sunrise over the smoky mountains
October 24, 2018

There are endless activities and sights for you and your family to see at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. With around 100 different species of trees, the mountains are especially beautiful during the changing seasons. To help you make the most of your visit, here are 4 ways to enjoy the Smoky Mountains National Park with your family.

1. Hike the Trails

family hiking in the smoky mountains

There is no better way to experience the beauty of the Smokies than by taking a hike. If you’re looking for a family-friendly challenge, take part in the Hike the Smokies – For Families program. You and your family will be awarded with stickers and pins when you keep track of the miles you’ve hiked. For an easier adventure that the kids will love, check out one of the kid-friendly trails. There are also two pet-friendly trails in the park, the Gatlinburg Trail and the Oconaluftee River Trail. As long as you keep your pup on a leash, they can hike with you and your family!

2. Horseback Rides

There are about 550 miles of hiking trails in the Smoky Mountains National Park that are open to horses. Guided horseback rides are available from mid-March through late November. All rides are done at a walking pace and can last anywhere from 45 minutes to several hours. If you want to ride your own horse, get yourself a copy of the park’s trail map. The map provides information regarding the trails you can ride on, backcountry camping, permit requirements and more.

3. Auto Touring

Newfound Gap Road Smoky Mountains

Experience the panoramic views, tumbling mountain streams and mature hardwood forests, all from the comfort of your vehicle. With 384 miles of road to choose from in the Smokies, an auto tour is a great way to take it all in. An auto tour through the Smoky Mountains National Park, offers a relaxing and scenic way to appreciate the nature around you. Most of the roads are paved and even the gravel roads are suitable for standard passenger cars. There are also inexpensive booklets available that include information on wildlife, plants and park history.

4. Workshops and Classes

You and your family can explore and learn about the park through a variety of programs provided by the park’s partner organizations. Friends of the Smokies offers guided hikes, varying in difficulty, and events that increase awareness about the park. The Great Smoky Mountains Association provides hikes and activities to educate you about the park. The Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont offers programs that include family camps, naturalist workshops and hiking adventures. Learn about synchronous fireflies, wildflowers, old-growth forests and more, with the programs offered by The Smoky Mountain Field School.

With scenic views and numerous activities available, the Smoky Mountains National Park is the perfect place to visit with your family. You may even decide that one day is not enough for you to see and do all you want in the park. If that’s the case, you can stay overnight in one of the many campsites in the park! Check out our guide to camping in the Smoky Mountains and start planning your trip!