Each year, we make an attempt to make it out to the Great Smoky Mountains. There’s something magical about the area, driving home the need to keep revisiting our connection with nature. Whether we’re renting a cabin to catch up on some much needed rest and relaxation, camping deep in the forests that are teeming with life, or visiting the local shops to get a taste of nostalgia, we always enjoy ourselves when we make the trip.
One of our favorite places to camp is at Elkmont Campground, a short drive away from downtown Gatlinburg, but secluded enough that you would never know it. It can be a popular camping destination and tends to fill up quickly, but we’ve never found this to take away from the peacefulness of the location. Typically we’ll reserve a riverside site and fall asleep to the sounds of the rushing river throughout the night. We’re always able to sleep well when we stay here, with the added bonus of never seeing a single mosquito during our stays. Just a beautiful place to be.
This area is also filled with hiking and backpacking opportunities, with The Appalachian Trail thru-hikers trekking through the area as they make their way to Maine. We’re planning on a hiking a few sections later this year to get our feet wet and take in some of the breathtaking views, hopefully with the fog and clouds at bay.
There are an enormous amount of cabins for rent in the area. Pictured above are a few shots of the last one we stayed in. When you just want to unwind, take in a few local shows around Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, then retire to a quiet evening in a quaint vacation spot, it doesn’t get much better than having your own cabin to call home for a while.
One of our favorite places we’ve had the pleasure of visiting while in town has to be Cade’s Cove. It’s a serene ride through nature that opens up to vast meadows, which provide one of the most gorgeous sunrises we’ve ever witnessed. I highly recommend going early in the morning before it gets crowded to fully appreciate what it has to offer. There are often bears and plenty of deer on the drive, so take caution. We were lucky enough on this particular day to have the sunrise completely to ourselves.
If you’ve been or are planning to visit, please share your upcoming or previous trip plans in the comments! What are your favorite things about visiting?