Hannah Mountain Trail

If you’re one of those hikers who loves a good challenge, then look no further than the Hannah Mountain Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The trail is a meandering 9.5 miles from Parson Branch Road to its junction with the Hatcher Mountain Trail at Abrams Creek.

You’ll trek across a number of Smoky Mountain ridges along the way after starting out on Parson Branch Road. To get there, turn off the Cades Cove Loop Road in Townsend just past the Cable Mill. Then follow the signs to Parson Branch Road.

Over the years, this trail has become known for its great hiking opportunities. And by that, meaning it’s a very even trail and smooth thanks to pine needles that fall along it. You’ll come to a massive tuliptree 1.9 miles on the trail – the first major natural marker. Accordingly, another natural marker found on Hannah Mountain is Mount Lanier, the mountain’s highest peak. You’ll descend its flank above Bell Cove and hike into a mixed hardwood forest.

Hikers will circle the north end of Hannah Mountain as they move further along the trail before coming to backcountry campsite No. 14. From there, hikers will follow the trail around the north end of Deadrick Ridge. You’ll climb Polecat Ridge after passing an old home site. This occurs before descending Scott Gap 7.6 miles in. Scott Gap is named in honor of George Scott who lived in the area that backcountry campsite No. 16 now occupies.

The Hannah Mountain Trail reaches its steepest point during the final 100 yards as it approaches Abrams Creek. You must wade the creek in order to cross it which can be hazardous after a rainstorm. Happy hiking!

Chimney Tops

Chimney Tops is one of the most visited places in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and its access point is found just a hop, skip, and a jump from downtown Gatlinburg. Well, a little more than a hop, skip, and a jump, but you get the picture. For a relatively short hike in the park near Gatlinburg, seek out Chimney Tops and you can thank us later.

As mentioned, it’s a two-mile trek from Newfound Gap Road to Chimney Tops and the trailhead can be accessed 6.7 miles from the Sugarlands Visitor Center traveling south on Newfound Gap Road. There is also a large parking area found there.

Not only does Chimney Tops offer spectacular mountain views, the short two-mile hike is most appealing to visitors. Just watch out as you get closer to the top, the trail gets pretty steep and can be fairly slippery when it rains.

As you start out, you’ll come to a bridge that crosses the Walter Camp Prong of the Little Pigeon River. This is a great place to view and take pictures of spring wildflowers. At 0.9 miles in you’ll have crossed your fourth bridge along the trail to Chimney Tops and you’re at the point in the trail where the Road Prong Trail junction appears. You’ll go on from that point to the right and hike a switchback.

chimneymapThis creek valley you’re now on will literally lead you up to the stars. It’s a steep trail and you’re likely to hear the sound of water rippling down the mountainside to your as you ascend Chimney Tops. Another switchback and you find yourself trekking across Sugarland Mountain. If you look through openings along the trail you’re sure to catch a glimpse of Mount LeConte in the distance.

Following a quick descent, you come to a sloping pinnacle and signs warning hikers not to travel beyond Chimney Tops’ two peaks.

Two paths can be taken to the top but hikers should be wary of the rocks leading up opposite of the rock face. Some are as old as 600 million years and shine from the thousands of hand that have touched them over the years on their way to Chimney Tops. You’ve made it! Turn around and marvel at Mt. LeConte and Newfound Gap Road, it’s been a great hike and one you’ll always remember.

Davy Crockett Mini Golf

Everybody loves to play miniature golf.  In Gatlinburg, one of the most popular mini golf locations is Davy Crockett Miniature Golf.  Located right off the parkway, there is plenty of parking, free parking, and you are out of the press of downtown Gatlinburg.  Add to this that it is one of the most beautifully made and creative mini-golf locations in Gatlinburg and you are in for quite a treat.

Davy Crockett Mini Golf attempts to tell the story of legendary hero of the Tennessee mountains with the help of an all-critter cast.  From Davy, in this case a fun loving raccoon to the rest of his mountain home friends, you will be amused and your children will be delighted by the antics that these animals get up to.  From shooting cannons to creating water sluices, the animals have been placed around the golf course to add obstacles and to create an atmosphere of fun and adventure around the course, or in this case, two courses.

Both of the courses (36 hole sin all) are challenging and fun.  The obstacles range from water hazards to hills, from wavy bumps meant to make it hard to putt to holes that are not visible from where you start.  Ripleys (yes, the same folks that run the Aquarium) have made this one of the neatest golf courses you will ever play on.  And, unlike many other attractions and activities in Gatlinburg, you don’t have to park and walk for a long time to get there.  There is a parking lot for Davy Crockett Mini Golf guests right next door to the golf course itself, so you aren’t paying extra to park but, it is not far down the street from some of the hotels and motels so you are always welcome to walk to Davy Crockett and enjoy the nice stretch of the legs on your way to play with the family.

Next trip you take to Gatlinburg, make sure that the Davy Crockett Mini Golf is part of your itinerary.  Get the family together and hang out in the great outdoors.  Spend some time challenging the kids.  Play both courses and take in the playful antics of the critters that tell a story about Davy Crockett as you make your way around the courses.  See who can win the game and then, when you come back year after year, play again and again, wait for that day when your kids finally win and then you can reflect on that first game you played with the Davy Crockett raccoon watching from the sign.

Davy Crockett Mini Golf
188 Parkway
Gatlinburg, TN

Mount LeConte

Mount LeConte is the third highest peak in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park at 6,593 feet in elevation, just behind Clingmans Dome and Mount Guyot. However, it is the tallest mountain in Tennessee measuring from its base to its tallest peak at 5,301 feet. And there’s is no spot in the park as talked about or sought out around the Gatlinburg area as LeConte.

It has four subpeaks – West Point (6,344 ft), High Top (6,593 ft), Cliff Tops (6,555 ft), and Myrtle Point (6,200 ft) and is also widely known for LeConte Lodge, the highest inn providing lodging for hikers in the Eastern United States.

When discussing the LeConte name, it’s still of great debate which LeConte family member the mountain is named in honor of. Joseph Le Conte, famous geologist, gets many a nod, especially from those in his field. Still, some like the authors of A Natural History of Mount Le Conte, believe Joseph’s older brother John Le Conte, a physicist at South Carolina College, is the rightful honoree. This claim says that Samuel Buckley, in respect to John’s help in moving his barometer to Waynesville, North Carolina, named the mountain in honor of his friend for the aforementioned good deed.

The mountain didn’t see much activity until the 1920s though. Paul Adams, an enthusiastic hiker and explorer, spent a good dose of his down time creating his own adventures in the Smoky Mountains. The Great Smoky Mountain Conservation Association, a group dedicated to establishing a national park in the region, was an interest he set his sights on in 1924. Adams actually led an expedition up the mountain after joining the association with big-wigs from Washington, in order to show them up close the beauty the mountain possessed. They spent the night in a large tent which eventually became the LeConte Lodge – a cabin now, and a popular stop and lodging point atop Mount LeConte. It was a rousing success as nearly a decade later Mount LeConte was included in the establishment of the Smokies as a national park.

Mount Le Conte is made up of Late Proterozoic rocks; mostly metamorphosed sandstone, siltstone, shale, and conglomerate formed over 800–450 million years ago and lies in the Appalachian Blue Ridge geologic and physiographic province. Years of erosion and weather events have given the mountains in the region a distinctive sloping feature. Southern Appalachian spruce-fir left over from the last Ice Age cover the mountain’s peaks and upper slopes.

Gatlinburg – Looking Ahead to an Exciting Year

This might be getting little ahead of things with the holiday season not even having peaked yet, but once the decorations are put away and all the gifts have been wrapped, gifted, and returned, Gatlinburg is looking at quite a 2013 in terms of events, etc. once the ball drops on the parkway.

Following New Years, visitors can still take part in the town’s Trolley Ride of Lights and see the sights downtown by way of one of the old town’s beautiful trolleys.

By January 1, things are usually in full swing at Ober Gatlinburg and it looks to be that way again this year with the snow tubing area having already opened and slopes scheduled to open December 7. This early scheduled opening is thanks in large part to some new snow making equipment that has made it possible to start making snow in less than perfect weather conditions. Follow that up with Ober’s biggest event to start the year – the Tennessee Winter Special Olympics. It’s a chance to cheer on some very talented people and enjoy Ober Gatlinburg at its finest.

A few short months later, Gatlinburg’s Smoky Mountain Springfest begins in earnest with decorations, events, and other Spring-like happenings. It’s a great time for a hike in the Smokies. Get out your nature books and enjoy all the wildflowers springing up everywhere.

Two of the bigger events to begin the year are the annual Easter Arts & Crafts show and the Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage. The Great Smoky Mountains Arts & Crafts Community puts on a terrific craft show every spring that brings in crafters and buyers from all over the country. Typically held at the Gatlinburg Convention Center, isn’t a show that’s not to be missed. For crafters, it’s a show that’s never the same as new items appear every season.

As far as the Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage goes, this 60-plus year tradition is the perfect event for the botanist in all of us. Through seminars and guided tours, come listen to some of the country’s foremost leaders in fields of botany and gardening. These tours showcase the multitude of wildflowers, plants, ferns, mosses, trees and shrubs, as well as birds, reptiles and amphibians that call the Great Smoky Mountains home.

Pucker’s Sports Bar and Grill

Looking for the night life in Gatlinburg?  Look no further then Puckers Sports Bar and Grill.  Great food and good times take center stage at Puckers and they are not only for locals that have made this their favorite hangout, tourist and visitors alike are welcome to spend the night hanging out with the great staff at Puckers.  They will make you feel at home.

The Food

Puckers might have the best comfort food in Gatlinburg.  Burgers, fries, wings and more.  All of the selections are Puck-Tastic and some are very punny.  Here are just a few of their offerings:

  • The World Famous Gatlinburger – A 5lbs burger, yes, you read that correctly, a FIVE pound burger.  It is one of those massive menu items that if you eat the whole thing in the prescribed amount of time.. they pay for it and you get a t-shirt.  This isn’t just a huge burger though it is really good.  Get it and share it with the whole table.
  • Pucked Up Fries – Seasoned fries topped with chili, cheddar cheese, smoked bacon, sour cream and scallions.  Big enough for meal but great to share with fiends.
  • Fried Dill Pickels (“Pub” Pickles) – delicately fried and fantastic.
  • Chicken Wings – These are available with several different sauces:  applewood smoked, mild, hot, oriental express, ranch, honey BBQ, teriyaki, chipotle honey BBQ, garlic, Carolina mustard or Real Puckin Hot.

The Drinks

Puckers is a full service bar.  Get that after dinner drink or enjoy beers from the top.  Puckers runs specials every night, whether it is a special beer for the evening or some other drink.

Puckers has become a destination for people returning year after year.  Their menu is fun and full of comfort food, their bartenders are excellent and ready to get you something cold to drink.  The atmosphere is more then just a typical bar, they allow you to let your hair down and get a crazy or just sit around and have a good time.  Play pool, play darts, sing karaoke or just have a good time hanging with friends.

Puckers Sports Bar and Grill
745 Parkway
Gatlinburg, TN

Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort to open December 7!!!

Ober Gatlinburg is the only ski resort in Gatlinburg, TN and is now open for the 2012 season! Get lift tickets rates, directions, schedules, and more! Ski Gatlinburg, TN at the Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort.

The information below is for the 2012 ski season:

It’s once again that time of year again – time to hit the slopes as Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort opens up for the old town’s winter season! Officially, Ober is planning to open its doors its doors for skiing and snowboarding on December 7 following months of snow-making.

If you plan on skiing in Gatlinburg, TN during your next vacation, church retreat, or Smoky Mountain getaway then the Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort is where you’ll wind up. This is the only ski resort in Tennessee, so if you’re looking for more choices you’ll need to look a little farther east in North Carolina at slopes such as Sugar Mountain, Ski Beech, Appalachian, etc.

Ober Gatlinburg is a family ski resort that has activities for everyone. If part of your family doesn’t ski or snowboard, there are other fun things to do such as ice skating, arcade, alpine slide, scenic chair lift, and more. Even party poopers have something to do as they can sit by the fire in the lounge or even “people-watch” around the ice skating rink. Ober’s been a Smoky Mountain staple since 1962 when it comes to entertaining family, friends, and even yourself.

If you plan on making Ober Gatlinburg your ski resort vacation destination, then you have two options of getting up there. You can either ride the aerial tramway (which happens to be the largest aerial tramway in America) from downtown Gatlinburg or you can drive up the mountain on Ski Mountain Road. Simply turn at traffic light #9 on the south end of Gatlinburg (closest to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park) and follow the winding road (Ski Mountain Road) all the way to the top…just have cash ready to park. The earlier you go, the better. The are three tiers of parking lots and if you get there early, you have a better shot at getting a parking spot at the top near the resort. Otherwise, it’s a short hike from the lower parking lots, but the locals call that the warmup!

The 2012-13 ski season in Gatlinburg, TN is upon us!

Christ in the Smokies

If you have ever taken River Road in Gatlinburg, you might have noticed a place called Christ in the Smokies.  This museum is a wonderland for people wanting to learn more about Biblical history and experience the Bible stories in life size dioramas.  Combining the museum with a beautiful garden area and the magnificent face of Christ chiseled into marble makes the Christ int he Smokies museum and Gardens a special attraction when you visit Gatlinburg.

The main attraction at Christ in the Smokies is the life-size figures that tell the story of Christ in stark detail.  You will get to stand before a full-size version of the Last Supper, be present for the miracles and of course stand directly in front of the manager during the nativity.  You will get a sense for the personhood and the humanity of Christ as you see Him depicted with people, standing among people and working with them and form them.  There has been great attention to detail and you can see the faith of the people that created the exhibits shine through.  You will feel that you are walking along with the disciples as you walk through the museum.

Along with the main part of the museum, telling the story of the life of Christ, is the garden at the center of the museum.  The garden contains one of the most amazing pieces of art work that you will ever see.  In the center of the garden is a a marble depiction of the face of Christ that seems to follow you as you walk from the right to the left.  Of course, this is just an optical illusion and a tribute to the skill of the artist that chiseled the face out of the stone but it is still amazing to walk from one side to the other in the garden and see the face seem to turn to follow your path.  Many people of spent many of hours watching the reactions of the people as they encounter the the Face of Christ for the first time.  It is a truly powerful and moving experience, especially after leaving the museum itself.

When you are done with the main parts of the museum tour, the dioramas and the gardens, you will be able to take in the gift shop and the exhibit of coins and gems form the Holy Land.  Every visit to the Christ in the Smokies Museum brings you closer to your faith and you will find something more each time you visit.  The Christ in the Smokies Museum and Gardens is easy to find.  It is in the middle of Gatlinburg in River Road.  If you are on the Parkway, headed toward the GSMNP, go to the SkyLift and take a right.  When you come to the traffic light at the bottom of the hill you will be facing Christ in the Smokies.

Christ in the Smokies Museum and Gardens
510 River Road
Gatlinburg, TN

Skiing in Gatlinburg, TN

Details about Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort…the only place to ski in Gatlinburg, TN. Get lift ticket rates, ski reports, etc and find out why skiing in Gatlinburg, TN is the perfect winter activity for you family, friends, church groups, and more!


* Ober’s new Snow Magic system continues to make snow in the tubing park and plans are to open snow tubing Friday, November 16th.

Think you have to go out west or to the northeast to enjoy great skiing? Think again! A trip to Gatlinburg, TN means you can enjoy winter sports in the heart of the south!

The Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort is a centerpiece in Gatlinburg, offering visitors a buffet of winter sports to enjoy! Experience skiing and snowboarding on eight different trails, varying from easy to difficult. All trails take you on an exciting adventure down the slopes of the Smoky Mountains, offering spectacular views of snowy peaks, wintry forests, and thrilling skylines! If you are a beginning skier, or have never skied before, you don’t have to be left out of all the fun! The Smoky Mountain Snow Sport School, located at the Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort, offers lessons for individuals and groups! This is a fun way for families, friends, or corporate groups to learn to ski, while bonding together.

If you don’t have your own skis or gear, don’t worry! You can rent everything you need at the gear store, located in the resort. They have clothing and gear available for rental in a variety of sizes, for both kids and adults!

In the warmer months, Ober Gatlinburg’s Amusement park is filled with fun and excitement for the entire family! Enjoy the Alpine Slide, indoor ice arena, and scenic chairlift. There is also a waterslide, arcade, bumper cars, pirate ship, bungee jumping, Velcro jump wall, shooting range, and mini golfing! You can spend days and days with your family, and never enjoy the same adventure twice!
Enjoy winter sports with a touch of Southern hospitality at the Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort. Ski, snowboard, or just enjoy the winter mountain views! Be sure to see our links to the Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort lift ticket rates and ski reports.


The Greenbrier section of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the most picturesque, scenic locales in the Smokies. It’s no wonder that people drive, hike, camp, and do whatever they can to reach a place that most consider “Off the Beaten Path”.

So how about a bit more detail on the area itself… Do all kinds of wildflower species sound good to you? I’m sure it does to you nature lovers out there. There are also plenty of picnic areas, hiking trails to explore the Smoky Mountains, and countless fishing opportunities.

As noted, the Greenbrier area is renowned for its wildflowers, especially during the spring. One of the best drives, if you prefer taking in the scenery from your car, takes you to the Ramsey Cascades trailhead – an 8 mile roundtrip hike. To get there, drive east approximately 6 miles from Gatlinburg on Hwy 321 before making the turn at the Greenbrier entrance to the national park. Then follow the signs 4.7 miles to the Ramsey Cascades trailhead.

If you’re looking for a good, scenic hike, the Porters Creek Trail makes for a really good wildflower walk. To hike Porters Creek, the signs lead you to the trailhead. The trail’s first 1.5 miles are especially packed with spring-time wildflowers. Wildflowers generally come into bloom in March and peak in mid to late April.

The Ramsey Cascades trail is also a great getaway for wildflower viewing. From the trailhead, it’s 4 miles to the cascades – the tallest in the Smoky Mountains.

You’ll find that the upper Greenbrier area is preceded by 6 miles of gravel road. Visitors are welcome to bike along the Greenbrier roads but it is prohibited on its trails.

Want to visit the area during the day? Pack a lunch. The Greenbrier Picnic Area is open year round.

If fishing the area’s streams and rivers are your angle, feel free. You can fish for trout year round. All you need is either a Tennessee or North Carolina fishing license.

The Greenbrier Road auto tour follows the Little Pigeon River to Trillium Gap and is another great way to see the area. And you don’t have to worry about trucks, trailers or RVs – they aren’t allowed along the route. The John Messer Barn and the Ramsay Cascades trailhead are reached via this auto tour.

The Greenbrier section of the national park is a great area to visit, no matter what reason you’re there for. Outside of Ramsay Cascades, everyone can see the large stands of virgin growth such as northern red oak, eastern hemlock, and red maple. You won’t see growth like this in any other area of the park, which is just another reason why the Greenbrier has become a destination in the Great Smoky Mountains.