Eight Things to Do on a Weekend Getaway in the Great Smoky Mountains

The view from Clingmans Dome
The view from Clingmans Dome

In today’s hectic lives, weekend getaways are perfect to unwind stress and take a break from routine. Going on a weekend getaway is great for recharging our batteries while exploring nature’s wonders. Tennessee is one of the country’s premier weekend getaway destinations, offering the ideal blend of relaxation and excitement. Tennessee offers remarkable cultural and historical experiences and provides an opportunity to move on to the tunes of country music, savor your taste buds with the delicious cuisines, interact with nature, and enjoy the enthralling rides. If you are an adventure seeker and want to feel the fresh air around you, the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee should be your next weekend’s getaway stop. You can have an unforgettable weekend escape experience – with lush forests, wildlife, and breathtaking landscapes.

Let’s take a look at some of the outdoor activities and experiences you can enjoy while on a weekend getaway in the Great Smoky Mountains:

Explore Elkmont

As you step into Elkmont, you are sure to travel back in time. This place was once a thriving community and later a vacation haven for wealthy families. Today, Elkmont wears the fascinating cloak of a ghost town, enticing history buffs and curious adventurers alike. The whispers of the past, combined with the serene beauty of the surrounding nature, create a unique atmosphere you want to experience.

Elkmont offers more than just a glimpse into the past; it is also a hiker’s paradise. With various trails, you will find options suited for all skill levels. As you wander through the verdant forests alongside bubbling streams, keep your eyes peeled for the area’s diverse wildlife. You might spot deer, wild turkeys, or even the elusive black bear!

One of the most intriguing aspects of elkmont Tennessee, is the collection of abandoned structures that tell the stories of its past. The once-glamorous Wonderland Hotel, now a shadow of its former self, still stands as a haunting testament to the passage of time. Equally fascinating are the remnants of the Little River Lumber Company, a reminder of the area’s logging history. As you explore these relics of a bygone era, you will feel an undeniable connection to the people who once called Elkmont home.

Hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains

The Great Smoky Mountains are a hiker’s paradise, offering many trails catering to all skill levels. Alum Cave Trail takes you through an enchanting forest, past unique geological formations, and up to the breathtaking Alum Cave Bluffs. Another popular choice is the Chimney Tops Trail, known for its panoramic views and iconic Rock formations at the summit.

Safety and preparation are essential for a successful hike. Pack plenty of water, wear comfortable and sturdy footwear, and carry a map or a GPS device. Always let someone know your hiking plans and estimated return time, and remember to check the weather forecast before heading out.

Each season in the Great Smoky Mountains is beautiful, which you can experience while hiking on its various trails. Spring welcomes colorful displays of wildflowers, while fall brings vibrant displays of foliage – making the Great Smoky Mountains’ hiking trails an unforgettable experience!

Visit Clingmans Dome

Clingmans Dome is a must-see spot during your weekend getaway. As the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains, it offers an unmatched vantage point to marvel at the landscape. The observation tower at the summit allows you to take in panoramic views that stretch for miles. Do not worry; the short hike from the parking area is manageable and well worth the effort for the breathtaking vistas at the top.

Experience Wildlife

One of the most magical aspects of the Great Smoky Mountains is the opportunity to encounter diverse wildlife. From majestic elk and elusive black bears to graceful white-tailed deer, the park offers nature enthusiasts unforgettable sightings. To ensure your safety and that of the animals, it is essential to practice responsible wildlife viewing. Keep a respectful distance, avoid feeding the animals, and remember to leave no trace.

Cades Cove is a prime location for wildlife encounters. As you explore the area, keep your eyes peeled and your camera ready to capture memories of these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat.

Picnicking and Outdoor Dining

Nothing complements a day of adventure in the Great Smoky Mountains better than a delightful outdoor meal. Popular picnic spots like Metcalf Bottoms and Chimneys Picnic Area provide a picturesque, relaxing setting for an afternoon lunch or evening snacks. Bring reusable containers and utensils to minimize waste when packing your leftovers. Taking along foods like sandwiches, fresh fruits, and energy-boosting snacks is better. They are easy to carry and cause no mess outdoors. While you eat your favorite foods, you can sit and enjoy the beauty of nature.

Horseback Riding and Ziplining

Horseback riding is a great choice for uniquely exploring the Great Smoky Mountains. Guided trail rides with the horse camps in Cades Cove (Anthony Creek), Big Creek, Cataloochee, Round Bottom, and Towstring let visitors enjoy lush forests and picturesque meadows, providing a leisurely way to take in the stunning views. There are several stables in the area, catering to riders of all skill levels, so whether you are an experienced equestrian or a first-timer, you will find an adventure that suits you.

Ziplining will thrill you if you are looking for a more adrenaline-pumping activity. Soar through the treetops and experience the breathtaking landscapes from a bird’s-eye view. With various companies offering ziplining activities in the Great Smokies, you will have multiple options, each promising an exhilarating experience you will remember.

Camping and Accommodations

When planning your weekend getaway to the Great Smoky Mountains, plenty of lodging options suit your preferences. Sleep under the stars with national park campgrounds! Sleep beneath the stars while taking in all that nature has to offer in its beautiful mountains and camping under their spell. Many campgrounds also provide restrooms, fire rings, and picnic tables to make your experience pleasant. You can enjoy four campsites in the Great Smoky Mountains backcountry, front country, group campgrounds, and horse camps.

If camping is not your cup of tea, consider staying in a cabin near the Smokies. Cabins provide cozy accommodations with modern amenities and a chance to witness sunsets and sunrises from your cabin while star gazing at night.


The Great Smoky Mountains offer many unforgettable experiences and is an ideal destination for weekend trips. This spectacular region will leave you with special memories and an enhanced appreciation for nature. Offering activities tailored to every visitor’s interest – everyone will find something enjoyable here! Do not delay; take a break from your busy life and reconnect with nature in the Great Smoky Mountains. The Great Smokies has something special for all travelers, from outdoor adventure seekers and history enthusiasts to those seeking peace and serenity. Plan a weekend trip today and make memories that will last a lifetime!

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