Gatlinburg cityscape| Outdoor Activities to Enjoy in Gatlinburg Gatlinburg cityscape| Outdoor Activities to Enjoy in Gatlinburg

11 Fun Outdoor Activities to Enjoy in Gatlinburg

When the weather warms up, and the sun comes out, there’s no better time to enjoy the sights of the beautiful Gatlinburg area.

Hiking, horseback riding, and sightseeing at natural landmarks like Anakeesta are among the best things to do outside.

Outdoor Activities to Enjoy in Gatlinburg

But if you’re looking to try some new things while on vacation, we can help! Outdoor enthusiasts, look no further: we have a list of must-dos for your time in Gatlinburg.

1. Enjoy the Mountain Coaster

Do you long for a thrilling experience? In that case, your trip to Gatlinburg wouldn’t be complete without a ride on one of the mountain coasters.

Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster on-ride HD POV @60fps

There are many roller coasters in the area, but some of the most well-known are the Rowdy Bear Coaster, Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster, and the Ski Mountain Coaster.

What sets these coasters apart is that riders may control their own speed. Most carts can reach up to 35 miles per hour, but you can enjoy the ride at a slow speed while admiring the scenery. Likewise, most of these roller coasters also provide stunning vistas.

2. Camping

Warm weather means it’s time to go camping again! Camping is an excellent opportunity to appreciate the natural splendor of the Smoky Mountains.

Greenbrier Campground in Gatlinburg Tennessee Complete Walk Through

What could be more relaxing than sleeping under the stars and breathing in the fresh mountain air? When you go camping in Gatlinburg TN, you can select between sleeping in a tent, a cabin, or an RV! Camping is one of the best outdoor activities travelers enjoy.

3. Bird Watching

Rarely discussed, bird watching is a great recreational activity. Gatlinburg is a fantastic location for birdwatching. The Smokies is home to nearly two hundred bird species, and you can spot a wide variety of birds, from owls to turkeys.

Cascading waterfalls along the Roaring Fork Scenic Motor Drive in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Gatlinburg, Tennessee
Photo by adogslifephoto from Depositphotos

Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, is home to one of the best birding destinations in the country: Parrot Mountain. The hundreds of stunning tropical birds here make this outdoor attraction unique. The birds are there for you to feed, photograph, or admire.

4. View the Breathtaking Sights of Smoky Mountain from the Aerial Tramway

Soar through the stunning views of the Great Smoky Mountains. The tramway ascends 1,472 feet over the course of 2.1 miles, with an eventual peak elevation of 2,813 feet above sea level.

Sunset at the Newfound Gap in the Great Smoky Mountains.
Photo by sepavone from Depositphotos

Visitors to the Ober Gatlinburg Ski Area and Amusement Park will never forget their ride in the two counterbalanced cars. The Tram, originally inaugurated in 1973, is the best and safest means to go to the ski resort. About three thousand sightseers use it every day. 

5. Witness the Beauty of Gatlinburg from Space Needle

At 407 feet in height, this is the tallest structure in Gatlinburg and offers breathtaking views of the Smoky Mountains in every direction.

A pair of glass elevators take visitors to the observation deck, where they may view breathtaking vistas of the Tennessee town below, the surrounding national park, and Mount LeConte.

There is a 30,000-square-foot amusement area at the Space Needle, along with a wide selection of games, simulators, and other fun things to do. The tower is equipped with a quick-service restaurant and a theatre that hosts popular performances.

The attraction is jam-packed, especially on holidays. Don’t miss out on this amazing opportunity to see the city from an elevated level.

6. Llama Trekking

Bring a llama with you on your hike in the Smoky Mountains to make it more entertaining! You can hike through the Smoky Mountains with one of Smoky Mountain Llama Treks’ llamas.

You can visit the llama farm to learn about the llamas, pet and feed them, and then walk along one of their pathways! Every hike includes a guide to making the experience more enjoyable. 

7. Ziplining

A zipline tour is an exhilarating outdoor adventure to try when the weather is beautiful! Gatlinburg Zipline Adventures is the greatest site to zipline in Gatlinburg.

Gatlinburg, TN Zip Line

There are nine ziplines and six treetop canopy platforms! As you glide through the treetops, you’ll enjoy a bird’s-eye view of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, downtown Gatlinburg, and the Gatlinburg Space Needle.

You don’t need to be concerned if you’ve never zip-lined before! There are trained guides who will help you and ensure your safety. 

8. Witness the Beauty of Pigeon Forge as you Summer Tube

Are you a snow tube enthusiast? Then you will surely love the summer tubing experience at Rowdy Bear Ridge in Pigeon Forge.

Pigeon Forge Tennessee TN Old Mill at Sunrise.
Photo by from Depositphotos

It’s the first and longest tubing hill in Tennessee and is open every day of the year. Once you reach the top, you’ll get spectacular views of Pigeon Forge and the surrounding landscape. While summer tubing, you can go at a top speed of 35 miles per hour.

9. Head for Zorbing

You might never have heard of zorbing, but you’ll surely want to give it a try! The unusual activity of zorbing is brought to Pigeon Forge by Outdoor Gravity Park.

Basically, you will enter into a massive inflatable hamster ball filled with water and roll down a 1,000-foot slope! The unique activity of zorbing is brought to Pigeon Forge by Outdoor Gravity Park. 

10. Give the Gravity Coaster a Try

You can ride a mountain coaster all year, but it’s a nicer experience when it’s not freezing outside. At Rowdy Bear Mountain, we recommend riding The Gravity Coaster!

You will be able to control your speed and can ride around the track at a top speed of 30 miles per hour when you’re feeling daring.

Alternatively, you can take a leisurely ride down the track and view the stunning landscape. Ride the coaster at night for a once-in-a-lifetime adventure!

11. Nature Walking in the National Park

Going on a nature walk or hike in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the best outdoor family activities in the Smokies.

Great Smoky Mountain sunset
Photo by ehrlif from Depositphotos

Elkmont Nature Trail and Cataract Falls Trail are two hiking paths suitable for both children and senior citizens. Hiking paths vary in difficulty from easy to moderate to severe, so decide how far you and your family can go, and then get out there and enjoy the mountains!


Do you want to have fun while you’re in town and enjoy the outdoors? Then do think about going to some of Gatlinburg’s most popular attractions, many of which require spending time outside in the crisp mountain air.

Photo by ehrlif from Depositphotos

Gatlinburg SkyPark, Ober Gatlinburg, mountain coasters, camping, and zipline excursions are all excellent options for a well-rounded vacation. Every corner in the mountains promises adventure!


1. What makes Gatlinburg so renowned?

Gatlinburg became a popular tourist destination due to its accessibility, abundance of recreational possibilities, and distinct Appalachian culture.

2. In which state is Gatlinburg located?

Gatlinburg is a city in eastern Tennessee’s Sevier County. It is located at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s northwest entrance, about 30 miles (50 km) southeast of Knoxville.

3. Should I travel to Gatlinburg?

Gatlinburg, Tennessee is unquestionably a place worth thinking about if you’re searching for a good time and something different.

Last Updated on March 13, 2023 by jyoti