Don’t you just love (someone else’s) drama? Or do you sometimes endure a little melodramatic flair from someone in your traveling party? After snuggling into the sofa of your Wears Valley cabin to relax and watch an exciting dramatic movie, why not make the storyline more personal, and take on some downhill action of your own making? There are plenty of hills in the Smokies to get you off the horizontal plane. Let’s look at over a dozen ways to head downhill: fast or slow, controlled or not, on purpose, just for fun.
1. Drive from Clingmans Dome to Gatlinburg down Newfound Gap Road. Several suggestions on this list involve your vehicle, and this one is the most logical. Start at the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and make your way back. It’s a gorgeous 25 mile tour.
2. Navigate the road to your rental cabin. Those great views often are located at the summit of a hill, which requires the climb and the fun descent back down to civilization,. If steep rural roads are not on your agenda, check with our customer service personnel regarding your accommodation selection. We have many cabins for all levels of vehicular bravery.
3. Drive down Ski Mountain Road in Gatlinburg. This, of course, involves climbing the mountain first, and there are other downhill opportunities at Ober Gatlinburg at the top (more on that later). A few tips to navigate this curvy, steep, 3-mile length of road well: fair weather only, low gear (or your brakes can overheat), and please allow locals behind you on their way to work to pass by your joyride.
4 through 6. Ski, slide, or tram downhill from Ober Gatlinburg. Seasonal snow skiing, boarding and tubing goes without saying to lovers of those sports. The Alpine Slide is a classic dry trough bobsled-type ride that parents and children can enjoy together. The Ober Gatlinburg Tramway gets my vote for the best view of any downhill journey in the area, though it is a slow and sometimes rather crowded journey. Think ahead to position yourself strategically to get the best standing view spot during your ride.
7. Ride the Sky Lift in downtown Gatlinburg. This retro classic chairlift ride can be easily overlooked since it’s not a speed thriller nor painted some obnoxious neon color. On a pretty weather day, this can be a pleasant way to overlook the city of Gatlinburg nestled in the foothills, as you ride up to a gift shop at the top and back down.
8. Go Horseback Riding among the trees. Though not all of the riding stables trek hilly terrain, some do-just ask. If you don’t spend much time on horseback, it’s a unique and fresh way to view the hillsides.
9. Sluice down the Splash Country River Rush Water Coaster. Yes, it’s a better ride downhill if you’re wet. Hydromagnetic is the technical term for the only water coaster in Tennessee. Four stories high, and four drops along the way. Twists, turns, tunnels, and water. Let’s just say the scenery is not the point here! Check out the POV video of this sweet ride here:
10. Choose your speed of descent on the Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster. New to the area in 2013, you will want to ride this more than once, guaranteed. This one gets my favorite vote. Self-propelled uphill, and speed-controlled by you coming down, this smooth ride is a do not miss.
11. Experience ZORB. My vote for the most outrageous downhill spin (teenagers, anyone?) is this inflated, double-walled sphere, with water inside (or dry). You ride inside the ball as it rolls down a rather steep 700 foot incline. Only you can choose whether that excites or nauseates you. I promise you it will do at least one of those, if not both. Many do this so they can say they did, if you know what I mean. Take a look here:
12 and then some. Now try trail hiking, ziplining, Dollywood rollercoasters, or just picking a random mountain road going somewhere unknown. That’s what is so superb about the Great Smoky Mountains area! You can pick an activity as simple as going downhill, and easily find more than a dozen ways to do it. Like trying to choose your favorite ice cream flavor, the joy is in the experimenting. I’ve given you options; now it’s up to you to make your personal family plan.
Let us know here at Volunteer Cabin Rentals what your favorite downhill adventure choice is. Better yet, come back again, and make sure to try them all!