opening date with the public. These are still subject to change. Please contact the businesses directly for the most up to date information.

Anakeesta May 21
Pigeon Forge Trolley May 21
Buttonwillow Civil War Theater May 22
Cookie Dough Bliss May 22
Foxfire Mountain Adventure Park May 22
Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster May 22
Gatlinburg SkyLift Park May 22
Gatlinburg Trolley May 22
Ober Gatlinburg May 22
Mysterious Mansion of Gatlinburg May 22
Ripley’s Aquarium of The Smokies May 22
Ripley’s 5D Moving Theater May 22
Ripley’s Believe It Or Not May 22
Ripley’s Marvelous Mirror Maze May 22
Ripley’s Super Fun Zone May 22
Smoky Mountain Ziplines May 22
Tube River Rage May 22
Wonderworks May 22
Great Smoky Mountain Murder Mystery Dinner Show May 23
Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Feud May 23
Nantahala Outdoor Center Pigeon Rafting May 29
Biblical Times Dinner Theater May 30
Red Skelton Tribute Theater May 30
Titanic Museum June 1
Unforgettable View Massage June 1
Grand Majestic Dinner Theater June 2
Wilderness At The Smokies June 4
Country Tonite Theatre June 5
Sweet Fanny Adams Theatre June 5

There you have it, this completes my Smokies Reopening Update for 5/20/2020.

For information regarding businesses in the Smoky Mountains Area Reopening please visit: https://www.pigeonforge.com/coronavirus-updates

I’m going to be doing podcast updates every Thursday from this point on. I apologize if I got some things wrong here on this current podcast but there is a lot of information to sift through and not every business is updating their websites or Facebook pages.

Are you planning a visit to the Smokies and are wondering how to fit it all in?  Check out our sample itineraries:  https://dancingbearfoot.blog/2018/08/30/smoky-mountains-vacation-itinerary-day-1/

If this is your fist time coming to the Smokies and renting a cabin check out out blog post in what to look for when renting a log cabin.

Thank you for reading.  If you’d like to learn more about our cabin or other great things to see while visiting the Smoky Mountains please visit us at Dancing Bearfoot.com.

Like our Pizza Bear? Check out the other great artwork from Kenton Visser https://www.kentonvisser.com/

Podcast

Smokies Reopening Update 5-14-2020

Smoky Mountains National Park Sign, Smokies Reopening Update

Smokies Reopening Update 5/14/2020, join Chuck Schmidt, travel host for a journey through Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Sevierville and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park as well as surrounding communities in the aftermath of the COVID virus.  Learn about the current status of attractions, hiking trails, dining, shopping and road closures. Plus, up to date information regarding the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

In the last post I concentrated on the National Park information, which as of today is largely unchanged. This post I will focus on the surrounding cities attractions and their Smokies reopening update as of 5/14/2020 is shaping up.

The following businesses have reopened since last week. Please note that they may have limited services and hours in addition to specific amenities and features remaining closed.

• Appalachian Ghostwalks
• Blake Jones Racing Center Indoor Go-Karts
• Cades Cove Riding Stables
• CLIMB Works
• Double Decker Bus Tours
• Fannie Farkle’s Arcade
• Fat Daddy’s Arcade
• Hillbilly Golf
• MagiQuest Pigeon Forge
• Outdoor Gravity Park
• Paula Deen’s Lumberjack Feud Adventure Park
• Pigeon Forge Axe House
• Rafting in the Smokies
• Ripley’s Old MacDonald’s Farm Mini-Golf
• Rocky Top Mountain Coaster
• Rocky Top Tours
• Rowdy Bear Ridge Pigeon Forge
• Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster
• Smoky Mountain Knife Works
• Smoky Mountain Observation Wheel & Kid Rides at The Island
• Smoky Mountain Outdoors (SMO) Rafting
• Smoky Mountain River Rat Whitewater Rafting
• Tanger Outlets
• Tennessee Mountain Tours
• The Tomb
• The Track
• TopJump Trampoline & Extreme Arena

The following businesses have shared an official opening date with the public. These are still subject to change. Please contact the businesses directly for the most up to date information.

• Arcadia • May 14
• Gatlinburg Space Needle • May 14
• Pigeon Forge Snow • May 14
• Rowdy Bear Mountain Gatlinburg • May 14
• Sevier Air Trampoline & Ninja Warrior Park • May 14
• The Captured • May 14
• Alcatraz East Crime Museum • May 15
• Nantahala Outdoor Center Gatlinburg Retail Shop • May 15
• Outdoor Adventures • May 15
• Paula Deen’s Lumberjack Feud Show • May 15
• Smoky Mountain Angler • May 15
• Smoky Mountain River Rat Tubing • May 15
• Smoky Mountain Spinnery • May 15
• Stiffy’s Ax Throwing • May 15
• The Coaster At Goats On The Roof • May 15
• The Spice and Tea of Gatlinburg • May 15
• Rip Roaring Adventures • May 16
• Zoo Knoxville • May 18 (target date)
• Love Life Live Life • May 19
• Pink Jeep Tours • May 20
• Anakeesta • May 21
• Cookie Dough Bliss • May 22
• Foxfire Mountain Adventure Park • May 22
• Great Smoky Mountain Murder Mystery Dinner Show • May 23
• Under Canvas • May 28
• Nantahala Outdoor Center Pigeon Rafting • May 29
• Biblical Times Dinner Theater • May 30
• Red Skelton Tribute Theater • May 30
• Titanic Museum • June 1
• Unforgettable View Massage • June 1
• Grand Majestic Dinner Theater • June 2
• Wilderness At The Smokies • June 4
• Buttonwillow Civil War Theater • June 5
• Country Tonite Theatre • June 5
• Sweet Fanny Adams Theatre • June 5

Many business in the area have closed temporarily to stop the spread of COVID-19. The following businesses closed throughout March and April and have not yet updated with a reopening date.

A Long Story Short Company
Beyond The Lens
Bush’s Visitors Center
Comedy Barn
Cooters
Davy Crockett Mini Golf Course
Dolly Parton’s Stampede
Dollywood
Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort & Spa
Gatlinburg SkyLift Park
Governor’s Crossing Stadium 14 Theater
Great Smoky Mountains Railroad
Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Feud
Lil’ Bit of Gatlinburg
Lock Stock & Blade
Mysterious Mansion of Gatlinburg
NASCAR SpeedPark
Ober Gatlinburg
Pigeon Forge Community Center
Pigeon Forge Trolley
Pirates Voyage Dinner & Show
Rainforest Adventures
Ripley’s 5D Moving Theater
Ripley’s Aquarium of The Smokies
Ripley’s Believe It Or Not
Ripley’s Guinness World Records Adventure
Ripley’s Haunted Adventure
Ripley’s Marvelous Mirror Maze
Ripley’s Super Fun Zone
Sevier County Library branches
Smoky Mountain Escape Games
Smoky Mountain Opry
Smoky Mountain Popcorn Company
Smoky Mountain Winery
Smoky Mountain Ziplines
Tennessee Smokies Front Office & Goteez Locker Room
The Ripken Experience
Trillium Cove Visitor & Education Center
Wonderworks

There you have it, this completes my Smokies Reopening Update for 5/14/2020.

For information regarding businesses in the Smoky Mountains Area Reopening please visit: https://www.pigeonforge.com/coronavirus-updates

I’m going to be doing podcast updates every Thursday from this point on. I apologize if I got some things wrong here on this current podcast but there is a lot of information to sift through and not every business is updating their websites or Facebook pages.

Are you planning a visit to the Smokies and are wondering how to fit it all in?  Check out our sample itineraries:  https://dancingbearfoot.blog/2018/08/30/smoky-mountains-vacation-itinerary-day-1/

If this is your fist time coming to the Smokies and renting a cabin check out out blog post in what to look for when renting a log cabin.

Thank you for reading.  If you’d like to learn more about our cabin or other great things to see while visiting the Smoky Mountains please visit us at Dancing Bearfoot.com.

Like our Pizza Bear? Check out the other great artwork from Kenton Visser https://www.kentonvisser.com/

Podcast

Smoky Mountains Area Reopening

Great smoky mountains at sunset

In Episode 016 – Smoky Mountains Area Reopening, join Chuck Schmidt, travel host for a journey through Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Sevierville and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park as well as surrounding communities in the aftermath of the COVID virus.  Learn about the current status of attractions, hiking trails, dining, shopping and road closures. Plus, up to date information regarding the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Let’s take a look at the park.  It can be quite confusing as to what is open and what is closed. Let’s touch on what is still closed first.

Closed:

All the visitor’s centers – Closed

Campgrounds – Closed

Clingman’s Dome – Closed

Trails Closed:

Laurel Falls Trail – Closed

Alum Cave Trail – Closed

Chimney Tops Trail- Closed

Why are those three mentioned specifically?  It’s because they are on major roadways that are now open. Little River Road & Newfound Gap Rd.

All other trails and backcountry campsites & shelters (accessible from open roads) will open with reduced capacity limits

The only open roads are:

Spur and Foothills Parkway

Newfound Gap Road

Gatlinburg Bypass

Little River Road

Wear Cove Road (Metcalf Bottoms)

Laurel Creek Road

Cades Cove Loop Road

Cherokee Orchard Road (Historic Nature Trail)

Lakeview Drive Road* -Down near Bryson City

Deep Creek Road and Trailheads* – Down near Bryson City

Picnic Areas that are Open:

Chimney Tops

Cades Cove

Metcalf Bottoms – Pavilion Closed

Deep Creek– Pavilion Closed*

Collins Creek– Pavilion Closed* – Smokemont Area

Open Restrooms:

Sugarlands Visitor Center

Newfound Gap

Oconaluftee Visitor Center

Cades Cove Cable Mill

Abram Falls Trailhead

Rainbow Falls Trailhead

Restrooms in the listed open picnic areas.

For up to date park information regarding the Smoky Mountains Area Reopening please visit the GSMNP website: https://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/conditions.htm

For information regarding businesses in the Smoky Mountains Area Reopening please visit: https://www.pigeonforge.com/coronavirus-updates

I’m going to be doing podcast updates every Thursday from this point on. I apologize if I got some things wrong here on this current podcast but there is a lot of information to sift through and not every business is updating their websites or Facebook pages.

Are you planning a visit to the Smokies and are wondering how to fit it all in?  Check out our sample itineraries:  https://dancingbearfoot.blog/2018/08/30/smoky-mountains-vacation-itinerary-day-1/

If this is your fist time coming to the Smokies and renting a cabin check out out blog post in what to look for when renting a log cabin.

Thank you for reading.  If you’d like to learn more about our cabin or other great things to see while visiting the Smoky Mountains please visit us at Dancing Bearfoot.com.

Like our Pizza Bear? Check out the other great artwork from Kenton Visser https://www.kentonvisser.com/