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As the gateway to one of the most popular national parks east of the Mississippi, Gatlinburg is rich in a wide variety of outdoor activities. Hiking and backpacking are two of the leading pursuits at Great Smoky Mountains National Park, with miles of trails of varying difficulties and elevations. Camping is also a popular option for those heading to the national park, but there is plenty more. There are at least three campgrounds to choose from in the area.
http://www.nps.gov/grsm/index.htm . To get the most our of your trip into the Park, take a guided walk with the oldest guide service in the area,
http://www.awalkinthewoods.com. They'll show you the sites and sounds of the Smokies with easy, hands on trips to some of the best kept secrets in the Smokies. One of the most popular spots for bicycling in the area is the Cades Cove loop, a part of the national park that winds 11 miles through the site of a former 19th century Appalachian village. The one-way road on this loop makes it especially bike-friendly. There are also at least two stables offering guided horseback tours on national park land.
The rugged terrain and many rushing rivers also make this a prime spot for whitewater rafting, and you can find outfitters throughout the region, including outside of Gatlinburg and the National Park. One option is Pigeon River Outdoors, Inc. http://www.raftinginthesmokies.com/
With so many waterways to choose from, this area is also renowned for great fresh-water fishing. You can fish in the Little Pigeon River near downtown Gatlinburg, or try your luck in one of the park's many streams.
Golfers will also enjoy Gatlinburg, and local courses have taken advantage of the rugged terrain to provide some unique golf holes with beautiful scenery. One popular option is the Gatlinburg Golf Course http://www.gatlinburg-tennessee.com/g... and another is the Bent Creek Golf Course. http://www.bentcreekgolfcourse.com/
Finally, some may be surprised to find that this beautiful area in the South is home to a winter ski area. The Ober Gatlinburg resort offers skiing, snowboarding and skating in wintertime, several thousand feet above sea level.