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The Ultimate Smoky Mountain Bucketlist

August 29, 2019  |  By: Taylor Randolph


The Great Smoky Mountains has over 900 miles of world-renowned trails showcasing grandiose mountain vistas, cascading waterfalls, charming mountain streams, 1800s historic structures, and quiet woodland meadows. There are myriad activities to enjoy while you are here, whether you are looking to do serious adventure treks or something fun for the whole family. There is no bad time for a retreat because every season has something to offer. You can take a visit to see the spring-time wildflowers, experience the brilliant summer weather, witness the leaves changing to their autumn colors, or enjoy a winter wonderland. Whatever you decide, it is sure to be a marvelous experience. Feeling inspired? Here is our guide for the ultimate Smoky Mountain Bucketlist!


The Wandering Llamas

☑ Hike with a Llama

What better way to discover the beauty of the smokies than with a furry friend? Llama treks are a delightful adventure for the whole family. You can enjoy a 2-hour short trek, a 3-hour lunch trek, or special treks such as the Yoga Llama Trek, Live Music Llama Trek, Snow-Sledding Treks, and Pajama Llama Parties. If you wish to stay overnight, you can reserve their 13-foot Glamping tent with electricity, luxurious bedding, comfy log furniture, a heater for winter or a fan for summer, and a wine and coffee bar! You will discover sparkling creeks, cascading waterfalls, hidden ponds, and so much more. The knowledgeable guides at The Wandering Llamas are such a treat and make the experience truly unforgettable. Experience the spectacular scenery and snap some awesome pictures for your Instagram.


View from the Blue Ridge Parkway

☑ Drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway

The Blue Ridge Parkway is a picturesque motorway that has plenty of overlooks, picnic spots, and opportunities for short hikes to do a bit of exploring. It has been voted as one of the USA’s most scenic drives. However, if you are the driver, then it might not be as much fun because you should keep your eyes on the twisting road. We recommend taking an Auto Tour so that you can see all that the Blue Ridge Parkway has to offer as well as be accompanied by a guide that will teach you about the history, nature, and culture of the Smoky Mountains. Our favorite is an all-encompassing, Classic Great Smoky Mountain Tour. It is a 3-hour auto tour that takes you to see the New Found Gap, the Tennessee and North Carolina sides of the park, and short walks alongside lovely mountain rivers. This is a great activity for the whole family to sit back and relax!


Walk in the Woods Backpacking Trip

☑ Go on an Overnight Backpacking Trip

Backpacking is an awesome outdoor adventure that pushes you out of your comfort zone and allows you to experience the greatest beauty the world has to offer. The Great Smoky Mountains has countless backpacking trails like the iconic Appalachian Trail, Mount LeConte, Gregory Bald Trail, and much more. Thankfully, you do not have to be a backpacking expert to enjoy these incredible excursions. You should be reasonably fit, but backpacking experience is not required. The guides at A Walk in the Woods are seriously knowledgeable and they are so patient. They will teach you everything you need to know about backpacking 101. They have a variety of easy, moderate, and advanced treks available, so check out their website for the one that suits you the best!


Kayak Fontana Lake

☑ Kayak in Fontana Lake

The gorgeous Fontana Lake has been called the “best-kept secret in the Great Smoky Mountains.” The lake is surrounded by the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, so there is very little development to interrupt the stunning views of the mountains. You will have an unobstructed view from the lake to the top of the towering Clingmans Dome, which is the park’s highest peak. We recommend devoting a full day to get completely immersed in this pristine beauty. The Fontana Lake Kayak Tour is a 10-hour trip with 6-8 hours on water and trail. You will get to kayak Fontana Lake as well as do short hikes to explore the fascinating history and flora/fauna of the Smoky Mountains. Also, you will have the opportunity to walk on the Appalachian Trail and visit the highest dam east of the Mississippi River. The trip includes a delicious mountain-style lunch on an island within the lake.


Waterfalls tour

☑ Enjoy Waterfalls and Wine

Is there a better way to relax and unwind than with waterfalls and wine? This sumptuous tour takes you on a moderate hike alongside a hidden trail where you will visit at least two Appalachian boutique falls. Soak in the splendor of the lush mountain forest and feel your worries melt away. The trip concludes with a wine tour and tasting at two local wineries. The winemakers will share the rich history of the thoughtfully crafted wine as well as indulge you in the forgotten stories of the Smokies. The Waterfalls and Wine Tour lets you experience the local Appalachian culture in a whole new way.


Adventure Photography

☑ Learn a New Skill

Do you have a camera that you are still learning how to use? It’s time to take a professional lesson and there is no better place than one of the most beautiful national parks in the world. You will learn techniques for wilderness photography, such as how to capture waterfalls, foliage, wildflowers, and more. Also, the guide will take you to unique sights including settler’s homesteads, CCC chimneys, and other buildings from the 1800s. The Adventure Photography Tour offers you the opportunity to go home from your vacation with a new skill in your pocket and plenty of impressive photos to share with friends and family.


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Check out related articles:

Best Hikes in the Smoky Mountains
Top 10 Adventures Around Moab
Top 10 Things to Do at Acadia National Park





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Hi there! 

We are Jacob and Taylor. Travel is our passion and we love sharing our experiences here at The Travelling Souk. Our hope is that you would be inspired by this little blog to try something new, embrace an adventure, and live life to the fullest. 

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