Great Smoky Mountains National Park Outdoor Excursions
If you’ve vacationed in the Smoky Mountains, surely you’ve heard of the Annual Pigeon Forge Wilderness Wildlife Week. You know, Pigeon Forge’s annual salute to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park that draws as many as 25,000 visitors from 33 states with hundreds of programs and 150 wildlife, photography, flora, and mountain history experts. Yeah… THAT Wilderness Wildlife Week, headquartered at LeConte Convention Center. It’s five days full of FREE activities and events that hones and encourages a love of the Smokies!
There are plenty of indoor events this week about music, history, photography, mountain lore, and crafts; but the best events are the exciting outdoor activities that will take place in the Great Smoky Mountains and surrounding area during Wilderness Wildlife Week!
Andrews Bald, Charlies Bunion, Sugarlands Cemetary, Grotto Falls, Chimneys, and Porters Creek; these are just six of the 30 hikes and field trip opportunities covering a wide variety of subjects and trails planned during the 5-day celebration.
The hikes range from 1 to 14 miles and so that everyone can participate, each is rated for physical capabilities from easy to strenuous. For example, Porters Creek is a 3-mile hike that is rated easy/moderate, while the 6.5 mile hike to Andrews Bald is rated as moderate/strenuous. A favorite for many is going to be the easy, 3 mile behind the scenes Cades Cove tour, but serious hikers can look forward to the 11-mile, strenuous hike to Mt. LeConte. Be sure to check out the listed Smoky Mountain hikes ratings before signing up, especially if your children are joining you.
Just a few hiking tips:
- Wear shoes or boots that provide good ankle support
- Stay with your group
- Pack a flashlight or headlamp
- Take adequate water
- Carry a small first aid kit
- Be prepared for changing weather conditions
Don’t assume that the only options for enjoying the great outdoors and the Smoky Mountains during Wilderness Wildlife Week is to put one foot in front of the other on a trail. There are also field trips via bus to cover ground! Trips include an American Eagle Foundation and Bush Bean trip, an introduction to the History of Pigeon Forge, Steeples & Stitches, and a photo safari. There are space limitations on the bus trips and preregistration is required. Be sure to confirm registration days and come have a fantastic time!