Whew! After that last blog, I felt it only fair that I give a few more sane and serene alternatives to coasting, rolling, zipping, and flying downhill. If relaxing is more your style, let’s play with just a little more chill, to get in those last few laid back activities before the rush of the school year begins again.
1. Coast down slowly by car. Please do get out and about in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP)! After choosing a quiet walk, or even a moderate hike, turn your vehicle toward the climb to Newfound Gap (5048 feet above sea level). Take time to visit Clingmans Dome, the Rockefeller Memorial (for land purchase to create the national park), and soak in the scenic views from the parking area there. Then enjoy a leisurely descent back to Gatlinburg on Newfound Gap Road. It is a lovely, winding, peace-inducing (except for the driver) descent back down to town elevation. Several scenic overlooks also give you a break to stop and inhale the breathtaking sights of the scenery around you. Everyone needs to do this at least once.
2. Ride a gondola down the mountain. The Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway is itself an event to share with your family, and everyone, regardless of age or physical ability can enjoy this ride. The fully enclosed gondola cars climb Mount Harrison to the Ober Gatlinburg Ski and Amusement Resort every 20 minutes or so, depending on volume of riders. Do your best to position yourself where you can view the sweeping vistas of Gatlinburg below you as you descend from the resort back to the base station on the upper end of downtown Gatlinburg at traffic light #9. Great picture opportunities abound on clearer days, but the tram sometimes is also shrouded in fog at points along the way. You can actually pass through those clouds as the elevation down the hillside changes rapidly. The ride is a little over 2 miles long, and it’s the best mountain views available without wearing hiking boots.
3. Cross your ankles and swing your feet as you descend. Now here is a classic to our area! The Gatlinburg Skylift has been operating since 1953 in Gatlinburg at 765 Parkway. This is a great sunny day or evening activity on an open-air chairlift ride with a 1200 feet elevation change. The ride traverses Crockett Mountain to a gift shop overlook area, and (of course) an enroute souvenir photo can be purchased. But it is the ride down that is worth the price of admission. The leisurely pace gives you plenty of time to view the surrounding scenery in addition to the city of Gatlinburg sprawling through the valley below. There’s a reason it has been such a successful venue for so many years. As they say, it’s the “best seat in Gatlinburg”. Try it in the evening, for those romantics who want to catch the nighttime lights.
Welcome aboard “the ride of your life”: your choice! Quickly or at a leisurely pace, there are multitudes of ways—and reasons—to experience a memorable ride in the Great Smoky Mountains. Please make your reservation at one of our secluded Gatlinburg cabin rentals soon, by calling Volunteer Cabin Rentals today.