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Smokies with seniors

St Louis
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156 posts
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Smokies with seniors

We are hoping to travel to the area late this summer with our 8 year old daughter, 14 year old niece and my in laws who are in their mid 70's. I am really looking forward to coming but my in laws, while they get around ok, are concerned that they will slow us down too much. Our intent is to primarily enjoy the park and it looks to me as though there are several areas that we can drive to and not subject them to a lot of walking. Would love to find a couple places where we could drive to see some sights, picnic, maybe swim or fish with a few short hiking trails that we (the younger bunch) could go on while grandma and grandpa just relax and enjoy the view. Any recommendations???????

Melbourne, Florida
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for Melbourne, Florida
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1. Re: Smokies with seniors

Here is a great link to trails and other things in the area: http://www.ncguide.com/outdoors/hiking.htm

Stop at the visitors center to pick up your guidebooks and take the tour there. There are hiking trails at both the Oconaluftee and Sugarlands Visitors center. Clingmans Dome would be a short hike you and the kids could do and the inlaws may be able to make it part of the way. It has a great view even if you don't do the hike. I have seen all kinds of people make this hike altho it is a difficult one because of the steepness. Chimney tops is a great picnic area with a stream. On the way to Cades Cove there is a park with picnic tables along the river and Cades Cove itself has a pretty good picnic area. Lots to see and do there. We saw loads of deer this year.

If fishing you will need to purchase a temporary visitors fishing license and check on the rules & regs. Go to the Ocanaluftee visitors center in the evenings (around 6:30) the staff is doing the evening feeding of the animals on the farm and everyone is waiting for the elk and other wildlife to come out of the forest. We only saw one elk this trip but saw a ton of groundhogs in the field near there and most always see some wild turkeys there too.

Tullahoma, Tennessee
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2. Re: Smokies with seniors

Go to Metcalf Bottom Picnic Area. Good place to get in the water for younger ones, nice and shady, easy access to the Greenbrier School House which might be of interest to the older folks.

Go to Oconoluftee Visitors Center to see the farm buildings. This would be of interest to all.

Utilize the "Quiet Walkways." Easy walking for older people but still give a taste of the woods.

Paris, Tn
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for Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge
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3. Re: Smokies with seniors

A great place for the whole family to view some of the sights is Cades Cove auto tour, This is an elevan mile loop tour, from your car. You drive along at about ten mph on a smooth paved road, You can pull off, get out of your car at any point and roam around at your leisure. There are cabins, old churches, barns and cemetaries from the pre Civil war era.

I also agree on Metcalf Bottoms picnic area.....real nice picnic tables, each with its own individual grill. And a nice river to fish or splash in.

A good place to start your day would be at the "Sugarlands visitors center". They sell fine quality souvenirs of the national park, plus they show a short movie all about the smokies. Its very informative and entertaining....plus it's free.

Canada, Kentucky
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4. Re: Smokies with seniors

In addition to Cades Cove, Oconaluftee Farmstead, Sugarlands, Chimney Tops and Metcalf Bottoms....also go to Mingus Mill and they would enjoy Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail just out of Gatlinburg.

5. Re: Smokies with seniors

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