So you thought the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was the only place to take a memorable hike in the area? Think again. Gatlinburg, which is literally right outside the national park, is a wonderful place to take a hike, or a short walk, especially around downtown and in the scenic Riverwalk area.
The Smoky Mountains are filled with great opportunities for for getting out and exploring. For many, it’s a must they they stay closer to town for a number of reasons. That doesn’t mean they have to miss out on the natural beauty of the area. Gatlinburg is known as an easily walkable town. So if you get tired or need a break, just stop in one of the many shops and restaurants you pass by. Apart from the downtown Parkway and connecting side streets, the East Parkway at Traffic Light No. 3 is dotted with shops and restaurants for about three miles. As mentioned, the Riverwalk downtown is the perfect place for those looking for picturesque shots of Gatlinburg. It can also be used as a point of emphasis for people coming into town, pointing out attractions, destinations, etc.
The Parkway downtown runs from one end of town to the other and most of it is home to restaurants, local shops, and attractions that stimulate the mind and other senses. Hey, and the Riverwalk is FREE. You don’t need a pass and it doesn’t require an entrance fee, or ask you to purchase something. It’s simply one of the best free things to do in Gatlinburg. The Riverwalk follows the Little Pigeon River as it snakes its way through Gatlinburg, with gazebos and benches found at various points along the way.