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Top 5 Wildlife Watching Spots

Imagine, if you will, walking along a dirt path, tree’s lining either side of you as you make your way up the mountain to your destination. You look up through the guarding arms of the trees at the blue sky above, where you see a flock of birds drifting high above. A sudden rustling causes your head to turn and a smile to dance across your face as you see a deer peering out between the leaves. If this brief image sets your heart aflame with longing to also walk amongst the trees and gaze upon the local wildlife, then you will feel right at home in the Smoky Mountains. If you come and join us for a time, make sure you also keep in mind these top five Pigeon Forge wildlife watching spots!

Cades Cove

When you come to stay with us, you will find yourself surrounded by the natural world of mountains and trees. However, if you are really wanting to see the Smoky Mountains in all their glory, then maybe consider taking a trip down to Cades Cove. Unlike other places we shall discuss, Cades Cove is unique in that it is also a large campground; thus, giving you the ability to truly be in nature as you drift off to sleep underneath the stars with the nocturnal beasts awakening and filling the night air with the sounds of their exploration. However, if you aren’t the camping type, make sure you still come, as the 11-mile Cades Cove Loop is a great place to catch glimpses of the wildlife hidden among the leaves and branches of the ancient trees. In addition to a good chance of spotting wildlife, if you come in the spring, you will be gifted to beautiful rolling acres of wildlife flowers which paint the terrain. However, in the fall the wildflowers give way for the fiery warm colors of autumn. So, whether you stay for an afternoon walking amongst the trees and catching glimpses of the local wildlife or are planning on staying the night cozy within the confines of your tent, you are sure to have an adventure at Cades Cove!

Laurel Falls Trail

While not the absolute most popular falls in the area, Laurel Falls still manages to attract hundreds of thousands of visitors a year to gaze upon the tumbling waters and see the forest in all its beauty. As well, this 2.4-mile out-and-back trail is one of the easier hikes on this list and makes for a great nature hike for the entire family. At one point being a road for firefighters, the pavement has become quite cracked and broken over the years and from millions of pairs of feet having walked its surface. So, keep in mind strollers or wheelchairs may not have an easy time, despite the way being pathed. Once you set out though, you will quickly be enveloped by the forest as you begin a fairly steep incline.

Upon reaching the 80-foot-tall falls, you will be gifted with a scene straight out of a postcard as the birds twitter, playing a melody atop the rumbling beat of the falls. If you find yourself coming in May, you’ll also be gifted to beautiful blooms on the evergreens which tower and watch over you on your short journey. You’ll have the opportunity to catch glimpses of wildlife in Pigeon Forge, however, if this is your goal it’s suggested to go early on a weekday when the inhabitants of the forest are less likely to be scared off by crowds that frequent the popular hike. However, make sure to stay on your toes as, despite the crowds, a few people have reported seeing bears. So, if you are looking for a beautiful hike, with gorgeous views on top of the ability to glimpse wildlife, then make sure you check out the Laurel Falls Trail.

Rainbow Falls

Rainbow Falls proves to be the most popular waterfall destination trail in the area, and with good reason, as these majestic falls, with their mysterious forests, look like something out of a fantasy book. When you first set out upon this 5.1-mile out-and-back trail, you’ll find yourself meandering along Le Conte Creek, and a mile in you’ll find a wonderful overlook to sit and gaze out across the lush forest that stretches out like a sea of green. As you continue on, you’ll be gifted to several smaller falls which are just as serene as the ones you’ve come to see, if not a bit smaller. However, upon reaching the falls, you’ll be breathless as the rock outcropping towers above, it’s torrential downpour of water filling the air with a light mist, which, if the sun is right, casts an elegant rainbow, truly making you feel as if you are stumbling into a story book. It truly is no wonder that the Rainbow Falls bring in an average of two million visitors a year, especially when one considers the vast array of wildlife that is often spotted scurrying about their day. You’ll find yourself catching glimpses of white-tailed deer, coyote, groundhogs, turkey, raccoons, skunks, black bears and more! So, if you want to see explore a truly magical trail and see all the Pigeon Forge wildlife that calls the area home, make sure you check out Rainbow Falls!

Clingmans Dome Observation Tower Trail

This 1.2 mile out and back trail not only gives you unprecedented views of the forest bellow you, which truly looks like a rolling sea as the colored branches meld into a solid fluctuating color with all the shades of green that one can imagine. Not only this, but in the spring, you’ll be gifted to additional views of wildflowers which paint a dazzling array of colors. Upon reaching the summit of this steep trek, you’ll be gifted to unforgettable panoramic views of the Smoky Mountain and the Spruce Fir Forest from Clingman’s Dome. However, considering you are at the highest point in Tennessee (6,643 feet), make sure to bring a jacket as the magnificent views come at a rather chilly cost. While the trek is steep, it’s short length makes it perfect for kids and everyone else in the family, ensuring that nobody must miss out on this breathtaking nature hike. Not only is it beautiful, but you are almost assured to catch plenty of glimpses of wildlife either on your trip up, or as you gaze down upon the forest floor far below. So, grab some binoculars, a bottle of water, strap on your boots and come visit the Clingman’s Dome Observation Tower Trail!

Alum Cave Trail

We now come to our number one place for nature watching, and it is number one for a reason. Not only will you be surrounded by only the natural world for miles around, considering the difficulty of this hike, you are assured a much more private hike, ensuring that the forest critters aren’t scared away by the noise of hundreds of stomping feet. This 10.9-mile out-and-back trail is considered difficult, but it is well worth it with many beautiful natural formations to view and plenty of wildlife to gaze upon. You’ll see both a natural waterfall, perfect for a rest as you are lulled into a meditative state by the tumbling waters. You’ll find many other spots that are perfect for a picture or two, including the Arch Rock, which thousands of years of erosion has sculpted into a natural archway perfect for the quick selfie. You’ll also find your breath catching in your throat as you reach Inspiration Point, aptly named as you will get a phenomenal view of Little Duck Hawk Ridge, The Eye of the Needle, and Myrtle Point upon Mount LeConte. Of course, there is the natural cave that names the trail, and which is perfect for a rest as you watch the birds glide above, or maybe some squirls or rabbits running across the forest floor. After a long afternoon of hiking, exploring, and interacting with the natural wildlife in Pigeon Forge, rest easily knowing that at the peak sits the only formal lodging in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, which is a great place to grab a drink, a bite to eat, and relax your weary legs after your mighty hike.

Explore Your Surroundings in Gatlinburg

If reading about these wildlife watching spots has you wishing to go to these natural wonders in person and to see all the creatures, big and small, who call the forest their home, then make sure you contact Kaizen Rentals today at 865-224-7177 or book your rental property online!