4 Exciting Downhill Thrills in the Smokies

For those in your crowd who don’t really like it tame! We have beautiful mountains to admire from afar, and certainly to hike upon (that’s a different type of thrill I’ll save for another time). We also have many rolling foothills, with action chasing that is only found where the terrain is more than horizontal. So what can you do once you are at the top of the hill? Here are four thrill-satisfying ways to reach the bottom.

1. Coast Down via a mountain coaster. There are now several of these in our area, which indicates the popularity of twisting down a mountainside strapped into a coaster seat on a smooth rail. It’s a smooth ride akin to the thrill of sledding as a kid, except your direction is determined, and your speed can be adjusted to suit your courage. Nice also that not much strength or athleticism is required, and it’s not jerky or inverted like many theme park roller coasters. As long as you can get into and out of the seat and control a braking mechanism, most of your family can enjoy this sweet rush of wind through your hair while taking in the view.
Try Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster, the original and reputable organization on Wears Valley Road, which is the closest location to your cabin in Wears Valley. The mile-plus track (the longest in the US!) is well-placed on the hill for a ride of eight minutes or so, depending on your chosen speed of descent.
2. Roll Down via sphere. For those who really like to live on the edge: would you enjoy rolling downhill in an inflated sphere with some water inside? Those manic, twisted minds that seek a wild ride will love the Outdoor Gravity Park! you and up to two buddies can take a smooth, wet ride to cool off. It is essentially a rolling “slip and slide”, for those of a certain age who understand what I’m talking about. The activity of rolling in the OGO sphere is called ZORBing. There are four tracks downhill to choose from, and each has a different experience. There are multi-roll packages, which you might as well buy, because once is not enough—trust me. It is addicting, and almost every teenager will buy into the cool factor of this activity. Preview the details here, because you gotta go—really.
3. Zip Down via cable. A little more grit and macho required? Ziplining is just your ticket. Harnesses, clips, and heights, oh my! Even if you don’t think you have a fear of heights, this activity will definitely vet any pretenders. No kidding, that first step off the platform into space and trusting the cable (and your guardian angel) to arrive safely is like NOTHING else.
Our family really enjoys Smoky Mountain Ziplines. This outfitting company truly works hard to assure you a safe and fun experience. Highly trained guides even keep jokes running to calm nerves, and are never condescending to anyone regarding ability or level of courage. Their current courses are completely engrossing, and the firm plans to open a completely new course next year with some additional unique twists found nowhere else in the area.
4. Fly down. Lastly, do you want to cover the most downhills possible in the least amount of time? I suggest changing your perspective, and getting above the hills with a helicopter ride. Who says you have to be actually on the hill? Another one of those bucket list activities, a family helicopter ride creates a memory, and is a fantastic way to get extraordinary panoramic views of just how lovely the countryside is here. This is also one of those activities that some of our customers revisit each time they come to the area—the view changes tremendously depending on the season. Find the best rides locally at Scenic Helicopter Tours.
There’s just something about sun, shorts and sweat that seeks adventure. Of course, there are other adrenaline rushes available (like the seat ride that swings you around 360 degrees in a vertical circle), but I wanted to suggest activities that are exciting, instead of wanting to make you lose your lunch. After a hard day of such play, head back to your Smoky Mountain rental cabin and relax those thrill-tensed muscles in the hot tub. Then you can begin your first round of story telling of this vacation’s adventures, whether mild or completely wild!