Stream-View Rooms and a River Walk along the Roaring Fork
The Roaring Fork stream cascades through Great Smoky Mountains National Park and into Gatlinburg, a town in the foothills of eastern Tennessee. All year, visitors can view the mountain stream from the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, a 6-mile driving path through the park. Along the way, the Roaring Fork winds through old-growth forests and past historic farmsteads dotted with old-fashioned log cabins and gristmills. But guests at Brookside Resort need not go any farther than their own private balconies to get views: the stream runs right past the resort, which lies only half a mile from downtown Gatlinburg.
Despite the backwoods surroundings, the resort’s queen and king rooms have an elegant feel with contemporary bedding and modern amenities, such as flat-screen TVs and whirlpool tubs. Some include wood-burning fireplaces. In the morning, head to the breakfast room for a free hot continental breakfast featuring biscuits and gravy, an oatmeal bar, and other hot breakfast items.
Gatlinburg, Tennessee: Charming Artists’ Village amid Great Smoky Mountains
Gatlinburg rests near Tennessee's eastern border, less than 3 miles from Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Here, you can hike more than 100 trails that wind past waterfalls and pioneer-era log cabins tucked deep within densely forested mountains. Or, take a bicycle ride on the 11-mile loop through Cades Cove, a broad valley of open meadows where you can see deer, black bears, wild turkeys, and vacationing college mascots. Clingmans Dome, the park’s highest point of elevation at 6,643 feet, is a great place to catch the sunset.
There are Class III and IV rapids at Pigeon River, which runs along Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Various outfitters in the area offer whitewater-rafting tours.
Gatlinburg's main attraction is probably the Arts & Crafts Community. It comprises more than 100 craft shops, studios, and cafés, and you can watch artisans as they hand weave baskets and whittle wooden figurines. Downtown Gatlinburg itself is a mountain village filled with old-fashioned ice-cream shops and boutiques selling housemade jams and decorative gewgaws.