Several months ago visited Dollywood, however, lacked the time to see other attractions in the area. Decided another Pigeon Forks/Gatlinburg visit was needed. This area has a wealth of things to do. It is the Orlando of Tennessee. For a family vacation is it a wonderful place to bring kids as besides the usual miniature golf, there are a number of other activities such as escape rooms to keep children intrigued. Plan ahead, or stop at the Visitor Center for more information.
As my trek neared Pigeon Forge passed through a section of The Great Smoky Mountains.
What a phenomenal place! And to think I almost bypassed the visit. A must see.
Suggestions for the visit..
Buy tickets on line
Arrive early, they open at 9 a.m.
Get literature on the Park, review it.
Bring a water bottle.
Park in the lot near the venue.
Enjoy, it’s the experience of a lifetime.
Up, Up, and Away……
The visit begins with a trek to the top of the mountain. This is done via an open chair lift, an enclosed chondola, or for those elevation fearful, a bus ride. The chair lift ride takes 20 minutes.
Once off the lift flowers surround and abound. The Park is a Garden of Eden developed as the brainchild of landscape architects. And all these gardens have the backdrop of the Smoky Mountains to enhance the floral beauty even more. I’ve traveled the world but never saw such a beautiful garden.
Continue down the brick path to..
At the top of the garden walk is Anavista Tower. Built in 2020, this 60 foot structure of organic wood and steel was built on the highest point of the mountain. Walking up stop at every level and enjoy the view as each level affords a different vista.
After walking down from the Tower follow the path to enjoy other sites.
And check out the side view of wildflowers and mountains as you sit in the many rocking chairs in open and covered areas.
Don’t miss the wood cutter along this path,
Memorial Forest Walk – At the base of the Garden are signs describing the Smoky Mountain fire of November 28, 2016, when 14 lives were lost as well as thousands of forest acreage. It is a sad tale, however, it also describes the courage and resilience of the Tennessee people. Take some moments to read, reflect, and honor.
The Children’s Area
Let’s look at the obstacle courses here. They are only for the strong, so make sure you are before starting these. In some instances the only way out is through.
The Treetop Skywalk
In closing, other rides and amenities..
The Rail Runner Mountain Coaster – This single rail coaster speeds down the mountain at close to 25 mph. Many were in line signing up for this one. Another fun event.
Ate at this Mexican restaurant in downtown Gatlinburg, and it was yummy. While it was 95 degrees during my visit, enjoyed the upstairs view over the street and the heat tolerable from my perch. Service was impeccable and sangria sublime.
Caught the ambience of the main dining room when departing. Too cute..
And who couldn’t get a laugh from this donkey’s message??
What a surprise this area was. Restaurants, shops, and activities galore for one and all.
However, much traffic
and expensive parking. Most lots charged a base rate of $20, OUTRAGEOUS, but I found a deal at a local Catholic Church, St. Mary’s, just down the street from the Conference Center and Space Needle. Five dollars cash using an envelope system and you can park, leave, and return – Mother Mary was watching over me.
On to the visit, there is a trolley in the area for transport. Here’s one of their stops.
Many restaurants with great variety..
And interesting things to do..
There were many freebies and samplings offered.
And for those who don’t want to pay those parking fees, book a room along the retail area.
There were numerous shops of all types in the area. This was my favorite mini mall as it reminded me of Europe..