Friday, July 3, 2020
This morning we packed up, left Nashville, and drove across Tennessee. We arrived this afternoon in the Great Smoky Mountains. We have seen very little so far but what we have seen is beautiful.
We are staying on the south side of Pigeon Forge at Alpine Hideaway Campground. It’s a quaint little campground that has full hook-up sites and still gives us easy access into Great Smoky Mountain National Park. If you are not familiar with the area (as I was not before we started planning this trip) Sevierville, Pigeon Forge, and Gatlinburg are popular tourist towns that are just outside the National Park. All three of them are basically side by side, each with a slightly different feel than the other. We chose Pigeon Forge because it was the only place we could find an available full hook-up campground, all the others were booked. I love to travel in the camper but I also love having all the comforts of home so full hook-up is a must!!
We arrived around 3pm this afternoon, which left us plenty of time to explore a bit. We were hungry for pizza so we found a pizzeria in Gatlinburg and chose to explore the town. We went to Big Daddy’s Pizzeria. We had to try it just so we could send a picture to our Big Daddy back home. The pizza was delicious and energized us to go see what else Gatlinburg had to offer.
Gatlinburg is a great town to walk through to explore. I do not suggest driving. The main drag was bumper to bumper traffic the entire time we were there. We were grateful we had left the truck parked at the pizzeria and chose to walk everywhere. Is it a tourist trap?…yes. Is it worth seeing?…yes. If you are looking for a place to entertain the family for several days, you could easily do so here. There are a lot of cute shops, plenty of souvenir shops, and more than enough tourist attractions to have your kids driving you crazy asking “can we do that?”.
One touristy thing I had told Johnny I wanted to do was the Gatlinburg Skylift Park. It’s a ski lift that takes you up a mountain. At the top there is a pedestrian suspension bridge complete with a glass bottom section that takes you across a ravine. It most definitely lived up to my expectations. The tickets allow you to have access to go up and down the Skylift as many times as you want for the entire day. We ended up going up twice, once right after dinner and once as the sun was setting after we had walked through town. Logan, Macy and I thought it was fantastic. Noah and Johnny are my guys who like to keep their feet on the ground so they were not quite as impressed. Noah yelled with fear all the way across the bridge and he thought the glass bottom was “not necessary”, LOL! Of course, Noah also made a new friend at the top of the lift, a random kid who was also scared of the bridge. He can make friends everywhere we go.
I was actually a bit shocked at the crowds walking through Gatlinburg. It was crazier than Disney!!! Maybe it’s because it is a holiday weekend. I thought Gatlinburg was a neat town. I’m sure we’ll be visiting it more while we’re here, and we still have to explore Pigeon Forge, but I am ready to find some nature tomorrow. We came here to hike and bike the National Park, these gateway towns are definitely a bonus.
Tomorrow, the plan is to bike the Gatlinburg Trail, find a waterfall or two, and finish up the day with a trip floating the rapids of the Pigeon River.