Wednesday, October 21, 2020

What to do in the Great Smoky Mountains

TheGreatSmokyMountains_SydneysFashionDiary Happy Tuesday, everyone! Finally had a chance sit down and go through some of the pictures we took while in TN back in August. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the most beautiful places on earth. There is no doubt that it is even more beautiful in the Fall. We spent a week there and it wasn't enough even though we were out and doing things everyday. I reviewed the cabin that we rented for the week here. If you're curious about what we did, keep reading.

1. Horseback Riding: I asked Madelyn if there is one thing that she would like to do on this trip and she said horseback riding. We made sure that happened. After searching around, we went with Cades Cove Riding Stables. We called ahead since we had 10 people in our group but they do not take reservations. The stable opens at 9:00. The process was seamless and everyone was ready to go within 30 minutes. It was the first time horseback riding for most of our family. My 7 year old daughter rode by herself and I was never concerned. Guide was informative, funny and kind. The ride was about 1 hour through the woods. It was very peaceful and enjoyable. It was definitely one of the highlights of the trip. Outfit details: Leggings | White top | Sunglasses | Denim jacketHorsebackRidingCadesCove_SydneysFashionDiary2. Cades Cove Scenic Drive: You can't visit the Smokies without taking a drive through Cades Cove. It is a beautiful scenic 11-mile loop in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Definitely one of the must-sees if you're in the area. Cades Cove has so much history. Scattered along the loop road are churches, a working grist mill, barns, log houses, and many other restored eighteenth and nineteenth century structures and a few old cemeteries. This is the best place in the park for wildlife viewing. We spotted deer, turkey, squirrels and even a black bear. It is a wonderful place to relax and enjoy a drive though nature.

TheGreatSmokyMountains_SydneysFashionDiary CadesCove_SydneysFashionDiary 3. Hike to Abrams Falls: We came back to Cades Cove the next day to hike to the Abrams Falls. It is a 5-mile round trip and takes about 2.5 hours. The hike was rated as "moderate" and it was difficult in places. Madelyn was a trooper. It was a tough hike for her but she did it. Lots of slopes and even tears but well worth it to see the falls at the end. The waterfall is beautiful and the water is clear as crystal. Take plenty of water, snacks, and a pair of decent hiking shoes if you decide to take this hike.AbramsFalls_SydneysFashionDiary CadesCove_SydneysFashionDiary 4. Ziplining and white water rafting: The next activity on our list was ziplining and white water rafting. You can buy a package to do both on the same day. My kids had a blast ziplining through the woods. It was so much fun. As for the white water rafting, there are 2 levels: the upper river and the lower river. We all wanted to do the upper level but Madelyn is not old/heavy enough to do so. We had to split into 2 groups. We ended up taking the lower river route so she can participate (it was pretty uneventful). The rest of the group did the upper river route and they had so much fun. Outfit details: Biker shorts | Tie-dye shirt | Sneakers | Sunglasses | Straw visorZipliningGatlinburg_SydneysFashionDiary 5. Hike to Clingman's Dome: This is a great place to hike up to if you want a great view of the Smokies. About 1 hour drive outside of Pigeon Forge. It's the highest point in Tennessee. There is a pretty big parking lot with great views. Even though the trail is only 0.5 mile from the parking lot to the top, it is very steep and may be difficult for small children or adults with health issues. You'll gain 332 feet during the short hike. Totally worth the drive and steep walk for the amazing view! We got there just in time for sunset. Totally worth the drive and steep walk for the amazing view! Madelyn's outfit details: Overalls | SneakersClingmansDome_SydneysFashionDiary 6. Visit Dollywood: If you have young kid(s), this is a fun place to visit. It is a little smaller than some other amusement parks that I have visited but the rides were exciting and the park was well maintained. Very good hygiene practices! Everyone has their temperature taken and answers some questions before they can enter. Due to Covid-19, distancing was adhered to by staff and most guests as well as masks. Staff spray disinfectant on rides after each session. There is something for everyone in the family to enjoy. If you go, don't forget to stop by The Grist Mill for a loaf of cinnamon bread. It's seriously to die for =) 

7. Visit the Gatlinburg Skybridge: Another activity not to be missed. It costs $20 per adult ticket but you can ride as many times as you would like. It's expensive for what it is but you have to do at least once if you're in Gatlinburg. It's the best view of the city. If you're going to do this, I highly recommend you do it at night. My camera ran out of battery when we got there so I don't have any pictures to share. Walking across the bridge was definitely an experience. The views were amazing at night! Outfit details: Denim shorts | Bodysuit | Sunglasses | Leopard sweater | Backpack | Sneakers | Adidas visorDollywood_SydneysFashionDiary Dollywood_SydneysFashionDiary
There you have it! Hope you find this post helpful. All in all, it was a wonderful trip with friends and family. There is something about the mountains that is so peaceful and surreal. We will definitely be back soon. A few places on my list that I didn't get to go: Roaring Fork, ATV tour and Laurel falls trail.

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