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Spring Outdoor Adventures in the Smoky Mountains

March 13, 2015

Scenic drives, mountain hiking, rafting, going on a zip line, camping and wine festivals? All of this (and much more!) are possible this spring in the Smoky Mountains. We love the outdoors, and know there is a lot to see in do in East Tennessee during the spring. Here are a few of our favorite things:

Spring Camping

Temperatures and weather conditions can vary wildly during the spring, especially in Tennessee. Average highs for March and April are in the mid-60s, which makes for very comfortable hikes and camping most of the time, but this temperature can dip without notice. If you plan on camping during your trip, make sure you have clothing to layer for cooler temperatures, especially at night, and appropriate rain gear for yourself and your campsite.  Be sure to bring other necessary camping equipment like airtight coolers, stove, gas canister, food water, first aid kit and other safety gear. Raft Outdoor Adventures lies within the Cherokee National Forest, and borders Great Smoky Mountain National Park which has more than 30 campgrounds with amenities and services for campers and hikers alike.


Spring is a beautiful time to hike, with trees and plants starting to bud again after the long winter. Temperatures are mild, and allow you to hike comfortably (barring any unforeseen showers!) most days. That being said, warmer temperatures also means everything is thawing in the Smoky Mountains after a long winter, and bring on a unique set of challenges to even the most seasoned hikers. Because the ground is thawing, trails are likely to be muddy and soft. Rockslides are common during the spring as things shift. Try to hike during the coolest part of the day, and always consult with a local ranger about trail conditions. Waterways may also have stronger currents due to higher water volume from melting snow. Try to avoid routes that require crossing rivers and always be aware of the appropriate safety procedures to get out of a strong current if you are caught. This is not to discourage your hiking at all, but to remind you that the Smoky Mountains are even more beautiful when you are able to safely enjoy them. Raft Outdoor Adventures is only 10 minutes away from beautiful hikes. We’re already lacing up our boots, meet us by the Crosby entrance!


Rafting is one of the most popular activities in Hartford and the Cherokee National Forest. We see plenty of visitors throughout the spring, but we offer trips year round! Chilly water is no match for our guides and rafters because they are appropriately outfitted for the cooler temperatures. When choosing a rafting trip, make sure you are choosing one that has well-trained and experienced guides, and will make sure you have all the gear you need to enjoy your trip. We have all of this and top-notch facilities at Raft Outdoor Adventures, and would love to see you out on the Pigeon River. Our blog has more information on topics like what to expect on your first rafting trip or what to wear during a cold weather rafting trip, so by the time you’ll arrive, you’ll be a pro!

Dining, Arts and Crafts

In addition to great outdoor activities to choose from, the Gatlinburg area (only a short drive from Raft Outdoor Adventure’s outpost) is home to many dining, arts, and craft festivals and activities throughout spring. Attend the Gatlinburg Smoky Mountain Wine Festival or chase down flowers during the Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage, both this April. Check out more spring activities in Gatlinburg.

Want something even more adventurous? Consider a rafting + zipline combination! We are a proud partner of Wears Valley Zip line Adventures in Sevierville, TN. You’ll ride through the Smoky Mountains, with gorgeous birds-eye views of Mount LeConte and the Smoky Mountain National Park. Book your rafting + zip line combination trip today and save!


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