Pet Friendly Accommodations Make a Gatlinburg Vacation Extra Special

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Stay in an awesome cabin like this with your pet!

You look forward for months to your vacation and there’s so much to do to get ready. If you are a pet owner, one of the tasks that may need to be taken care of before you leave is deciding who will take care of your pet. Some people have friends or relatives stop by to feed the animal, and others take their dog, cat, bird or other pet to a boarding facility. In either case someone other than the pet owner cares for the pet and this can cause stress for both the owner and the animal. Changing routine is something that not only animals worry over; it also causes anxiety for people. Instead of worrying about how your pet is doing when you are away, why not take Fido or Kitty or Tweety with you? In the last few years more travelers have taken vacations with their pets, and many people wouldn’t dream of leaving their beloved companions behind.

A range of accommodations from hotels, cabins to luxury chalets allows you to choose the most comfortable and convenient lodgings for you and your pets. Many of the pet friendly lodgings offer 5 star amenities to keep you and your entire party comfortable. You can even stay in cabins and hotels that offer all the comforts of home; including flat screen TVs and wireless Internet, fully equipped kitchens, satellite TV, stereo systems and Jacuzzi tubs.

Imagine these perfect vacation scenes: Losing yourself in the beauty of the Smokies as you luxuriate in a hot tub overlooking breathtaking mountain scenery. Walking your dog on a nature trail and feeling yourself relaxing in the clean country air. Playing with your cat inside your hotel room as he or she explores all the new nooks and crannies that are perfect for a game of pounce!

It’s important to make a few inquiries of some of the local cabins and hotels before you decide on accommodations for your trip. Here are a few questions you can ask to help plan for your pet’s stay with you:

  • Some hotels and cabins have limited availability – Ask about it and book well in advance.
  • Ask what kind of pets the hotel allows and if there are size limitations.
  • See what amenities are included (such as dog crates).
  • Ask about fees that need to be paid to accommodate your pets.

Thankfully there are many pet friendly cabins and hotels in the Gatlinburg area. Some of the cabins in Gatlinburg offer expansive living areas with two and even three levels, including wrap around porches at some of the larger cabins. Evenings sitting on the porch with your dog or cat at your side would certainly be preferable to worrying if they are adjusting to you being away.

Download your free Gatlinburg vacation guide now.

Let us know if you brought your pet with you to Gatlinburg! Share your experiences with us in the comments, on Facebook, on Twitter @travelgburg, or on Google +!

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Ride the Free Trolley to See the Best of Gatlinburg

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Ride the free trolley to dozens of attractions!

We mentioned in a previous post that the great trolley system Gatlinburg provides makes residents’ and visitors’ travel so pleasant around the city. Starting June 14 a Free Trolley will be available to make travelling around the city even more fun.

Who doesn’t like anything free? In this case a free trolley ride can be the gateway to so many Gatlinburg sightseeing, shopping, dining and outdoor activities. It’s easy to remember when the Free Trolley runs using this simple formula:

Summer Fun=Free Trolley

June 14, 2013 – August 18, 2013

People can ride the length of the Parkway on the Free Trolley. The trolley will offer 40 stops along this route and run from 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. daily. The shuttle service will extend from traffic light #1 at the north end of town to light #10 at the entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park

In addition to the Free Trolley visitors are encouraged to try the other trolley routes. Using the trolley system is one of the easiest ways to get around town. From the Arts & Crafts Community to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, visitors can enjoy a quick ride to dozens of activities while sitting back and letting our friendly trolley drivers take care of the driving. So park the car and hop aboard a trolley to make your day more fun and stress-free. Here is the trolley map and GPS locator so you’ll always know where the trolleys are:

Trolley Map and Rates:

http://www.gatlinburgtrolley.org/doc/2013-Gatlinburg-Trolley-Map.pdf

Trolley GPS Locator:

http://gatlinburg.otvia.com/

Download your free Gatlinburg vacation guide now.

Have you ridden trolleys in Gatlinburg? Share your experiences with us in the comments, on Facebook, on Twitter @travelgburg, or on Google +!

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See the Famous Synchronous Fireflies in Gatlinburg

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Dusk in Gatlinburg in early June: Time to view fireflies!

One of the most unique natural displays that visitors to Gatlinburg can see at the first part of June is the famous spectacle of the synchronous fireflies. While they range from Tennessee up to Pennsylvania, the population here is the largest in the Western Hemisphere and the forests in this area offer a particularly suitable place for them to perform their mating ritual. The males light up with the stronger flashes and fly above the females who sit on the ground and signal back with weaker flashes. The result is an awe inspiring site that leaves people with a peaceful feeling as they witness one of nature’s wonders.

Visitors can see these amazing fireflies in one of two ways; be a registered camper at Elkmont or take the Tan trolley up to the Great Smoky Mountains National park and view the firefly display. The fireflies can be seen at approximately 9:30 pm from around June 6 to June 13. Since so many people want to come and see these unusual creatures cars driving in and out from Elkmont are not allowed after 5 p.m. Visitors need to park their cars at the Sugarland Visitors Center then take the trolley to Elkmont. The last trolley returns to the Visitors Center from Elkmont at 11 p.m.

Visitors are required to buy a Sugarland Visitors Center parking pass in advance due to the fact that the Visitors Center parking lot has limited capacity. People interested in seeing the fireflies can get information on purchasing Day Before Parking Passes here.

Fireflies live an interesting life as it takes them up to two years to reach adulthood. They then live only about 3 weeks during which time the famous lighting mating ritual occurs. It’s not possible to determine exactly when each year the fireflies will display their synchronous mating ritual, but it has varied from mid-May to mid-June. The display advances each night until peak synchronicity is reached, then it gradually dwindles until the mating season is completed. When viewing the fireflies it can take a few moments for them to sync up, then viewers will notice waves of flashes back and forth, lasting around 6 seconds, then 6 second periods of darkness after the synchronization.

People are encouraged to get their parking passes and come out to see the fireflies. About 1,000 people per night come out to see the display. While people are welcome to come, pets are not allowed at the firefly site. There are volunteers and park rangers who can answer questions about the event at the park and there are firefly viewing information stations.

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Have you seen the fireflies in Gatlinburg? Share your experiences with us in the comments, on Facebook, on Twitter @travelgburg, or on Google +!

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The Best Waterfalls in Gatlinburg

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Visit Rainbow Falls in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

People all over America love waterfalls. The fascination that comes with the rushing water never ceases to delight visitors. Gatlinburg is home to some of the most beloved waterfalls in this country. While waterfalls make the perfect setting for lovers, anyone who prizes a pristine view of nature will enjoy a trip to these top three Gatlinburg waterfalls.

Grotto Falls

This month is a great month to visit Grotto Falls to see the wildflowers. The unique feature of this falls is the ability to walk behind it. In this area see old growth hemlock forests. Be careful for slippery rocks in the falls vicinity. The hike in takes about 2-3 hours and can be accessed from the Roaring Fork Motor Trail. You’ll cross several small streams and walk uphill a good part of the way. Your reward will be the grand sight of the falls that offers many photo taking opportunities.

This makes a fun hike for families and picnickers. The trail can be a bit muddy with roots and rocks so be sure to wear appropriate hiking shoes. Watch for salamanders on the trail and even a bear or two in the trees! Getting here early in the day is advised so you can find parking before you trek up to the falls.

Abrams Falls

The beauty of these falls hides danger…the deep pools surrounding the falls harbor strong currents so swimming here is prohibited. The round trip hike to the falls is 5 miles and of moderate difficulty. Begin your hike at the Abrams Falls Trail in Cades Cove. You’ll travel over diverse territory, uphill and downhill and encounter many rocks and tree roots along the way. Parents report that strollers don’t make it on this trail and some people feel it may be too challenging for younger children.

While these falls are not very high (about 20 feet) the immense volume of water that rushes over them is the main attraction. People hiking here report that the roaring sound of the water and the sight of the cascading falls is one of the most beautiful sights in the Gatlinburg area.

Many visitors agree that while the hike may be a bit arduous the sight of the falls makes it worth the effort. Bring some water and food and wear hiking boots to protect your feet.

Laurel Falls

Those who like a paved trail will enjoy the route to Laurel Falls. One of only 4 paved trails in the park, the way rewards hikers with the sight of a fantastic 80 foot high falls. While the pavement is easier to travel over than some other trails it can be uneven and rough and might pose some issues for strollers and wheelchairs. Pets and bicycles are prohibited and it’s advised that you bring water with you. The 2.6 mile hike to and from the falls is not difficult, coming in at around two hours for most hikers. If you want to go for a longer hike there are a few nearby trails as well. Families say that kids 6 and up most often enjoy this trip.

Go early in the morning and enjoy the area as it can get a bit crowded later in the day. Watch for bears and don’t litter or leave food around where it can tempt bears. Bears are wild animals and you should discourage them from approaching you. Children should be supervised at all times. Some parents report that carrying smaller kids in backpack carriers may be preferable than using a stroller.

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Tell us about your waterfall hike adventures! Share your experiences with us in the comments, on Facebook, on Twitter @travelgburg, or on Google +!

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Sightseeing the Smokies in the Spring

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Sightseeing in the Smokies — fun for the whole family!

Never let it be said that visitors were at a loss for things to see in Gatlinburg. In fact, that could be the reason people come back year after year to our city; there’s so much to see one visit is not enough.

If you need a quick guide to some of the ‘must see’ places in the area, take a look at this checklist we’ve put together. While we’ll let you discover the shops and attractions, we’ll focus on a few of the natural wonders. Start your sightseeing trip with this list and you’ll get a great cross-section of the natural wonders in the Gatlinburg area:

1) Cades Cove Historic Homesteads: Driving, biking or walking through Cades Cove puts you in touch with the past. The history here reaches back before recorded time. It begins over 200 million years ago, when the North American and African tectonic plates crashed together and their force created the mountains.

The Cades Cove Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. You can see dozens of buildings erected by some of the first settlers in the area. Several of them, like the Cades Cove Cable Mill, let you imagine what life must have been like in the 1800s. In the mid-1800s nearly 700 settlers lived and worked in Cades Cove. As you traverse this 6800 acre natural wonder, watch for cabins, granaries and smokehouses. See quaint churches, barns and forges.

While you admire the old settlements you’ll be surrounded by wildlife. Cades Cove is the nesting place for hundreds of bird species. From butterflies to 9 point bucks, visitors to the area always find unique creatures to watch and photograph. Bears, ducks, bald eagles and many more creatures populate the thousands of acres within the valley. The diversity of wildlife never ceases to amaze. More than two million visitors a year visit Cades Cove, it’s *the* ‘must see’ for your trip.

2) Newfound Gap Road

See the Smokies on the most popular drive in the area.

Driving the Newfound Gap Road is magical any time of day. Many visitors like to visit this area in the early morning to view the mists as they float and hover over the valley. There are numerous places to park and get out and hike. Talk about being one with nature — That phrase must have originated with visitors traversing the Newfound Gap Road. Picnickers, newlyweds and people who just want a place to admire spring wildflowers and evergreen woodlands away from the hustle and bustle are all frequent visitors on the Newfound Gap Road.

The views on this scenic drive are spectacular in every season. The crest of the road reaches 5,000 feet. The road is known for its vibrant fall foliage, waterfall views and for bear and elk sightings. Some people have enjoyed taking their motorcycles on this beautiful drive.

3) Mt. LeConte

While many of the most enjoyable sightseeing roads are perfect for a drive, hikers will appreciate the sunrises and sunsets at Mt. LeConte. Make a day trip here and be rewarded with incredible views all the way to the top at 6,600 feet. Four main trails can lead you to the summit. The Trillium Gap Trail comes from the north, from the south you can traverse the Alum Cave Bluff trail, coming from the east you can take the Boulevard trail and from the west you can hike the Bull Head Trail.

There are a number of fun stopping points along the way. See Alum Cave, Arch Rock and a wild turkey or two! Many hikers report that the climb can be somewhat strenuous, taking anywhere from 3-5 hours. People are encouraged to take their time, hike at their own pace, and bring along water and food.

There are cabin rentals in the Mt. LeConte area that are a great reward for hikers who have spent the day on the trails and want to luxuriate in a hot tub at night as they view the lights below in Gatlinburg. It’s recommended that you make reservations if you would like to stay in one of these cabins as they do fill up fast.
 
4) Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail

Make a trip to Roaring Fork your new family tradition.

Find a haven of mountain streams only a mile from Gatlinburg. This is one of the natural wonders that brings visitors back to Gatlinburg every year. Either sit along a stream or enjoy a pleasant hike to a waterfall; you decide how you want to enjoy this popular setting that is not only easy to get to, but offers so many beautiful experiences — visitors of all ages rave about it.

This pleasant 8 mile loop offers an easy one way course through some of the most beautiful country in our area. See gorgeous mountain views and enough wildlife to keep you snapping pictures! Kids love this area as there are many opportunities to view wildlife. Bears and wild turkeys are frequently seen here.

Get out and walk the many trails and immerse yourself in the forests, gaze at the waterfalls and show children historic buildings so they can see how life used to be. Any time of year is a great time to visit Roaring Fork. Many visitors return later in the year to enjoy the fall foliage. While there is no charge to visit this area there are some donation boxes along the way for those who wish to leave a donation.

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Tell us about your nature hike adventures in Gatlinburg! Share your experiences with us in the comments, on Facebook, on Twitter @travelgburg, or on Google +!

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Trolleys: A Fun Way to Explore Gatlinburg

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Trolley rides are part of Gatlinburg!

One of the best features in Gatlinburg is the trolley system. Look forward to a relaxing and fun way to get around town when you board one of the trolleys. The trolley fleet in Gatlinburg has grown from 6 to 20 trolleys over the last three decades. The trolleys run on an easy color coded system. There are 8 routes, and each one is dedicated to certain areas of town, or stops at certain attractions. The trolleys are very popular and serve about 800,000 riders per year. You can purchase individual rides (fares range from $0.50 cents to $2.00 depending on the route) or an All Day Trolley Pass for only $2.00 (except Tan and Pink routes). Exact change is required. Check the map below for all the routes and fees. All vehicles within the Transit Fleet are ADA equipped.

Buy an All Day Trolley Pass at Gatlinburg Welcome Centers, City Hall and the Mass Transit Center adjacent to Ripley’s Aquarium.

Grab this handy PDF trolley map and schedule which is great to download to your phone or tablet:

http://www.gatlinburgtrolley.org/doc/2013-Gatlinburg-Trolley-Map.pdf

There are more than 100 locations within the city of Gatlinburg to board a trolley. Now that’s convenience! The trolleys only stop at designated signs and shelters. Be sure to check the trolley schedule as some of the routes, such as the tan Great Smoky Mountains National Park route, are seasonal.

Here are a few popular trolley routes you can try:

Yellow Route: This route takes you to the Great Smoky Mountains Arts & Crafts Community. Fare is only one dollar. Exact change is required.

Pink Route: This is the Dollywood trolley. Dollywood is a theme park, family destination and venue where visitors enjoy live musical shows. It serves millions of guests each season and is owned by country music star Dolly Parton.

Tan Route: Enjoy this trolley that will take you to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It runs June – October,
9 a.m. to 7 p.m. This 90 minute route costs $2.00 round trip. Exact change is required.

Check out the Gatlinburg Mass Transit website that offers even more information, including a GPS trolley finder so you’ll always be able to tell where the trolleys are!

http://www.gatlinburgtrolley.org/

Have you taken the trolleys in Gatlinburg? Share your experiences with us in the comments, on Facebook, on Twitter @travelgburg, or on Google +!

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How to Plan the Perfect Gatlinburg Getaway

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Enjoy serenity during your Gatlinburg getaway.

Most people envision vacations lasting at least a week or two, to give them time to unwind from the day-to-day pressures of life. Did you know that you can decompress and re-connect with loved ones or meet new friends on a three day Gatlinburg getaway? These vacations offer you your choice of an active or relaxing (or both) time away from it all.

Let’s get started brainstorming your perfect Gatlinburg getaway! Follow these can’t miss guidelines and come join us to celebrate spring!

1) Select a cabin that is rustic or one that has all the comforts of home; including wide screen TV and wireless Internet. Gatlinburg cabins offer flexible floor plans too; you can rent a small intimate cabin or super-sized chalet style lodgings that feature soaring ceilings and breathtaking views from second floor wraparound decks. Many of the Gatlinburg cabins are pet friendly, so ask if you can bring your pet along for the weekend.

2) Plan on keeping the car parked most of the time. Gatlinburg offers aerial trams, trolleys, planned transportation to and from many of the cabins and fun hiking trails that allow you to take in everything Gatlinburg has to offer without needing to drive. With so many alternatives to driving a private vehicle, you’ll save time, meet fellow travelers and get to know Gatlinburg much more intimately.

3) Embrace adventure. Never been river tubing before? How about zip lining, or white water rafting? These are just some of the adventures that await you in Gatlinburg. There’s an adventure in Gatlinburg that fits everyone’s style. Even if you imagined your 3 day weekend as nothing more than a relaxing time to sit in a chair and view the scenery, you could challenge yourself to some shopping at Gatlinburg’s seven malls or see local artisans create handmade pottery, candles, soaps, baskets and many other crafts.

4) Eat, drink and be merry. Breakfast, lunch and dinner. There aren’t enough meals in the day for one to try all the popular Gatlinburg restaurants in one weekend. It’s not necessary to ask if Gatlinburg has a particular type of food. The diversity of restaurants and menus fits most every mood and taste. Did you know that Gatlinburg offers some of the best pancakes you’ll ever taste, plus we’ve got your sweet tooth covered with fantastic ice cream, donuts and caramel apples.

If you crave heartier fare there are numerous choices for casual and fine dining. From old country inn dining experiences to mouthwatering barbeque, seafood and great Italian dishes, Gatlinburg cuisine will definitely be one of the highlights of your trip.

5) Be Ready for Over the Top Attractions. In Gatlinburg you’ll never run out of things to do. In every season you can find just the right mix of fun, relaxation and adventure. Here you can try any or all of these activities: Visit amusement parks; see museums that feature famous TV and movie cars and exhibits from world record holders; visit a one-of-a-kind aquarium; play golf; ride the aerial tram; go to the top of the Space Needle (400 ft. in the air); go white water rafting; enjoy horseback riding or just walk a scenic trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It’s your getaway, but we guarantee it’ll be hard to get bored.

6) And the ultimate Gatlinburg getaway: Elope to Gatlinburg! Dozens of wedding planners offer elopement packages that allow you to plan the ideal 3 day romantic trip: A wedding and honeymoon in Gatlinburg! The best part is since the ceremony will be just for the two of you, you can more easily plan your wedding by phone or email, then meet with your planner when you arrive to finalize the details. Many couples have eloped to the mountains in Gatlinburg and take home unforgettable memories of their special day.

We’ve mapped out so many perfect ways to spend a Gatlinburg 3 day getaway. But wait, did we forget anything? Oh, of course, deals! Be sure to check our site periodically for deals and package announcements that can make your Gatlinburg dream getaway even better!

Download your free Gatlinburg vacation guide now.

Talk to us about your favorite getaway in Gatlinburg! Share your experiences with us in the comments, on Facebook, on Twitter @travelgburg, or on Google +!

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Springtime Fun in the Smokies

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Try hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

So many visitors come to Gatlinburg in the fall to thrill to the fiery foliage displays. While that scenery is hard to beat, Gatlinburg in the springtime offers just as many awesome sights. We decided to put together a fun mini-guide that blends natural wonders, activities and dining recommendations so you can enjoy a wide selection of Gatlinburg spring attractions.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day: Did you know that one of the most loved foods served in Gatlinburg is pancakes? Our city offers a number of pancake specific restaurants that consistently get rave reviews online. Some of the restaurants’ websites offer handy printable menus. Try not to let your mouth water as you scan these menus that boast photos of stacks of pancakes flanked by sausage and bacon, and topped with hot, homemade syrup. Whether you order apple, blackberry, strawberry or blueberry pancakes, be sure to get some side orders of country ham and biscuits and gravy. Now that’s good eating!

A fun and easy hike:

Sugarlands Valley Nature Trail

This paved path is easy for young and old alike. It’s great for parents with young children or people who wish to take a level walk while viewing the scenery. The 0.5-mile loop is wheelchair accessible; in fact it is the only accessible trail in the park. The remains of historic homesteads dot the trail, as do some small streams and a waterfall. You’ll find some informational signs that will acquaint you with the sights. Deer are frequently seen here. Visitors like this trail because it allows them to enjoy a peaceful walk year round without hiking up any hills.

Ride red, yellow, purple, green, blue, pink and tan: These are the colors of the Gatlinburg trolley routes. You’ll find that the trolleys provide a fun and easy way to get around town. You can even ride out to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on the tan trolley. Fares vary from 50 cents to two dollars and some trolleys are seasonal so be sure to check the trolley route map and schedule: http://www.gatlinburgtrolley.org/doc/2013-Gatlinburg-Trolley-Map.pdf

Find a peaceful haven: Gatlinburg is home to some of the most spectacular scenery in the country. Visitors can rent rustic or luxurious cabins from which to commune with nature and just relax away from the pressures of the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Whether you are looking for a simple cabin to use as a base for your Gatlinburg adventures, or you want to rent a mansion-like chalet with every amenity (even wireless Internet), you’ll find the perfect lodgings awaiting you. It’s recommended that you plan several months in advance and it’s a good idea to make up a list of ‘must haves’ before you contact Gatlinburg cabin rental companies. Why wait until the peak of summer? Perhaps you can break away for a long weekend soon…

Up, up and away: Mt. LeConte hikes let you get a whole new perspective on Gatlinburg. Travel 6,600 feet up and see the valley below as you take in some of the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets in the area. The trails leading to the Mt. LeConte summit can take 3-5 hours to complete. People of all ages have enjoyed these challenging hikes. It’s said that the Bullhead Trail offers the most seclusion. May through October are the best months to climb. You can stay at the famous LeConte Lodge but it fills up months in advance so it pays to book your stay there early.

Step out into the night: Gatlinburg nightlife awaits you after a fun day exploring around town. Downtown Gatlinburg is aglow after dark. Comedy acts, live music, karaoke, and wine and beer bars are just some of the nightly entertainment choices. Stop in to some of the restaurants and sample shrimp, trout, rotisserie chicken and tempting hickory smoked barbecue.

Why not try some micro-brewed beer, southern fried catfish or filet mignon? And after you’ve eaten your fill it’s time to work off those calories with a visit to some of the area’s country dance clubs. You can also try some arcade action, see a theater show or try a little night time mini-golfing.

Download your free Gatlinburg vacation guide now.

What’s your favorite springtime activity in Gatlinburg? Share your experiences with us in the comments, on Facebook, on Twitter @travelgburg, or on Google +!

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Wildlife Encounters in Gatlinburg

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Black bears are a not uncommon site in Gatlinburg.

Wildlife is abundant in Gatlinburg, and Cades Cove, a beautiful 6800 acre valley setting within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, is one of the most popular places to see creatures in their natural habitat. Visitors to Cades Cove can see an array of wild creatures from butterflies to bears. Many people like to pack a picnic and bring the kids along to view the old homesteads on the Loop Road drive around the area. With over 150 camp sites and several nature trails, the area offers great opportunities to photograph all of the natural wonders including dozens of types of birds, ducks, deer, turkeys and more.

Speaking of turkeys, these creatures are some of the most interesting animals you can see in Cades Cove. Now’s a great time to see the male turkeys strutting in all their glory trying to impress the hens. Google Image Search, Flickr and social networks are full of awesome photos people have taken of Cades Cove turkeys, even some walking in the snow! Your best opportunity to see wild turkeys is around dawn. They do fly, but only for short distances. Sometimes you will see them running. They are not the white turkeys that some people see on farms. These turkeys have dark feathers that shine in the sun, and large tails that look like rounded fans.

As you traverse the Great Smoky Mountains National Park be sure to take some time to notice some of Mother Nature’s smallest creatures. Salamanders thrive in the park, giving this area the nickname, “The Salamander Capital Of The World”. Dozens of types of salamanders can be found in the park, including Black-chinned Red Salamanders, Southern Red-backed Salamanders and Longtail Salamanders. Researchers have been studying declines in salamander populations in Eastern North America and have tried to discover if disease, over-collecting for pets, climate issues or other factors have contributed to these changes. It’s safe to say that seeing these intriguing creatures can be an interesting experience.

Spring in Gatlinburg wouldn’t be complete without fish. With over 2,000 miles of streams in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, visitors to this area will be treated to a veritable cornucopia of nearly 60 fish species. Brook trout are native to this area, but have had trouble competing with non-native rainbow trout. The park has been successful at restoring some of the range of native brook trout over the last quarter century. While some people like seeing fish, there are many others who love the sport of fishing. Find out more about trout fishing and Gatlinburg fly fishing vacations here. There are several outfitters in the area that can help you get ready for a great fishing vacation.

Surely black bears are the most popular creature in Gatlinburg. You can see them carrying their cubs, eating berries in the trees, and doing zany things like swinging in hammocks. It is not uncommon to hear visitors tell stories about bears roaming around their campsites and cabins. The nature trails in Great Smoky Mountains National Park are excellent areas to see bears. The high concentration of bears in the area does require people to exercise some care. While the bears are fun to look at, people need to keep their distance as they are large animals that can cause injuries to humans. One of the most important things visitors can do to ensure that there are no unsafe bear encounters is to not feed the bears. Running from a bear is not advised; but slowly backing away is recommended. If you must prevent a bear from continuing its approach towards you; try and throw items that make a clattering sound and that are not food.

A popular place to see black bears is at Ober Gatlinburg’s Wildlife Encounter. You can observe and learn about bears there, along with birds of prey and a variety of nocturnal creatures like raccoons, possums, skunks and flying squirrels. While these animals live at the wildlife exhibit at Ober Gatlinburg they are representative of many of the creatures you will see in the wild here in the area. The Wildlife Encounter offers people a chance to see these creatures up close and learn more about them and their ways.

Download your free Gatlinburg vacation guide now.

Let us know what wildlife you’ve seen in Gatlinburg! Share your experiences with us in the comments, on Facebook, on Twitter @travelgburg, or on Google +!

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Honeymoon Adventures: Discover Natural Wonders High Above Gatlinburg

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Zip lining in Gatlinburg – A real thrill!

Some people dream of tropical beaches and romantic sunsets for their honeymoon. Others are adventurous, even a bit mischievous, and require a honeymoon that fits their desire for a challenge. When we say adventure we don’t mean anything you can attempt on terra firma, we’re talking about taking to the sky — Zip lining in Gatlinburg! Your honeymoon can be your first step into a whole new world of adventure! Millions of people around the world enjoy zip lining, and hundreds of them come to Gatlinburg every year to try the dozens of zip lines that provide a unique adrenaline rush!

If you’ve never heard about zip lining, it’s a popular activity for kids and adults. The venues that offer zip lining have cables set up on unique courses through forests and above Gatlinburg landmarks so your travel high in the sky offers you some of the most unique views in the area. Imagine feeling the thrill of flight as you whiz by trees, past mountains and even over the Gatlinburg strip! Zip lining, while challenging and conducted at incredible heights and speeds of up to 50 mph, is quite safe on commercial courses that are constructed by professional zip line installation experts. In the Gatlinburg area you’ll find several zip line tour companies to choose from. The zip line tour firms offer a variety of packages that run from 30-40 minutes up to 3 challenging hours. The fees for zip lining are relatively inexpensive (ranging from about $50 – $150) considering the unusual nature of the activity and length of time you can spend cruising through the trees and ascending and descending on different levels of the course by way of bridges and platforms between the lines. Some of the zip line tour companies offer helmet cams so you can view a recording of your adventure when you’re back on solid earth.

The best part about zip lining is that it offers you a feeling of exhilaration and freedom as you soar above the trees. Some of the zip line courses are open year round and several are even open at night! These night zip courses deliver on their promise of ‘an experience you will never forget’ as they combine the thrill and freedom of a zip line ride with the crisp mountain air! Imagine speeding over the lights of downtown Gatlinburg, or whizzing high above the trees and seeing a Smoky Mountain sunset! Now that’s a truly different way to experience a romantic view!

Zip lining on the commercial courses is very safe, but there are a few precautions one should take before harnessing up. While there are no government regulations that police the industry, organizations such as the Association for Challenge Course Technology set standards for zip line courses. When you are reviewing the local zip line companies ask about these standards and proof that they abide by them. Ask about guide training and certification and the visitor to guide ratio. Most zip line companies will inform you of weight restrictions and ask about your general fitness to gauge your ability as a candidate for a zip line adventure. These questions and viewing some images and video of the course before you visit Gatlinburg can help familiarize you with the venues that you are most interested in.

Surely a zip lining adventure would make most anyone’s list as a memorable honeymoon activity. If you like to share your thrills with friends, you can have even more fun zip lining with a group. Some couples rent large, mansion-sized cabins for themselves and several guests to enjoy a honeymoon vacation. While on your extended honeymoon, why not bring your guests to the zip line course and discover the wild blue yonder above Gatlinburg together? You may even find special promotions, as most zip line tour companies offer package deals to accommodate most any size group.

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Talk to us about your honeymoon adventures in Gatlinburg! Share your experiences with us in the comments, on Facebook, on Twitter @travelgburg, or on Google +!

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