3 Fun Day Trips from Gatlinburg You Don’t Want to Miss

A car driving along Newfound Gap Road in the Smoky Mountains.

Although there are plenty of wonderful sights and attractions to see in Gatlinburg, it can also be fun to take a day to explore the surrounding area! While staying at Chalet Village, you are just a short drive from several fantastic attractions in the outlying areas! So hop in the car, buckle up and hit the road for these 3 fun day trips from Gatlinburg:

1. Great Smoky Mountain Railroad

Enjoy a pleasant 90-minute drive through the mountains to North Carolina for an excursion on the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad! Choose from one of two scenic rail trips that take you from a historic train station in Bryson City through the gorgeous countryside of western North Carolina. The Nantahala Gorge Excursion is a 4.5-hour ride that travels for 44 miles to and from the Nantahala Gorge where you can enjoy a 1-hour layover exploring the Nantahala Outdoor Center, while the Tuckasegee River Excursion is a peaceful 4-hour ride through the countryside to and from the small town of Dillsboro. There are a variety of train options available, including an authentic steam-powered train with a historic locomotive that dates back to 1942!

Clingmans Dome Observation Tower2. Clingmans Dome Observation Tower

For another one of the top day trips from Gatlinburg, head to the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park at Clingmans Dome! At 6,643 feet, this mountain is also the highest point in Tennessee and the third tallest mountain east of the Mississippi. There is an observation tower on the summit that can be reached by a steep half-mile walk, but the stunning views of the Smokies are well worth the effort! The temperatures on the mountain can be 10 to 20 degrees cooler than the surrounding lowlands, so be sure to bring a jacket even in the summer months! To reach Clingmans Dome, head south from Gatlinburg on Route 441 for about 15 miles, then turn right onto Clingmans Dome Road and drive 6 miles. Allow about 45 minutes of travel time each way to make the trip.

3. Whitewater Rafting at Smoky Mountain Outdoors

Enjoy an exciting whitewater rafting adventure on the Pigeon River at Smoky Mountain Outdoors! This popular outdoor adventure has several raft trips, including a thrilling 6.5-mile Upper River excursion down class 3 and 4 rapids and a calmer Lower River excursion that is perfect for families with children younger than 8. You can also purchase a rafting package that includes both the upper and lower portions of the Pigeon River if you just can’t decide which one to do! If you prefer to kayak, challenge yourself on a fantastic whitewater adventure with a guided inflatable kayak trip from Smoky Mountain Outdoors. The company’s rafting outpost is situated only about 22 miles from Gatlinburg, and they have a convenient ticketing office located in town at 103 Silverbell Lane, Gatlinburg, TN 37738.

Check out all of our cabins in the Smoky Mountains today to enjoy these fun day trips from Gatlinburg and everything else that the Smokies have to offer! We hope to see you soon at Chalet Village!