9 Outdoor Adventures for Thrill-Seekers in Gatlinburg


Gatlinburg is a charming town in Tennessee. It is tucked away near the entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and offers a breathtaking view of the sprawling forests, flowing rivers, and majestic peaks. It is famous amongst thrill-seekers for the various outdoor activities it has to offer. 

In this article, we will discuss the 8 best outdoor activities in Gatlinburg that will surely get your adrenaline pumping. From plunging down the white-water rapids to flying high above the Smokies, this article has it all.

1. White-water rafting on the Pigeon River

The Pigeon River paves its way through the Smoky Mountains, offering a watercourse perfect for white-water rafting. The river features a mix of Class I to Class IV rapids, catering to both newbies and seasoned rafters. You can embark on your rafting journey with local groups who have professional guides and all the safety gear to make your rafting adventure safe and enjoyable. It is an exciting way to feel nature’s untamed beauty and enjoy it to the fullest.

2. Zip-lining

Zip-lining in Gatlinburg can give you the feel of flying high in the mountains. The area boasts some of the most exciting zip-lining courses in the country, featuring lines that stretch for over half a mile and ascend to heights of 400 feet. And, for those who want to add a magical element to their experience, several companies even offer zip-lining under the stars. 

While planning your zip-lining expedition, consider staying in one of the Stony Brook Cabins. These cabins offer a cozy retreat to relax and rejuvenate after a day full of thrills. With its rustic ambiance and modern features, they will definitely add to your Smoky Mountains experience.

3. Skydiving: Tandem Jumps and Indoor Skydiving

If you’re a fan of extreme sports, then skydiving should be at the top of your list. Although Gatlinburg itself doesn’t offer traditional outdoor skydiving due to its mountainous terrain, nearby areas do offer this heart-pounding adventure. However, it does offer Tandem skydiving, which is a great option for first-timers, where you’ll be harnessed to an experienced instructor for the duration of the jump. If you want to get a taste of the free-fall experience without actually jumping out of an airplane, skydiving venues are available. Both options provide a memorable experience for the visitors.

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4. Mountain Biking in the Smokies

Gatlinburg offers a variety of rugged and scenic trails that are perfect for mountain biking. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced biker, you’ll find trails that offer a variety of terrains with so much natural beauty. Cades Cove Loop is an 11-mile trail that’s popular amongst bikers, providing a mix of flat and hilly terrains, along with frequent wildlife sightings. Bike rentals are widely available in the area, so you don’t need to worry about hauling your own gear. Remember, safety is crucial, so always wear protective gear and follow trail guidelines.

5. Rock Climbing: From Beginners to Experts

If you’ve ever wanted to try rock climbing, Gatlinburg is the place to do it. The region offers a variety of rock formations suitable for all skill levels. You can start with indoor climbing walls to get a feel of it and then go all in with a day of guided climbing in the Great Smoky Mountains. Many local ventures offer lessons and guided trips, so you don’t need to be an expert to start. The gear you’ll need is often provided by the guiding service, making it convenient for those who are new to the sport. Safety is a first, so you’ll learn all the basics, including how to use climbing harnesses and ropes before you go climbing.

6. ATV Riding across the terrain

For those who enjoy feeling the power of a motor vehicle as they explore nature, ATV riding is a must-try adventure. There are places around Gatlinburg where you can rent ATVs and hit the trails. Whether you’re riding through mud puddles, cruising along wooded paths, or navigating rocky inclines, the experience is sure to be exhilarating. And, of course, it’s a fun way to see different parts of the Smokies that you might not get to see otherwise.

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7. Horseback Riding in the Mountain Trails

If you prefer a more relaxed way to explore the Smoky Mountains, horseback riding could be just what you’re looking for. Gatlinburg offers a variety of scenic trails that are perfect for horseback riding. Some agencies even offer sunset rides, giving you the chance to watch the sky change colors over the mountains as you ride. Weight and age limitations usually apply, so it’s a good idea to check ahead before booking your horseback adventure.

8. Bungee Jumping Off the Tower

While it’s not for the faint-hearted, the adrenaline rush that bungee-jumping releases is incomparable. Gatlinburg has towers built just for bungee jumping, complete with all the necessary safety gear and trained professionals to guide you through the experience. It’s one of those things you’ll probably want to talk about for years to come!

9. Exploring the Caves

If you’re fascinated by the mysteries that lie beneath the earth’s surface, caving could be the adventure you’re looking for. Gatlinburg and the surrounding areas offer some intriguing underground worlds ready for you to explore. From beginner-friendly caves with guided tours to more complex systems that require some experience, there’s something for everyone. Guides also share interesting tidbits about the geology and history of the caves you’re exploring. 

It is an entirely different kind of thrill, one that combines physical activity with a sense of awe and wonder as you navigate through the beauty of these caves consisting of ancient stalactites and stalagmites.


So there you have it: 9 outdoor adventures in Gatlinburg that are sure to create unforgettable memories for you with your family and friends. Whether you’re water rafting, zipping through the trees, or riding an ATV through the muddy trails, this place has something for every type of thrill-seeker. So go ahead, step into the great outdoors of Gatlinburg. And remember, while all these activities offer a great way to get an adrenaline rush, safety should always be the priority. Make sure to follow all guidelines and recommendations to ensure that your adventures are safe yet thrilling!