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.
In the mountains, a finger of light poking through the clouds, spotlighting a swath of green canopy can be a holy thing.
And so, spending Easter in the mountains is the perfect way to celebrate the life and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
This year, the Easter holiday falls on April 17, 2022.
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.
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-to-the-public show 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 and authentic souvenirs from the mountains.
This year, the show will run from April 13-16 from 10 am-5 pm daily 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.
6. Take a ride on the Bunny Hopper Express
This one might 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 for the 2022 season on April 15-16.
This 4.5-hour round-trip departs from the Bryson City Depot at 10:30 am each day of the event.
The route travels along the Nantahala Gorge River and transports passengers to a beautifully decorated Easter-themed destination where they can partake in activities such as egg hunts and photo-ops with train-hopping bunnies.
Tickets range from $33-$89 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.
On Saturday, April 16, Ripley’s Aquarium will be offering breakfast with the Easter Bunny alongside an Easter egg scavenger hunt.
Tickets to this popular event include early admission to the Aquarium Saturday morning, 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.
The event starts at 8 am and breakfast will be served until 9 am.
Tickets range from $59.99 (for kids under 11) to $79.99 (for adults).
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 year’s hunt will be held on Saturday, April 16 at 11 am.
The 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.
Each field will be for a designated age group. The event is free for kids between 0-12.
3. Easter Sunrise Service at Ober Gatlinburg
Start your day with the Easter Sunday Sunrise Service at Ober Gatlinburg – a Smoky Mountain tradition.
The symbolism of rising to worship as the sun dawns on a new day is powerful.
Each year, Ober Gatlinburg hosts a service from the top of Mt. Harrison.
The 30-40-minute mountain service will begin at 6:30 am and be 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 will be held in the Ober Gatlinburg Upper Tramway Mall if the weather is bad.
A breakfast buffet will be available at Ober Gatlinburg’s Seasons of Ober Restaurant from 7:15 am-10:30 am. Breakfast for adults will be $14.95 plus tax, children 5-11 will be $12.95 plus tax and children under 4 eat free.
Prices do not include drinks.
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.
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.
What are you planning for Easter this year? Let us know in the comments!