the campground at cades cove

Is It Safe to Camp in the Smoky Mountains? A Local Weighs In

The Smoky Mountains are generally considered to be safe, but that doesn’t mean they are without danger I’ve been around these mountains too long to fear them. After 30 years, a body tends to be comfortable with its surroundings. And so, when people ask if the mountains are safe, I say of course they are. But that doesn’t mean there

fireflies in the night sky

The Ethereal Smoky Mountain Event So Restricted Only Few Can Attend

Each year, thousands of would-be attendees compete for the chance to attend this limited-capacity, once-in-a-lifetime light show in the Smoky Mountains The hardest ticket to obtain in the Smokies isn’t to Dollywood’s new drone show. It’s not dinner theater on the strip. Certainly, it’s not the lumberjack competition. It’s a ticket to a light show that only happens for a

clingmans dome

Surprising Things You Should Know Before Hiking Clingmans Dome

What you should know before your hike to Clingmans Dome, from a local Since Clingmans Dome has a paved trail, many people think it’s an easy trail. But my opinion? Not so fast my friend. The tower and its looping path are tricky little minxes. Some people assume the trail to Clingmans Dome in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

gregory's cave

There’s an Abandoned Tourist Cave Hidden Beneath the Smoky Mountains

Take a look at this little-known hidden cave located in the Cades Cove area of the Smoky Mountains As someone who grew up in the region, I’ve been in caves that cut under the mountains on several occasions. Places like the Forbidden or Tuckaleechee caverns offer a safe place for visitors to see the wonders of the Smokies’ cave system.

buildings in cades cove

This is How the Cades Cove Got Its Name in the Smoky Mountains

It is believed that Cades Cove is named after a real-life historical figure I can remember taking an elementary school field trip to Cades Cove back in the late 1900s. I can’t say for sure that it was my first visit because my grandparents frequently took us on weekend getaways to the Smokies, and we spent a lot of time

hiking in Gatlinburg

Is It Safe to Hike in Gatlinburg? Advice From a Local

A local talks about how to safely hike in and around Gatlinburg and recommends three of his favorite trails I’ve never had a safety issue and I’ve been around the Smoky Mountains for more than 30 years. So, I don’t think of the Smokies as dangerous. But as someone who has also lived on this planet for nearly five decades,

the ramp to clingmans dome

I’ve Hiked Dozens of Trails in the Smoky Mountains, These 3 Are the Best

These are the 3 best hikes in the Smoky Mountains according to a local When I was a teenager in the Smokies, I didn’t need a trail to go hiking. My uncles would find a pull-off in the park, point to the nearest peak and we’d race up to the top, picking our way through the brush and trees. They

grotto falls in the smoky mountains

The Magical Walk Behind Waterfall You Have to See in the Smoky Mountains

There’s a waterfall in the Smoky Mountains you can walk behind and it looks like something straight out of a fairy tale Having lived in and around the Smoky Mountains for three decades, I understand there is beauty in the park just about anywhere you look. But I also understand some places transcend beauty. For instance, there are places infused

wildslide basecamp and a man on a utv in the mountains

SNEAK PEEK: WildSide Set to Open in the Smoky Mountains in 2024

From the minds behind Anakeesta, WildSide is set to be the largest attraction in the Smoky Mountains when it opens this summer I’ve certainly seen a lot of planned attractions for someone who has covered the Smoky Mountains for nearly 25 years. Some of them live up to the hype, others falter and fail. But – if I’m being honest

gatlinburg downtown

If I Only Had One Day in Gatlinburg, this is How I’d Spend It

How to get the most out of one day in Gatlinburg, according to a local As someone who has lived near Gatlinburg for nearly 35 years, I have an advantage. I can go whenever I want. Carve out a little drive time, and I can pop in and pop back out at will. But I also know that many don’t