For believers, a trip to the mountains can be an opportunity to view the artistry of a maker who lovingly crafted a world of beauty and wonder.
And so, spending Easter in the Smoky Mountains is the perfect way to celebrate the life and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
If you’re going to be in the Smoky Mountains on Easter weekend this year – you’re in luck! With lots of fun events to choose from, we are sure you’ll make this year’s Easter vacation one to remember.
Below are our top suggestions for Easter activities and Easter events that the whole family will enjoy in Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg and the surrounding areas.
Subscribe to our newsletter for area news, coupons and discounts
7. Attend the Great Smoky Easter Arts & Crafts Show
We don’t want to paint with too broad a brush, but it’s fairly safe to say religion runs deep for the people of the mountains. So, too, does artistry.
The Easter edition of the Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Show – an annual event – is a chance to indulge in a bit of both.
The free event will feature the handcrafted work of local artists and craftspeople as well as artisans around the country. And it’s a great place to find unique gifts like jewelry, homemade baskets and authentic souvenirs from the mountains.
The show is usually held at the Gatlinburg Convention Center.
While all items may not be specifically Easter-themed, there’s usually a wide selection of Easter-appropriate arts and gifts available for purchase.
Check out our calendar for dates, times and more information.
6. Take a ride on the Bunny Hopper Express
This one will require a day trip to the North Carolina side of the Smokies – but it’s worth it. Consider it an Easter getaway within your getaway.
The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad’s Bunny Hopper Express Train returns annually around Easter weekend.
This 4.5-hour round-trip departs from the Bryson City Depot at 10:30 am each day of the event.
The event includes an Easter egg hunt with prizes, an Easter treat and plenty of opportunities for photos.
Ticket prices range from $38-$79 per person and can be purchased online or by calling 800-872-4681.
5. Have breakfast at Ripley’s Bunny Breakfast
Here’s a rain-proof way to celebrate the Easter holiday.
Ripley’s Aquarium hosts an annual breakfast with the Easter bunny alongside an Easter egg scavenger hunt.
Tickets to this popular event include early admission to the aquarium, a full meal (including pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausage, fresh fruit, coffee and juices), a souvenir photo with the Easter bunny, an egg-laying animal encounter and a gift from Kinder Joy (the event sponsor).
Admission is good for the day.
Visit Ripley’s website for more information or to purchase tickets.
4. Take the kids to Pigeon Forge’s annual Easter egg hunt
For those who wish to stay in town, head on over to Wear Farm City Park for Pigeon Forge’s annual Easter egg hunt.
This park serves as an athletic complex when it’s not home base for the Easter bunny, who will hide eggs in each of the four fields in the cloverleaf formation.
The event is free for kids between 0-12. Check the city website for this year’s details.
3. Easter Sunrise Service at Ober Mountain
Start your day with the Easter Sunday Sunrise Service at Ober Mountain – a Smoky Mountain tradition.
The symbolism of rising to worship as the sun dawns on a new day is powerful.
Annually, Ober Mountain (formerly known as Ober Gatlinburg) hosts a service from the top of Mt. Harrison.
The 30-40-minute mountain service begins at 6:30 am and is led by local pastors of the Gatlinburg Ministerial Association.
Ober Gatlinburg will provide guests with free tram rides to the service beginning at 5 am and continuing every 15 minutes until 6:30 am.
Complimentary parking at Ober Gatlinburg will be provided for those who drive. The service is held indoors in the event of inclement weather.
Check the events page for details on this year’s service.
2. Watch the sunrise at Clingmans Dome
While an organized sunrise service is great, it can also be especially moving to take in the sunrise in private.
While sunrises are beautiful anywhere in the mountains, the highest place in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the absolute best place to watch the sun come up.
With a clear view to the east, you can watch as the sun illuminates the misty mountains below. It’s a majestic sight and one of God’s true wonders.
It’s a perfect place to celebrate the resurrection in peace and a great way to practice a bit of quiet reflection.
1. Visit Cades Cove
Spend Easter thinking about the generations of mountain people who lived in Cades Cove.
This year, visit one of the churches inside the Cove.
The Primitive Baptist Church, the Missionary Baptist Church and the Methodist Church have their rustic mountain charms.
Walk among the graves of parishioners, hear the echoes of their footsteps on the old wooden floors and then get outside into God’s Glory.
Take a walk through the fields among the spring wildflowers or down by one of the babbling mountain streams. But remember, now you will need to pay for a parking tag if you plan to be outside of your car for more than 15 minutes.
What are you planning for Easter this year? Let us know in the comments below!