Romantic Cabins Scattered in Great Smoky Mountain Backcountry
The Great Smoky Mountains unfold in rolling peaks, which turn a hazy blue in the morning fog that gives the range its name. As Creekwalk Inn and Cabins innkeeper Janice Haynes describes, "It's the most amazing place in the southeast. There are 42 mountains in the Appalachian Mountain Chain over 6,000 feet; 40 peaks are in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park." Her 50-acre inn is nestled beside these peaks and trailheads—and Janice encourages exploration, packing lunches for her guests and helping them plan hikes before they venture out onto the trails.
Eighteen miles from the inn you'll find a handful of one-room cabins scattered about a 30-acre river bluff. Each cabin provides the secluded feel of backcountry camping but with the added bonus of a hot tub, outdoor swing, and access to the trout stream that runs by. You can step out onto the wraparound deck and, Janice reports, "see sky and trees and no neighbors." Cabins come with charcoal grills and kitchens, so you can cook your own meals.
Cosby, Tennessee: Appalachian Wilderness near Lively Entertainment
Among the many Appalachian peaks rising above Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the nearly 5,000-foot Mount Cammerer stands out: it has a glassed-in fire tower at its summit, which boasts 360-degree views of surrounding hardwood forests. Starting near the town of Cosby, the Lower Mount Cammerer Trail wends up the alpine cliffs. Although challenging, the trail remains accessible year-round to well-bundled climbers and sniffles-prone mountain goats thanks to eastern Tennessee's moderate climate. Linking to the Mount Cammerer path, the Appalachian Trail forms a gateway to thousands of miles of hiking. The area also offers multiple whitewater rafting and zipline options.
About 20 miles to the east of Cosby, the entertainment enclaves of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge feature country-music revues and live comedy shows.