Getting outside is one of the best reasons to vacation in Gatlinburg, and while there are so many remarkable sights in the Smokies, we wanted to highlight two awe inspiring spots that can make your trip unforgettable. One of the best parts of visiting these natural landmarks is that you can enjoy them absolutely free.
Enjoy this beautiful area in Great Smoky Mountains National Park that features two trailheads, the Porters Creek trail and the Ramsey Cascades trail. We encourage you to visit soon as you'll get here during peak wildflower season. Learn more about wildflowers in the park from the National Park's website. With over 1500 flowering plants in the park, you'll have no shortage of viewing and photo opportunities!
The Ramsey Cascades are the tallest falls in the Smokies. These 100 ft. high falls offer a breathtaking spectacle, and you can view beautiful scenery on the trail in. This trail is fairly difficult to traverse, allow yourself several hours for the round trip of 8 miles.
If you choose the Porters Creek trail, it is much shorter and an easier round trip of only 2 miles. There are many landmarks from the old community that used to be established in Greenbrier; from a cemetery to timeworn buildings that belonged to the 1800s settlers.
You can fish (with a Tennessee or North Carolina license) and picnic in this area, too. Greenbrier makes a fun site to bring the family for the day.
There is so much history you can discover at Greenbrier. Gatlinburg photographer William Britten has written a special Greenbrier history page that can introduce you to the old days of Greenbrier, when it was a thriving small community of around 300 citizens. He offers several historical topographical maps of the area to further acquaint you with the lay of the land and its old homesteads.
Add this stop to your waterfall hikes in the park. What a crystal clear, hard pounding waterfall this is! Find it on your way to Cades Cove, on Little River Gorge Rd. in Gatlinburg, 12 miles west of the Sugarlands Visitor Center. This is a popular spot that people not only love for the amazing views, but also for rock jumping, swimming and photo opportunities.
The current is very strong here and there have been a number of accidents, and even deaths at this site. Please use caution and keep children close to you. The power of this water is very deceptive. You can view the falls from the parking lot viewing platform, if you prefer a safer vantage point from which to appreciate the natural beauty. Walking the trails around The Sinks has proven to be highly enjoyable for those who don't wish to venture too close to the strong, rushing currents surrounded by smooth boulders.
Some kayakers do ply the rapids here, so if you want a challenge, you can try it, if you are experienced with maneuvering in tricky currents. Check out this YouTube video of The Sinks which will acquaint you with the powerful water surge you'll see when you visit!
If you wish to attend more spring activities in Gatlinburg, here's the entire list for 2015: http://www.gatlinburg.com/events/details.aspx?id=133