Connecting with the outdoors comes naturally in the Smokies. With mist rising from the mountains as far as the eye can see and countless hiking trails to explore, it’s easy to understand why it’s home to the most visited national park in the United States. You’ll want to make the most of your time in the “Land of Blue Smoke” and we’ve got every detail you need for the perfect three-day trip, including the best hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains and what to do in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge—just a stone’s throw from Under Canvas Great Smoky Mountains. We recommend arriving the night before so that you can enjoy three full days and a locally-sourced meal from our on-site restaurant.
Day One: Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Clingman’s Dome, Ramsey Cascades or Grotto Falls
After a restful night in your safari-inspired tent, step onto your private deck and take in the fresh air and picturesque landscape that surrounds you. After breakfast, it’s time to set out for a day of hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, just nine miles from your upscale accommodations.
Clingman’s Dome is a favorite sightseeing spot and the highest point in Tennessee. It’s the image that often comes to mind when you picture the Smokies. Several trails start at Clingman’s Dome Road and its parking area, varying in distance and difficulty, including the Appalachian Trail. A hike to the Clingman’s Dome Observation Tower is a popular choice for a short 1.2-mile hike with rewarding 360-degree views of the Great Smoky Mountains from the top.
At 100 feet high, Ramsey Cascades is the tallest waterfall in the Smokies and a favorite spot for many visitors. Along the 8 mile out-and-back trail, you’ll cross charming bridges, follow an abandoned logging route, and find plenty of undisturbed nature. The Smokies is one of the best places to see wildflowers in the U.S. and with so many hiking options, there are tons of ways to get up close to the beautiful blooms—depending on what time of year you visit.
If you’re looking for a shorter waterfall hike, Grotto Falls is another great option that takes anywhere from 2-3 hours to complete. To get to the picturesque 25-foot tall waterfall, take the Trillium Gap Trail through an old-growth hemlock forest—the perfect way to keep cool on a hot summer day. Be sure to pack a wholesome and delicious camp-prepared lunch to fuel your adventure.
After a full day of hiking and sightseeing, head back to Under Canvas Great Smoky Mountains to enjoy live music, open-air dining, and indulge in a drink paired with complimentary s’mores around the campfire before cozying up in your plush bedding for the night.
Day Two: Zipline, Whitewater Rafting or Tubing, The Island in Pigeon Forge
Make the most of your time by enjoying locally-sourced breakfast options at Under Canvas before setting out on your day two adventures. Less than two miles from camp, get your adrenaline pumping at Smoky Mountain Ziplines. Here, you’ll enjoy one-of-a-kind scenic views as you cruise through the trees at 25 miles per hour—an experience you won’t forget!
For more action-packed adventure, you can go whitewater rafting or kick back and float down the Little River in nearby Townsend, Tenn. The River Rat offers family-friendly tubing and even has a dog-friendly route at Outpost A. That’s right, you can tie up to your dog’s tube as you float down the calm waters and soak up scenic views. Under Canvas Great Smoky Mountains, along with our other locations, is dog-friendly so your entire crew can enjoy the great outdoors together during your stay.
The Island in Pigeon Forge is the perfect place for one-stop-shop family fun. With over 80 shops, restaurants, and attractions, it would be hard to not find something for everyone to enjoy. The 200-foot tall Observation Wheel and Island Show Fountains are must-do activities here. After a fun-filled day, you’ll retreat to luxurious linens and a king-sized bed with the sounds of nature and a modern crackling wood stove for a good night’s rest.
Day Three: Shopping in Gatlinburg, Gatlinburg SkyLift, Local Distilleries
Make the most of your last day in this outdoor lover’s paradise by rising early to walk around the campground or take a free yoga class just steps from your tent. Check with our on-site Guest Experience Coordinator in the main lobby tent for the complimentary programming schedule and stop by our store to pick up some lululemon gear for your yoga session or hike.
Before you leave the Smokies, moonshine is a must-try. Stop by Ole Smoky Moonshine Holler distillery for a taste of Tennessee’s finest liquor accompanied by mountain music played by local musicians. Be sure to sample the Apple Pie or Moonshine Cherries. If you want to try moonshine around the campfire add our Smoky Mountain Moonshine enhancement during booking. This enhancement includes an Ole Smoky Moonshine flight and a curated bar snack for two. Not in the mood for ‘shine? There are plenty more local distilleries in Gatlinburg to choose from.
Head to downtown Gatlinburg along Parkway for tons of dining, shopping, attractions, and more. Here you’ll find more outdoor adventures, kid-friendly attractions, and laid-back scenic charms in this mountain town perfect for families and couples alike.
Grab a bite to eat in a beautiful setting. Gatlinburg has many restaurants to choose from whether you’re in the mood for Southern food, Italian, steak, or seafood, you’ll find it here. For dessert, try an “old-fashioned” donut at The Donut Friar, famous for their Cinnamon Cake Donut.
For one of the best views of the Smokies, check out the Gatlinburg SkyLift Park in the early evening before sunset for majestic mountain views. The SkyLift will take you up 500 vertical feet to the top of Crockett Mountain where you can hop off onto the SkyDeck to capture the moment. You can also walk across the Gatlinburg SkyBridge, the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in North America, before riding the lift back down the mountain to where you started.
If you’re looking for more tips or activities for what to do in the Great Smoky Mountains, our Guest Experience Coordinators are here to help you plan a memorable trip. Your unique glamping experience in the “Land of Blue Smoke” awaits.