By Leif Palmer
Posted on January 23, 2018
Headed to the Smokies this weekend? If so, here are our suggestions for a few cool, fun things you might want to look into. Even if you weren't planning to come to the mountains, maybe these ideas will change your mind:
1. Try square dancing
The 23rd Annual Smoky Mountain Square Dance Celebration takes place January 26 through 28 at the Music Road Convention Center in Pigeon Forge. For $309 per couple, you can start do-si-doing at 7:45 on Friday and promenade until Sunday morning at 11 a.m. The price includes five dance sessions, two nights' lodging, admission to the after party on Saturday night, continental breakfast and access to the resort's indoor pool and sauna.
2. Cheer on the Olympians
The Tennessee Winter Special Olympics also take place this weekend, January 23 through 30, at Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort. More than 150 athletes from all over the state will be waxing their skis and snowboards and sharpening their ice skate blades to prepare for this year's games, with divisions based on age and ability. And while you're up at Ober Gatlinburg, consider strapping on some skis or a snowboard yourself and hitting the slopes or maybe just taking a lap or two on the ice at the resort's indoor skating rink.
3. Tour the lights
Did you know that the Winterfest lights are still up in Gatlinburg, Pigeon and Sevierville? So if you missed all those colorful, twinkling displays during the holidays, you're not too late. You can tour them on your own by car or take one of Gatlinburg's Trolley Rides of Light, starting downtown. You can find plenty of Gatlinburg downtown parking and then walk to the trolley tour's point of origin.
4. Hike the Smokies
Now that all that bitterly cold weather seems to have run its course around here, the conditions are ideal for a seasonal hike in the Great Smoky Mountains. There are some 800 miles of hiking trails in the national park, so pick your favorite, hop in the car and go. Just make sure you're aware of the weather conditions for that day and dress appropriately. Even when temps are in the 40s and 50s in the valley, remember that the elevation in the national park is higher than surrounding areas, so it's usually a few degrees cooler.
5. See a show
Even though many theaters are temporarily closed until spring, a lot of venues are still going strong through the winter, including Dolly Parton's Stampede and the Comedy Bar Theater, both in Pigeon Forge. Check their websites for show schedules, and remember that at the Stampede, you'll get a multicourse meal as well.
About Leif Palmer
Leif Palmer loves residing in Gatlinburg. He is an avid outdoorsman: rowing for exercise on the lake, trail hiking, and free climbing rocks in the mountains. He indulges his arty side by periodically beating up pieces of marble by sculpting. He is always frustrated by his inability to sink long putts, and hates his curly hair (but his wife loves it). Leif has been known to muster enough courage to change a diaper, and hopes his son will become a chip off the old block.