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Two-Day Guide - Gatlinburg, TN

Updated: Jul 24, 2022

I've never had much of a desire to visit Tennessee until recently, and I'm not sure what changed, but the more I started looking into things to do there, specifically in the Smoky Mountain region, I became more and more intrigued. A few months ago, I texted two of my friends and asked if they wanted to take a weekend trip to Gatlinburg / the Smokies and they said yes! I wasn't sure what to expect when I visited Gatlinburg, but boy I was not underwhelmed, as a matter of fact, I was slightly overwhelmed. The city of Gatlinburg is located right outside of Smoky Mountain National Park, and there is so much to do! We only had about a day and a half to spend here, but we were still able to fit a lot in. In this guide I'll share some of the things I did in my weekend in Gatlinburg, but I'll also share some of the stuff that was recommend to me by others that I didn't quite get the chance to do. No matter what you like to do, you will find something you enjoy in Gatlinburg!

Day One: Take a short waterfall hike and enjoy sunset at Skylift Park

We had originally planned to get to Gatlinburg Friday around 1:30pm, however, roadtripping from Richmond, VA we hit traffic, stopped a few times for food and gas (shoutout gas shortage), and ultimately didn't arrive until closer to 4:30pm. While we had originally planned to do a 4-mile elevation hike, we decide to change our plans around, and it worked out fine! As soon as we entered Gatlinburg, we immediately headed to Laurel Falls Trail a short, easy 3-mile roundtrip hike that's leads to a beautiful waterfall. There are a few good waterfall spots that I've heard about throughout the Smokies, but this one made the most sense with the time and energy that we had after a 10+ hour car ride! Laurel Falls certainly did not disappoint, and it wasn't super crowded which was nice.

Laurel Falls Waterfall

After taking some pictures and hanging out at the waterfall for a bit, we decided to head into town and pick up our wristbands for Skylift Park. Skylift Park is located at 765 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738 (it's pretty hard to miss!) and is about $28 for adults, and you get a wristband which allows you access to the Skylift, Skybridge, SkyDeck, SkyCenter, and SkyTrail (which I didn't find out about until after the fact, so now you know!) You can also buy a combination ticket for about $50 which also allows access into Ripley's Believe it or Not Museum. After purchasing your wristband, you hop on a ski lift that takes you up to the top of the Observation Deck. Here you are met with stunning views of the town below as well as the surrounding mountains. On the deck is the famous Skybridge - The longest suspension bridge in North America! You can walk the length of the bridge, and take pictures, take in the amazing views, and adventure onto the glass floor in the center of the bridge. When you are finished everything Skylift Park has to offer, you can head back down via ski lift and explore the town more. I definitely recommend visiting Skylift Park on Friday as opposed to Saturday because we noticed the crowds were much larger Saturday night. We had to be checked into our airbnb in the next town over by a certain time, so we decided to leave Gatlinburg and head to our airbnb right after Skylift Park, however, I will include some places to check out for dinner a little lower down!