Gatlinburg Journals

Tennessee Smoky Mountains Vacation

An August 2005 trip to Gatlinburg by jmhook

Smoky Mountains Photo, Gatlinburg, Tennessee More Photos
Quote: Our trip started from Williamsburg, VA. We stayed the first night in Roanoke, VA. The next couple days we stayed in Pigeon Forge, and then Gatlinburg after that, while taking in the nature, city, and crafts areas.

Tennessee Smoky Mountains Vacation

Overview

Smoky Mountains Photo, Gatlinburg, Tennessee
Quote:
Roanoke, VA:Natural Bridge, which is a rock arch a couple hundred feet above the walk path below. There is a small hike that continues on the path.Gatlinburg, TN:Smoky Mountains, hikes or drivesRoaring Fork Motor Nature TrailGatlinburg Arts and Crafts CommunityOber Gatlinburg and Sky TramRipley’s AquariumDollywoodQuick Tips: See http://www.gatlinburg.com.Best Way To Get Around: If you're sightseeing in town, park in a garage and walk everywhere. The Gatlinburg downtown is very small. There is also a cheap trolley that will, for or less, take you around Gatlinburg as well as...Read More
Quote:
Best Things Nearby:** Dolly Parton Theme Park is just up the street. http://www.dollywood.com** Pigeon Forge is next to Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains.Best Things About the Resort:** Same great amenities as other resorts, with lower Points cost for not being in Gatlinburg.** Great children activities sponsored by the resort.Resort Experience:http://www.oakmontresort.comIt looks like a 1970s apartment complex surrounding a central pool area. The rooms are cleaned well. There are several family activities sponsored by th...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on January 19, 2006

Oakmont Resort
3062 Veterans Rd
Pigeon Forge, Tennessee 37863
(865) 453-3240

Tree Tops Resort

Best Of IgoUgo

Hotel

Quote:
Best Things Nearby:** Smoky Mountains.** Gatlinburg Arts and Crafts Community.** Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail ends on the same road as the resort.** Ober Gatlinburg. Winter skiing. Summer amusement rides, hill slide, and indoor skating.** Ripley’s Aquarium.Best Things About the Resort:It's centrally located, so it's not too far to go anywhere in Gatlinburg or the Smoky Mountains.Resort Experience:http://www.treetopsresort.comWhen first entering the resort, you see that it is surrounded by trees, with a nice atmosphere. There are several buildings that make up th...Read More

Member Rating 1 out of 5 on January 19, 2006

Tree Tops Resort
290 Sherman Clabo Road
Gatlinburg, Tennessee 37738
(865) 436-6559

Hard Rock Cafe

Restaurant

Quote:
http://www.hardrock.com/locations/cafes/Cafes.aspx?Lc=GATL

Just like any other Hard Rock Cafe, there is music memorabilia covering the walls, music videos playing on the wall-mounted televisions, and different themed rooms for the varying rock eras.

The food tasted great and the service was great as well. They were very accommodating to our child.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 20, 2006

Hard Rock Cafe
515 Parkway
Gatlinburg, Tennessee 37738
(865) 430-7625

Quote:
This place was huge and constructed with large old timbers. They offered more varieties of pancakes than I had ever imagined. I am not a pancake-loving person, but their pancakes were delicious! Their other dishes needed some work. Basically you go there for the many varieties of pancakes.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on January 20, 2006

Log Cabin Pancake House
327 Historic Nature Trail
Gatlinburg, Tennessee 37738
(865) 453-5748

Bennett's BBQ

Restaurant | "Bennett’s Pit Bar-B-Que"

Quote:
http://www.bennetts-bbq.com

This was one of the best barbecue restaurants I have ever been to. There so many superb-tasting meals. We also took advantage of the morning buffet.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 20, 2006

Bennett's BBQ
714 River Road
Gatlinburg, Tennessee 37738
(865) 428-6328

Natural Bridge of Virginia

Attraction | "Natural Bridge"

Natural Bridge of Virginia Photo, Natural Bridge, Virginia
Quote:
http://www.naturalbridgeva.comThis is a paid attraction for $12 (kids under 5 are free), and there are other discounts for the other attractions (caverns, wax museum). You can take the free bus ride or walk down several scenic steps to get to the Natural Bridge.The rock formation is 215 feet tall and 90 feet wide. As you continue on the trail, you'll pass through the small Monacan Indian Village, where they have reenactments and you can ask them questions. Farther along the trail you'll follow Cedar Creek and pass Saltpeter Cave, where they mined for nitrates to make gunpowder during the Civil War. There is also The Lo...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on January 19, 2006

Natural Bridge of Virginia
15 Appledore Lane
Natural Bridge, Virginia 24578
(540) 291-2121

Quote:
http://www.artsandcraftscommunity.com

This is an 8-mile loop of shops, studios, galleries, cafes, and lodging just outside downtown Gatlinburg. There is supposedly a trolley that you can take along the loop, stopping or walking to each shop, but we did not see it frequently enough, so we drove. Driving the loop is not bad if you don't want to go to all the shops. A list of shops and map is provided at most shops and tourist locations.

Our favorite was the ALEWINE POTTERY, which is worthy of another visit.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on January 19, 2006

Gatlinburg Arts and Crafts Community
Glades Road and Eight Mile Loop
Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Clingman's Dome

Attraction

Clingman's Dome Photo, Gatlinburg, Tennessee
Quote:
This is the highest point in the Smokies at 6,643 feet. It is a 1-mile round-trip steep incline to the top, where Clingman's Dome observatory is.

There were several folks who made use of the few benches along the steeply paved trail.

Unfortunately for us, when we reached the top, it was surrounded by clouds, so we couldn’t see past 100 feet.

It is still worthy of another visit.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on January 20, 2006

Clingman's Dome
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Gatlinburg, Tennessee 37738
(865) 436-1200

Laurel Falls/Laurel Falls Trail

Attraction | "Laurel Falls Hike"

Laurel Falls/Laurel Falls Trail Photo, Gatlinburg, Tennessee
Quote:
Laurel Falls is the easiest waterfall hike on the Tennessee side of the park. It is 2.5 miles round-trip and follows a paved trail. The trail cuts through the middle of a series of cascades. Laurel Falls is 60 feet high.

We chose this hike because of the moderate terrain. We went with our 1-year-old daughter.

http://www.nps.gov/grsm/gsmsite/home/index.html is a link to other Great Smokey Mountains National Park activities and information.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on January 20, 2006

Laurel Falls/Laurel Falls Trail
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail Photo, Gatlinburg, Tennessee
Quote:
You can buy a guided tour map at the ranger station when you enter the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The one-way 5.5-mile drive begins and ends near downtown Gatlinburg. The drive takes you to where people used to live before the area was made a national park. There is plenty of scenery and places to stop the car and tour the old homesteads.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on January 20, 2006

Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Gatlinburg, Tennessee 37738
(865) 436-1200

Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort & Amusement Park

Attraction | "Ober Gatlinburg"

Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort & Amusement Park Photo, Gatlinburg, Tennessee
Quote:
http://www.obergatlinburg.com/info.htm

The cost is $9.50 for a round-trip on the tram to get to Ober Gatlinburg from Gatlinburg. The tram car can carry 120 passengers and climbs 1,335 feet to the mountain station.

It resembles a carnival in the summer, with amusement rides that take tickets costing $2.50 each. My favorite was the Alpine Slide (two tickets), where you take a ski lift up the mountain and toboggan down the hillside. My 1-year-old daughter's favorites were the car and train rides (two tickets).

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on January 20, 2006

Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort & Amusement Park
Ski Mountain Road
Gatlinburg, Tennessee 37738

Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies

Attraction | "Ripley's Aquarium"

Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies Photo, Gatlinburg, Tennessee
Quote:
http://www.ripleysaquariumofthesmokies.com

Ages 12+ are $18, 6-11 are $10, 2-5 are $4, and under 2 are free. Our 1-year-old daughter loved this place. It is worthy of another visit.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 20, 2006

Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies
88 River Road
Gatlinburg, Tennessee 37738
(865) 430-8808