By Leif Palmer
Posted on May 7, 2019
Last week, we told you about the annual Wildflower Pilgrimage in Gatlinburg, which is one of the area's top nature-themed special events in the Smokies. If you missed it, however, you still have a chance to learn all about our natural surroundings here in East Tennessee. Anyone planning to be in the area this week should attend Wilderness Wildlife Week, currently taking place at the LeConte Center in Pigeon Forge through Saturday, May 11.
Wilderness Wildlife Week is a week of programming that celebrates the Smoky Mountains through guided hikes, classes, history, art, music and more. From educational programs designed specifically for kids to guided treks into the national park, WWW's variety of activities is geared toward all ages and interests.
Excursions range from short, easy bird walks around the LeConte Center to strenuous hikes to national park sites like Charlies Bunion and Ramsey Cascade. These outings are led by knowledgeable guide who are prepared to share all kinds of information about the wildlife of that area as well as its history.
At the LeConte Center, you can also attend dozens of classes and workshops, with subject matter as diverse as bobcat trails, spin fishing, photography, backyard birding, wildflowers, dulcimer music and outdoor ethics.
One of the headline speakers at this year's WWW is author and forensic anthropologist Dr. Bill Bass, who will be talking about everything from Appalachian adventures to the famed Body Farm near the University of Tennessee.
Although there's plenty of free parking at the LeConte Center, those participating in outings in the national park are responsible for their own transportation to the various meeting sites and trailheads. As a result, many guests choose to stay in Gatlinburg so they can be close to the different park destinations.
However, even if you drive into the area to participate for just one day, you can make your outdoor excursion in the mountains, then park your car in Gatlinburg at one of our seven conveniently located parking lots and take a Gatlinburg trolley to Pigeon Forge for the programming taking place at the LeConte Center. It's just a good strategy for minimizing the time and expense involved with driving your own vehicle all over the area.
Once you're finished at the LeConte Center, just take a trolley back to Gatlinburg, where you can browse downtown's shops, attractions and restaurants before wrapping up your great day in the Smokies.
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.