By Leif Palmer
Posted on February 3, 2022
The groundhog says we're going to see six more weeks of winter-like weather, but it's not too early to be dreaming of and planning for a spring or summer vacation in the Great Smoky Mountains. And when you do make that trip to the Smokies this year, you'll have a few new destinations to consider when brainstorming your travel plans. From attractions to long-anticipated restaurants, there's something new to be discovered in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville in 2022. Here's a quick guided tour of what to expect.
Not to be confused with filmmaker George Lucas's famous Skywalker Ranch, this Smoky Mountain attraction is expected to come on line this year. The 100-acre property will be a multipurpose venue, offering a scenic chairlift, an alpine coaster, canopy walks and a suspended bridge as well as shops, restaurants and live entertainment. The owners of SkyLand Ranch are also the proprietors of the Rowdy Bear Mountain Adventure Park in Pigeon Forge and the Rowdy Bear Mountain Coaster in Gatlinburg. SkyLand Ranch sounds like it's going to be similar to the Anakeesta and SkyLift Park attractions in Gatlinburg, but this one will require less of a haul for visitors exiting off Interstate 40.
If you're the kind of person who only enjoys camping with an upscale twist, you might enjoy the glamping possibilities at this new resort, which is now open near Soaky Mountain Waterpark in Sevierville. Plans call for an official grand opening next month. Several glamping options will be available, including covered wagons, Native American-style tipis and small cabins. Treehouses will eventually be among the offerings. And while these units may look rustic on the outside, each comes with electricity, climate controls and Internet service.
The aforementioned Rowdy Bear Mountain Adventure Park in Pigeon Forge is doing double duty this winter as a place where kids and grownups alike can play in the snow. They've transformed their outdoor, downhill-tubing attraction, which is now covered in the white stuff and features a 70-foot drop from top to bottom. In addition to the multilane snow-tubing course, the Rowdy Bear property also offers a laser gun coaster, a power coaster and outdoor axe throwing, just to mention a few of the other activities.
Also, we're still awaiting the imminent opening of Guy Fieri's Downtown Flavortown in Pigeon Forge. The 43,000-square-foot entertainment center will showcase a 300-seat restaurant, a duck pin bowling alley, a state-of-the-art arcade and more.
And remember that anytime your vacation travels take you to Gatlinburg, we have a wide variety of Gatlinburg parking lots downtown to choose from, helping make your visit to town more affordable and convenient to everything you have planned.
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.