Top 5 Tips for Hiking in the Smokies

Hiking in the Smokies

We have hundreds of attractions in East Tennessee – from Sevier County and Knox County to Cocke County and Blount County, it would take years to see all there is to see and do here – but for all the many awesome things we have to do, nothing in the Smoky Mountains are more exhilarating to experience than Hiking in the Smoky Mountains themselves. It’s not news that the National Park and its sprawling area is the major reason people, and probably you yourself, have come here for almost a full century of tourism, but it might be news to you that the Smoky Mountains are THE most visited national park in the country with millions that visit and revisit each year just to see the wonders our forests, ridges and glens at their most untouched; practically the same as they have looked and operated since way before our European ancestors came here to settle.

And what is the best way to experience the Smokies at their very finest? With the dozens of hiking trails we have, of course! There’s so many places to walk, climb and gaze out at from a very high point of the mountain that some former visitors actually move here JUST so they can get all the hiking they want out of it. To make Sevier County your permanent residence is the closest you can get to getting your fill of the National Park, the waterfalls, the wildlife and special events we have for it and we recommend everyone who visits our area take some time to experience it before leaving.

In this article, we’d like to list out our best tips for those interested in going to any of the hiking trails we have here. This information will be highly valuable and virtually required reading before starting any hiking venture in the Smokies. Let’s begin:

 

  1. Purchase a Hiking Guide

At several welcome centers, hiking stores and even gift shops in town are a plethora of hiking books that are easily available. These books come with necessary hard information about the trails – such as length, difficulty, and even warnings about certain areas inexperienced hikers will have trouble with – but also fun information on sights, landmarks and historical anecdotes. Many come with maps of and to trails and many other pictoral references so you can get a visual on what to expect. Very much recommended.

 

  1. Visit the Sugarlands Visitor Center

From the Spur in Gatlinburg (as going to Gatlinburg from Pigeon Forge), you can turn onto Newfound Gap road and drive for a little while until you reach a large complex up in the mountains. This is the National Park Headquarters for the Tennessee Smokies and, next to it, is the Sugarlands Visitor Center where folks can learn all about the Smokies with onsite maps, information, museum exhibits, learning tools, video and a giant bookstore among other worthwhile items. The Visitor Center also has its own famous hiking trail and another nature walking trail right there, making Sugarlands anything from a hiking pitstop to a full day’s worth of nature fun in the mountains. See more on Sugarlands at https://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/visitorcenters.htm

 

  1. For Simplicity, Stick to Highway 441

On the subject of Newfound Gap (which is also known as Highway 441), those of you who are looking to have a bunch of trail options available in the most efficient way possible should plan to stick to this one road as it contains quite a few awesome trails that don’t require complicated directions once you get on. From just one-hour’s drive on this highway, you can find:

 

* Sugarlands Visitor Center

* Mingus Mill

* Bradely Fork Trail

* Clingman’s Dome

* Newfound Gap

* Collins Creek

* Chimney Tops Trail

* Oconaluftee Visitor Center (Cherokee, North Carolina)

 

And more along the trails once you get there! If you prefer to keep the driving simple, 441 is about as efficient as you can get for a good section of hiking activities.

 

  1. Take The Right Precautions

As much fun as the Smokies are to hike, those who are not fully prepared for hiking in Appalachia may run risks that can easily be avoided. These risks go from inconvenience and lack of comfort to possible dangers with regards to staying hydrated, having the right footwear for climbing miles of mountain trails that are slick from the climate, having light sources as the trails are often covered and can get dark quickly, and finally a first aid kit for the low but still real chance injuries could be incurred while on the trail. Have hiking boots or very sturdy shoes on your feet that are slip resistant, pack a light jacket in case the weather turns or the temperature change becomes uncomfortable, keep your bag organized with first aid kits, water, snacks and a guide at least. KEEP HYDRATED! We can’t emphasize that enough.

 

  1. Take Pictures, Leave Footprints

The Smoky Mountains are a delicate ecosystem that exist as it does thanks to the concerned efforts of visitors and committees. As freely available as the National Park is made for all, you are not to take, mark or molest anything; not the wildlife, not the plants, not the tiny little ants. If you see a bear, do NOT approach it and DO NOT FEED IT. Same with the other animals. Use the bathroom at designated restrooms and do not litter the trails. Consideration on your part means another group will thoroughly enjoy their hike. That is the cycle of life in our parts and we mean to keep it that way!

 

Pancake Houses in the Smoky Mountains

Breakfast is often the most skipped meal for people in the United States, and besides what that says about our nutritional health, it’s also rather sad in the philosophical sense as breakfast contains some of the best things mankind ever committed to cuisine. Thankfully, the chances to get reacquainted with breakfast are far better in one’s favor when on vacation and that’s just one of many reasons to visit the Smoky Mountains for your next family getaway.

As you might guess in a mountain region where Winter makes up more than a third of the year, our favorite type of breakfast are pancakes and everything that surrounds them – waffles, crepes, french toast, the works! We have many pancake houses in Pigeon Forge, Sevierville, Gatlinburg and the areas that surround them and pretty much every single one of them we can recommend you should make some plans to eat at during your stay.

 

Take a look:

 

Reagan’s House of Pancakes

2820 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

(865) 428-0652

VIEW MENU 


 

Red Rooster Pancake House

3215 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

(865) 428-3322


 

Smoky Mountain Pancake House

4050 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

(865) 453-6746


 

Reagan’s Broken egg Pancake House

3516 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

(865) 453-4600


 

Denny’s

  • 2480 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863 – (865) 428-2411
  • 3716 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863 – (865) 774-5047

 

Flapjack’s Pancake Cabin

  • 1016 Parkway, Sevierville, TN 37862 – (865) 774-5374
  • 2734 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863 – (865) 908-6115
  • 478 E. Parkway, Hwy 321, Gatlinburg, TN 37738 – (865) 430-3966
  • 956 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738 – (865) 436-2387

 

Frizzle Chicken Pancake House

2785 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

(865) 774-7707


 

Sawyer’s Farmhouse Breakfast

2831 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

(865) 366-1090


 

Ihop

  • 3636 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863 – (865) 429-2335
  • 1802 Parkway, Sevierville, TN 37862 – (865) 429-3925

 


 

Atrium Pancakes

432 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738

(865) 430-3684

 


 

The Pancake Pantry

628 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738

(865) 436-4724

VIEW MENU  


 

Log Cabin Pancake House

327 Historic Nature Trail, Gatlinburg, TN 37738

(865) 436-7894

VIEW MENU


Crockett’s Breakfast Camp

1103 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738

(865) 325-1403

VIEW MENU


 

Little House of Pancakes

807 East Pkwy, Gatlinburg, TN 37738

(865) 436-8784

VIEW MENU  


 

Waffle House

3949 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863 – (865) 286-9831

256 Winfield Dunn Pkwy, Sevierville, TN 37876 – (865) 428-2708

VIEW MENU

 

You’ll find all your favorites and dozens of different types of pancakes and topping/breakfast combinations than you even knew existed with these recommendations. Perfect for a cold early morning start before family fun action or one last burst of vacation before heading back home!

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Smoky Mountain Restaurants Expected to be Open on Christmas Eve:

Alamo Steakhouse

3050 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

(865) 908-9998

 

705 East Pkwy, Gatlinburg, TN 37738

(865) 436-9998

 


Asian Fusion Cafe

2528 McGill St, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

(865) 453-5587


Bennett’s Pit Bar-B-Que

2910 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

(865) 429-2200

 

714 River Rd, Gatlinburg, TN 37738

(865) 436-2400


 

Big Daddy’s Pizzeria

1820 Parkway, Sevierville, TN 37862

(865) 908-1123

 

3053 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

(865) 429-7171

 

714 River Rd, Gatlinburg, TN 37738

(865) 436-5455


Blue Moose Burgers & Wings

2430 Teaster Ln # 108, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

(865) 286-0364


Bullfish Grill

2441 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

(865) 868-1000


Captain Jim’s Seafood Buffet

3985 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

(865) 453-0003


Cheddar’s Casual Cafe

3240 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

(865) 908-9555


China 1 Buffet

3909 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

(865) 428-6688

 

739 Dolly Parton Pkwy, Sevierville, TN 37862

(865) 453-8282


Cieliton Lindo Mexican Restaurant

3965 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

(865) 774-2332


Corky’s Ribs and BBQ

3584 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

(865) 453-7427


 

Cracker Barrel

2285 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

(865) 908-4459

 

3960 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

(865) 428-4613


 

Denny’s

2480 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

(865) 428-2411

 

3716 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

(865) 774-5047


 

Dick’s Last Resort

131 The Island Dr #9118, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

(865) 280-1744

 

903 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738

(865) 277-6953


 

Domino’s Pizza

2888 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

(865) 429-1818

 

951 E Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738

(865) 436-2020


 

Firehouse Subs

2726 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

(865) 365-1099

 

209 Middle Creek Rd, Sevierville, TN 37862

(865) 365-1173


 

Flapjack’s Pancake Cabin

1016 Parkway, Sevierville, TN 37862

(865) 774-5374

 

2734 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

(865) 908-6115


 

Geno’s Pizza

385 East Pkwy, Gatlinburg, TN 37738

(865) 430-9300

 

2631 Parkway #3, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

(865) 428-2496


 

Golden Corral

3610 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

(865) 453-1827


 

Hard Rock Cafe

2050 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

(865) 430-7625


 

Honey Baked Hams

2740 Teaster Ln #121, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

(865) 429-4267


 

Huck Finn’s Restaurant

3330 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

(865) 429-3353


IHOP

3636 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

(865) 429-2335

 

1802 Parkway, Sevierville, TN 37862

(865) 429-3925


 

Iron Boar Saloon

104 Waldens Main St, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

(865) 429-7779


 

J.T. Hannah’s

3214 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

(865) 428-4200


 

Jersey Mike’s Subs

2656 Parkway #2, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

(865) 774-3232


 

Local Goat Tavern

2167 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

(865) 366-3035


 

Mama’s Farmhouse Restaurant

208 Pickel St, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

(865) 908-4646


 

Mel’s Diner

119 Wears Valley Rd, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

(865) 429-2184

http://melsdinerpf.com/

 

* Mellow Mushroom

131 The Island Dr #3101, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

(865) 286-3800

 

2485 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

(865) 286-2229

 

903 Parkway Ste 103, Gatlinburg, TN 37738

(865) 277-0600

https://mellowmushroom.com

 

* No Way Jose’s Mexican Restaurant

555 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738

(865) 430-5673

 

104 Waldens Main St, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

(865) 429-7779

http://nowayjosescantina.com/

 

* Old Mill Pottery House Cafe and Grill

3341 Old Mill St, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

(865) 453-6002

http://www.old-mill.com

 

* Old Mill Restaurant

164 Old Mill Ave, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

(865) 429-3463

http://www.old-mill.com

 

* Papa John’s Pizza

3152 Parkway #14, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

(865) 428-7600

https://www.papajohns.com

 

* Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen

131 The Island Dr #8101, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

(865) 366-1510

https://pauladeensfamilykitchen.com/

 

* Paula Deen’s The Bag Lady

131 The Island Dr, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

(865) 366-3004

https://islandinpigeonforge.com

 

* Pigeon Forge Deli & Coffee Shop

159 E Wears Valley Rd #13, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

(865) 908-3713

http://www.pigeonforgedeli.com/

 

* Shoney’s

3164 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

(865) 453-1806

 

3885 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

(865) 428-3440

http://www.shoneysknox.com/

 

* Smokies Cuban Cafe

3526 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

(865) 365-1700

 

* Texas Roadhouse

180 Collier Dr, Sevierville, TN 37862

(865) 908-4140

 

3786 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

(865) 286-1543

 

1019 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738

(865) 430-4284

https://www.texasroadhouse.com

 

* TGIFridays

1503 Parkway, Sevierville, TN 37862

(865) 429-8443

 

2794 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

(865) 453-1750

 

959 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738

(865) 436-8443

https://www.tgifridays.com

 

* Timberwood Grill At The Island

131 The Island Dr #1101, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

(865) 286-0600

https://timberwoodgrillpf.com/

 

* Waffle House

3949 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

(865) 286-9831

https://locations.wafflehouse.com/tn-pigeon-forge-2113

 

* Wood Grill Buffet

2301 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

(865) 429-3120

http://woodgrillbuffet.com/pigeon-forge/

 

Smoky Mountain Restaurants Expected to be Open on Christmas Day:

 

* Asian Fusion Cafe

2528 McGill St, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

(865) 453-5587

https://www.asianfusioncafe.com

 

* Captain Jim’s Seafood Buffet

3985 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

(865) 453-0003

http://www.captainjimsseafoodbuffet.com/

 

* China 1 Buffet

3909 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

(865) 428-6688

 

739 Dolly Parton Pkwy, Sevierville, TN 37862

(865) 453-8282

http://china116.barabatistadium.co/

 

* Corky’s Ribs and BBQ

3584 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

(865) 453-7427

http://corkysbbqpf.com/

 

* Denny’s

2480 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

(865) 428-2411

 

3716 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

(865) 774-5047

https://www.dennys.com

 

* Flapjack’s Pancake Cabin

1016 Parkway, Sevierville, TN 37862

(865) 774-5374

 

2734 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

(865) 908-6115

http://flapjacks.com/

 

* Geno’s Pizza

385 East Pkwy, Gatlinburg, TN 37738

(865) 430-9300

 

2631 Parkway #3, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

(865) 428-2496

http://genospizza.com/

 

* Golden Corral

3610 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

(865) 453-1827

http://www.goldencorral.com/

 

* Hard Rock Cafe

2050 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

(865) 430-7625

http://www.hardrock.com/cafes/pigeon-forge/

 

* IHOP

3636 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

(865) 429-2335

 

1802 Parkway, Sevierville, TN 37862

(865) 429-3925

https://restaurants.ihop.com/tn/sevierville/486/

 

* Iron Boar Saloon

104 Waldens Main St, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

(865) 429-7779

http://ironboarsaloon.com/#.T2DxoxGPVbw

 

* J.T. Hannah’s

3214 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

(865) 428-4200

http://jthannahs.com/

 

* No Way Jose’s Mexican Restaurant

555 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738

(865) 430-5673

 

* Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen

131 The Island Dr #8101, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

(865) 366-1510

https://pauladeensfamilykitchen.com/

 

* Reagan’s Broken Egg Pancake House

3516 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

(865) 453-4600

http://reaganshouseofpancakes.com/

 

* Reagan’s House of Pancakes

2820 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

(865) 428-0652

http://reaganshouseofpancakes.com/

 

* Smoky Mountain Pancake House

4050 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

(865) 453-6746

http://collierrestaurantgroup.com/smoky-mountain-pancake-house/

 

* TGIFridays

1503 Parkway, Sevierville, TN 37862

(865) 429-8443

 

2794 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

(865) 453-1750

 

959 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738

(865) 436-8443

https://www.tgifridays.com

 

* Waffle House

3949 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

(865) 286-9831

https://locations.wafflehouse.com/tn-pigeon-forge-2113

 

* Wild Bear Pancake House

4236 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

(865) 453-3530

 

* Wood Grill Buffet

2301 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

(865) 429-3120

http://woodgrillbuffet.com/pigeon-forge/

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