Where To Stay In Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, or Sevierville

©When visiting the Great Smoky Mountain National Park there are several types of lodging to choose from. You can find everything from secluded cabins to hotels on the main strip through town. This makes the surrounding areas of Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and Sevierville the ideal vacation destinations. No matter what your style or needs, you’ll find what you’re looking for when it comes to accommodations. Continue reading

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April 2013 Gatlinburg Gateway Triathlon

Triathlete running out of water during triathlonThere are few places in Tennessee better than Gatlinburg to get a feel of the fresh spring air of the Great Smokey Mountains. For those who want to experience the picturesque town and the Smokies at a faster pace, give the Gatlinburg Gateway Triathlon a try, or cheer them on if you prefer the sidelines. The sprint-tri race is perfect for new competitors to triathlons while providing plenty of challenges for the seasoned athlete.
The fifth annual Gatlinburg Gateway Triathlon takes place Apr. 13 beginning at 8:15 a.m. The day begins with a half-mile swim in the Gatlinburg Community Center pool. Participants then head out into the early spring air for a 20-kilometer bike ride (just over 12 miles) along the streets and surrounding roads of Gatlinburg.
The 5k running leg of the race takes the athletes along the rustic beauty of Ogle Road, then to the finish line back at the community center.
The sprawling foothills of the Smokies provide subtle and unexpected tests for novice and accomplished competitors alike. The unpredictable early-spring weather, typically in the middle 60’s, provides racers with a spark that the fresh air that a new season brings. The Gatlin Gateway Triathlon is a great way for athletes to kick off their racing campaigns.
The race is open to men and women 15 years or older. Participants can also enter as a mixed team. Pre-registration is required. The cost is $25 per person, $60 per team. There is an optional lunch provided for an additional $5.
Athletes must register by Apr. 8. To find a registration form, go to the Gatlinburg Community Center website and click on the link for the Gatlinburg Gateway Triathlon. Also note that athletes typically swim two to a lane and there are a limited number of competitors allowed in the pool at one time. Racers start in heats, so get an idea of your estimated time for a half-mile swim.
Awards will be given to the top male and female finishers in each age group, which include 14-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49 and 50 and over. There is also a team relay category.
For more information call (865) 436-4990.

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Let Gatlinburg Visitor Center Help You Relax

View of downtown GatlinburgIf you have ever been to the Gatlinburg Visitor Center you will be greeted with a completely remodeled area when you return.  If you have not had a chance to visit before you will easily find the visitor center on the main Parkway of Gatlinburg located at the intersection of US 321 and US 441, just across from a public parking garage, it is a perfect place to start a walking exploration of the city.

The landscape surrounding the Gatlinburg Visitor Center has been redesigned to be transformed into a park like setting maximizing the outdoor space to give visitors a place to relax and unwind as they learn about the area and plan the remainder of their day or trip.  An expanded sitting area and pavilion has been updated to offer a charging station for your electronics as you sit back to relax and take in the beautiful setting.  With four waterfalls being added to the landscape you will be able to unwind as you take a break and listen to the soothing sound.  Located on the east side of the building a new interpretive mountain area offers an educational element for adults interested in seeing the layout of the mountains with the names of many mountain peaks found in the Smoky Mountains.  Children will stay entertained with the interactive features such as musical instruments located near the riverbed with a splashing brook flowing at the base of the interruptive mountain.

The building of the Gatlinburg Visitor Center will be more open to create a better flow and visibility.  The entire project is just a short time frame away from its expected completion date of July 22, 2013.

As you would expect with any visitor center you will find the normal amenities expected as well as the outdoor park like setting.  A perfect stop area for a break to know that there will be clean public restrooms and information on the area with maps and discount books.

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Campgrounds in the Great Smoky Mountains

Person camping in nature at sunsetThe Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee offers visitors a wide range of outdoor activities with a backdrop of spectacular views. The Great Smoky National Park draws vacationing families from around the country. Camping is a popular activity in the area. Campers will find a range of amenities and campground options to suit their needs.

Gatlinburg Camping
Many people who come to Gatlinburg utilize the campgrounds that are directly in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. The park offers a number of frontcountry sites that you can drive to, with picnic tables, fire grate, flush toilets and restrooms. No electrical hookups are available. Most accommodate RVs. For those who require a full range of amenities with their camping experience, the Adventure Bound Camping Resort in Gatlinburg offers a 500-foot waterslide, pool, kiddie pool, general store, fishing lake, basketball court, billiard room and wifi.

Pigeon Forge Camping
Pigeon Forge is a small mountain community five miles north of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. The Clabough Campground has 310 full hook-up sites with concrete patios and picnic tables on shaded lots. The campground has 2 swimming pools, 4 bathhouses, grocery store, laundry facilities, restaurant, game room and wifi. Riveredge RV Resort offers campers a swimming pool, hot tub, arcade, 5-star bathhouse and wifi. The resort also has cabins for reservation.

Sevierville Camping
Up the Creek RV Camp provides campers a smaller, more private setting with plenty of trees between sites and just five minutes from town. The babbling creek offers a good background for relaxing and enjoying the scenery. They also have a dog park and can accommodate large RVs. However, no restrooms or bathhouses are on the site. Ripplin’ Waters Campground and Cabin Rentals offers 156 sites with full hook-up, bathhouses, hot showers, swimming pool, laundry facilities, church services, camp store and playground. Fifty sites are on the Little Pigeon River. Fishing is also available with permit.

The Great Smoky Mountain National Park is nearby to each of these locations providing trails and streams for hiking, exploring and fishing in a natural environment.  Cades Cove also offers many trails for hiking, wildlife viewing, and taking a look back into the history of the Great Smoky Mountains.

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Waterfalls In The Great Smoky Mountains

Laurel Falls in Smoky MountainsThe Great Smoky Mountains have long been a favorite vacation spot for visitors who enjoy outdoor adventures. People come to the area to walk one of the literally hundreds of trails that can be found here and take in the beauty of the site. One of the main things that outdoor enthusiasts look forward to viewing on these trips are the waterfalls. Three of the best waterfalls to visit while vacationing in the Gatlinburg and Cades Cover, TN area of the Great Smoky Mountains are Abrams Falls, Laurel Falls and Grotto Falls.

One of the best waterfalls in the Great Smoky Mountains is Abrams Falls. Abrams Falls, in Cades Cove, is located on a breathtaking five mile hiking trail. This trail is not for beginners, but it is well worth the trip for visitors looking to catch a glimpse of Abrams Falls 20 foot fall and deep pool.

Another fabulous fall in the Great Smoky Mountains is Laurel Falls. This fall is wonderful for families as it is on a paved trail that is easily accessible for both wheelchairs and strollers. Laurel Falls is conveniently located within minutes of Gatlinburg and showcases a breathtaking 80 foot cascade. These falls are very popular with travelers, so it is recommended that people try to come out early to miss the crowds.

Last, but certainly not least, on the list of great falls to visit in the Great Smoky Mountains is Grotto Falls. The Grotto Falls are unique in that visitors can actually stand behind the falls and get the experience of the water seeming to crash right in front of them. Grotto Falls is a quick drive from Gatlinburg and is located off the very popular Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail.

Regardless of which one of these stunning falls the visitor decides to take in, some precautions are in order to make sure the trip is a success. Hikers will want to make sure they are wearing extremely comfortable walking shoes before heading out. In addition, travelers will want to pack things like extra clothes in case they get wet on the trails and a map to make navigating easier. It is also important to bring food and water just in case the trip takes longer then planned. Taking these things in to consideration will guarantee that the visitor has a fun and safe time visiting the Great Smoky Mountains beautiful waterfalls.

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Gatlinburg Tennessee Weather Averages

Gatlinburg Tennessee weather averages run the gamut and is at some point comfortable to almost any climatic preference from a nippy 35 degrees in January to a warm 73 in July along with substantial rainfall throughout the year. Gatlinburg, Tennessee is one of the top tourist destinations in the world. While its hallmark location is the natural majesty of Great Smoky Mountains National Park (the most visited national park in the United States), it is also home to one-of-a-kind shows, carnivals, and Dollywood, the theme park owned by country music legend Dolly Parton. One of the most attractive aspects of Gatlinburg is its weather.

A funny yet true observation of Gatlinburg Tennessee weather is, “If you don’t like the weather, just wait a day or so, and it’ll change!” One would be hard-pressed to find more varied and less predictable weather than that of Gatlinburg Tennessee. As the data below demonstrates, the year begins with very low temperatures, an average of 35, a “low” average of 23, and a “high” average of 47. This weather is reflective of Tennessee’s low January temperatures as well as Gatlinburg’s high altitude. This altitude allows for a Gatlinburg favorite: snow. In January and throughout a large amount of the year, the extremely high portions of the Gatlinburg area becomes covered with snow. January is prime tourist season for Gatlinburg because snow provides for unparalleled nature viewing and also, for daredevil tourists, snow skiing.

As the year progresses, spring becomes an exciting time for Gatlinburg. The extremely high altitudes still have snow but “mainstream” Gatlinburg sees average temperatures of 55 and 63 in April and May, respectively. Spring sees the infiltration of spring breakers. The natural beauty of the area is in full bloom, wildlife is stirring, and the Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge (the next town over) open more and more of their attractions, including the icon of Dollywood.

The summer months see another influx of tourists and provides a whole new realm of activities. Extremely unique, Gatlinburg becomes warm enough so as to allow for enjoyable outdoor activities but remains cool enough to curtail miserable heat. July has an average temperature of 73 and an average high of only 85. Summer allows Gatlinburg vacationers to continue to enjoy Dollywood, visit area water parks, or take a white water rafting trip down a Smoky Mountain stream.

Fall and early winter see a sharp decrease in temperatures with the October, November, and December temperature averages being 55, 47, and 39, respectively. It could still be warm enough to wear shorts, or the higher altitudes could experience their first snowfalls of the season. While the theme parks begin to close during this time, the holiday season comes in full force to Gatlinburg, with its iconic Christmas lights becoming an attraction to themselves.

Gatlinburg, Tennessee has one of the most unique weather patterns in America. Anyone can find a time in which they would be comfortable visiting Gatlinburg, which makes it one of the top tourist destinations in the United States.

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