Adventure Town: Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Plan a long weekend getaway with our Gatlinburg adventure guide, featuring great outdoor escapes, where to stay, and where to eat.

Pop. 5,555
GPS: 35°43'N 83°31'W

Tiny Gatlinburg manages to pack a lot of touristy kitsch into its 10 square miles (26 squarer kilometers)—Ripley’s Believe It Or Not and mini-golf are mainstays—but its location at the edge of Great Smoky Mountains National Park can’t be beat: More than 521,000 acres (210,841 hectares) of peaks and forests covered with more than 800 miles (1,287 kilometers) of maintained trails are right out the door.

PLAY

Wake up early to pedal the 11-mile (18-kilometer) Cades Cove Loop Road, a favorite of experienced cyclists, and watch the sunrise over the Smokies (www.nps.gov/grsm); Cades Cove Campground Store rents bicycles for $6 an hour (http://cadescovetrading.com/). Or hike to the summit of Clingmans Dome, the highest point of the state and the Appalachian Trail, at 6,643 feet (2,025 meters) (www.clingmansdome.com).

EAT

Drive a few miles (five kilometers) northeast on scenic Highway 321 to Cosby for dinner at The Front Porch, a BYOB Mexican restaurant that has live bluegrass shows on Friday and Saturday nights (+1 423 487 2875).

Book your next trip with Peace of Mind
Search Trips

SLEEP

Bed down at the cozy Four Sisters’ Inn, just a five-minute walk from downtown (doubles from $125; http://www.gatlinburg.com/).

Read This Next

An icy world is in meltdown, amid penguin population shifts
This sacred valley could become the next national monument
This 50-year project is tracking the Cascades' melting glaciers

Go Further

Subscriber Exclusive Content

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet