Are you traveling with a large group to the Smokies? When you have larger groups, it may be difficult to figure out exactly what to do while you’re visiting. To help you out, we’ve put together a few things to do in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park with a large group.
1. Hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
There are over 800 miles of hiking trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. No matter the size of your group, or your hiking abilities, there’s a trail for everyone.
We put together 3 hiking trails in the Smoky Mountains that are great for groups. You can check them out in our blog: 3 Interesting (And Pretty Easy) Hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains for Families and Groups.
Other trails that are great for groups are the self-guiding nature trails. They aren’t exactly ‘hikes,’ but they do show visitors the different aspects of the national park, including forestry and historic structures. Some of these nature trails are:
- Gatlinburg Trail
- Fighting Creek Nature Trail
- Sugarlands Valley Nature Trail
One of the best places to take a large group in the Great Smoky Mountains is the visitor centers. Why? Visitor centers are the central area for all information about the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. At each of the visitor centers, you can find gifts, souvenirs and tons of park information packets and books. If you have any questions about the national park, there are visitor center staff as well as park rangers there to help!
If your group is large enough that you are riding in a tour bus, each of the visitor centers has parking available for the buses. In addition, visitor centers have no admission cost.
Sugarlands Visitor Center
Sugarlands Visitor Center is extremely popular. The facility is well kept and it’s a great place for groups to spend a little time. You can start in the small museum area where you can learn about animals and other aspects of the national park. There is also a short 30-minute video about the national park that all guests are invited to watch for free. The video plays on a constant loop, restarting every 30 minutes, on the hour and half hour.
This visitor center is located right inside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Many hiking trails can be accessed right outside Sugarlands Visitor Center as well.
Cades Cove Visitor Center
The Cades Cove Visitor Center is located at the halfway mark of the Cades Cove Loop Road. It can be found near the Cable Mill area.
Cades Cove is a great place for groups to spend time exploring the historic structures, cabins and grist mills throughout the area.
At each of these locations, you can pick up auto tour booklets that tell you a little bit more about the areas in the national park. Each of the auto tour booklets are $1 and they are jam-packed full of information.
You can learn more about the visitor centers on the National Park Service website: http://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/visitorcenters.htm
We understand that finding a hiking trail that everyone can agree on can be difficult sometimes, but there’s never a shortage of things to do in the Great Smoky Mountains. Depending on the size of your group, a driving tour may be the easiest way for everyone to get out and enjoy the national park. Newfound Gap Road is just the place!
If you have stopped at one of the visitor centers, remember to grab a few of the $1 booklets that will guide you along Newfound Gap Road.
Newfound Gap Road is a 2-lane, 2-way paved road that connects Gatlinburg, TN to Cherokee, NC. The road winds until the end where there are very sharp curves. If you are riding in a tour bus, this may not be the best road to take. Instead, try visiting the Cades Cove Loop Road.
When you are driving along Newfound Gap Road, you will notice drastic changes in elevation which results in a temperature change. You may need to pack a jacket or light sweater if you plan to stop along the road at any of the pull offs. (There are designated pull offs, so you can take pictures and enjoy the natural scenery along your drive.)
Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg Cabin Rentals for Groups
At Amazing Views Cabin Rentals, we have a great selection of Smoky Mountain cabins for large groups. Each of our cabins comes equipped with everything you will need for the best vacation experience. With everything from game rooms to hot tubs, you can’t go wrong with one of our cabins. So, take a look, then give us a call to start planning your stay. We can’t wait to see your group in the Smoky Mountains!