Appalachian Trail Thru-hikers to enjoy “Trail Magic” Welcome to Great Smoky Mountains National Park on Easter Sunday

Fontana, North Carolina – will greet thru-hikers on the Appalachian Trail as they enter the Great Smoky Mountains National Park with some “Trail Magic” to celebrate the Easter holiday on April 5, 2015.


As part of the Appalachian Trail’s 90th Anniversary this year, the team will serve a complimentary Easter picnic to individuals who are currently hiking the entire length of the 2,189 mile-long footpath that runs from Georgia to Maine.

“Trail Magic is something no thru-hiker expects, so when it happens it’s quite a welcome surprise,” says Brad Knight, co-founder of, “This is just a great way to pay it forward for the Trail Magic when I hiked.” Knight completed a six-month thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail in 1997.

Northbound hikers enter the Great Smoky Mountains National Park just after crossing over Fontana Dam in North Carolina. They will traverse 71 miles through the National Park’s high country to exit at Davenport Gap in Tennessee. The highest point on the Appalachian Trail is at Clingmans Dome at 6,643 ft.


Brad Knight prepares for “Trail Magic” on the Appalachian Trail.

“We expect to feed anywhere between 20 and 50 thru-hikers,” says Knight, “we coordinated with Jeff Hoch, the owner of The Hike Inn, to scout out a great location on the trail just a few miles before they reach Fontana.”

Although millions of people hike sections of the Appalachian Trail each year, only about a hundred hikers actually complete the entire trail. Most thru-hikers begin the trek in early spring at Springer Mountain, Georgia to walk north with the seasons.

5 Smoky Mountain Breweries You Need to Experience this Year!

5 great smoky mountain breweries

Get “HOPPY” at some of our favorite Smoky Mountain Breweries!

5 Smoky Mountain Breweries You Need to Experience this Year! The HeySmokies region is proud to be home to the finest Breweries in the South East. Sipping a cold beer can wet your whistle on a hot summer day or while relaxing on a cool evening by a Smoky Mountain campfire. It’s arguably the most popular adult beverage at cook outs and sporting events, and everyone has their favorite. For centuries the simplest ingredients of malted grain, water and yeast have been combined to produce a libation enjoyed all over the world!

The advent of microbreweries ushered in a new age of enjoying beer that has taken America by storm, and many varieties and flavors await the discriminating beer connoisseur. As popularity soared craft brewers established themselves in the HeySmokies communities and are letting the good brews flow. Romantic weekends are a great excuse to treat yourself to some tasty suds at these local Smoky Mountain Breweries!

Smoky Mountain Brewery

With four locations in Pigeon Forge, Knoxville, Maryville, and Gatlinburg this popular watering hole is easy to find! Handcrafted small batches ensure the freshness of each pour of their seven core brews. Choose from great flavors of Velas Helles lager, Cherokee Red Ale, Tuckaleechee Porter, Black Bear Ale, Windy Gap Wheat Beer, and Mountain Light. On a warm Smoky Mountain evening the Rasberry Wheat is a great way to cool down. Regular live music makes a flight taste even better. Trivia games are available for those feeling extra intelligent after a few brews!

Nantahala Brewing Company

Nestled in the heart of downtown Bryson City, NC. Nantahala Brewing has the largest daily beer selection on tap with 32 choices. The brewery is hard to miss in a “jumbo” sized quonset hut across the street from the Smoky Mountain Railroad depot. The structure was refurbished in 2009 and is also home to great live music. Nantahala has 5 year round brews,  “Dam Release” seasonals, “Big Water” high gravities, and many more specialty guest brews. The HeySmokies team is partial to the “Trail Magic” which we enjoy after our annual Appalachian Trail thru-hiker trail magic dinner! Tours of the facility are available for those interested in learning the nuances of a perfect brew.

Catawba Brewing Company

The Asheville, North Carolina microbrewery scene is second to none and the Catawba Brewing Company is on the cutting edge. If high gravity is your goal you have come to the right place. No matter if your taste is sweet or bitter Catawba satisfies. The surprising “Peanut Butter Chocolate Stout” lives up to its name and always satisfies. The HeySmokies sampling team took a liking to the “Hopness Monster” IPA which has just the right amount of bitter. Other’s in our crew also enjoyed the “White Zombie” White Ale and the “Deep State” Baltic Porter. Of course no visit to this brewery would be complete without tasting a little “Astral Bootie” Session IPA!

Last Days of Autumn

Knoxville, Tennessee has firmly established itself as a craft brew destination and “Last Days” is setting the standard. Starting as a home brewery over 20 years ago owners Mike and Tracy Frede have begun a tasty tradition of fine beers. “Pardon My Garden,” Biff’s Best,” “Juicy J’s,” are a few of the IPA’s to temp your tastebuds. “Rye Pale Ale,” “Last Days ESB,” and the historic “Kentucky Common,” and many more round out the selection.

Burial Beer Company

Residing in and revitalizing the South Slope District of Asheville, NC, the brewery began its life in summer 2013 as a one-barrel system that grew to a ten-barrel in just over a year. The draft selection has what you are thirsty for with many brews to choose such as “The Shattered Remains of Reality” American Imperial double stout, “Massacre of the Innocents” American IPA, “Wandering in the Vast Emptiness” Berlinner Weise Sour, and the HeySmokies favorite “The Triumph of Death” Sumac Saison. No the beer is not brewed with the infamous poison sumac your mother warned you about but it is packed full of delicious flavor. The names of these beers may take you longer to say than it actually takes to drink the beer but that is all part of the fun!

Alliance Brewing Company

This brewery is found across the Tennessee river south of downtown Knoxville and is worth seeking out. Alliance gets the hops and barley and brews them to perfection. Selections include the “Citra Blonde,” An American Blonde ale that is light and clean with a smooth fruity hop finish. Dry hopped with Citra is the “Citra Mosaic,” IPA, brewed with a California Ale yeast. The “Cubano Coffee Brown” is a malty brown ale brewed with cold brewed coffee from Three Bears Coffee Company. The “Oatmeal Stout” and the “Saison 4” also bring something special to the table with their specialty yeast from London and Belgium.

If you enjoy a good beer you will not be disappointed on your next visit to the HeySmokies region. Take a brew tour of our amazing communities and find out what the fuss it about. Come thirsty and take it all in!




Spring Break 2016 in the Smoky Mountains! There’s Fresh Air and Fun in the Sun in the Smokies!

Spring break at the beach? Yeah, been there done that! Find out why the Great Smoky Mountains are the hippest spring break destination in the country. Families and college kids love these mountains and with more things to do than ever, it’s the place to be!

Spring Break 2016 in Great Smoky Mountains, Charlies Bunion

The view from Charlies Bunion on the Appalachian Trail (photo: Andrew Eames/Independent)

We’ve compiled a list of the Top Activities for Spring Breakers in the Smokies! What will you do this year?

Hit the trail – the Appalachian Trail! 
Sure hiking is great fun year round but springtime is a real treat. The views during spring are second to none in the Smokies’ high country with visibility over one hundred miles (weather dependent, of course!) We suggest driving to Newfound Gap and walking along the famous Appalachian Trail (AT). The leaves are off the trees which afford striking views of the National Park and nearby mountain ranges like the Stecoahs. The hike from Newfound Gap to the Clingmans Dome Observation Tower puts you at the highest elevation on the entire Appalachian Trail! Clingmans Dome is the second highest peak in the Eastern United States at 6,643′ above sea level. The hike from Newfound Gap to Clingmans Dome is a rocky 7.9 miles one-way, so you’ll need to park an extra car at Clingmans Dome or arrange for a pick-up to take you back to Newfound Gap. The hike from Newfound Gap to Charlies Bunion is 8 miles round-trip and offers panoramic vistas along the way to one of the most spectacular bluffs in the Appalachian Mountains. Use caution when exploring the craggy cliffs of the Bunion. Be sure and prepare for the hike with our 10 Essentials for Hiking in the Smokies suggestions. A little nervous about hitting the trails alone? Hire an expert guide to lead the way and enjoy the journey. Our friends at The Wildland Trekking Company can help you out!

Hit the Rocky Top Wine Trail and More!
Almost every group of spring breakers has a party animal in the bunch who will love the diverse choice of wineries, breweries and moonshine distilleries that have exploded in the Smokies. The Rocky Top Wine Trail offers a tour of five wineries in a 12-mile area within the Pigeon Forge/Sevierville TN area. You can sample over 60 varieties of vino and tour the wine cellars and tank rooms of some of the wineries. Pick up your passport and wine glass at your first stop and receive a special free gift upon completing the trail.Rocky Top Wine Trail Map Smoky Mountains

Or perhaps you came to sample some good ol’ Mountain Dew – that’s hillbilly talk for moonshine! It’s legal now and with so many flavors to choose from you could spend all night at the sample bar but save room for some great locally-crafted brews at Smoky Mountain Brewery in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, TN. Sugarlands Distilling Company in Gatlinburg and Ole Smoky Moonshine Holler in Gatlinburg and Ole Smoky Moonshine Barn at The Island in Pigeon Forge offer live music concerts from popular performers. If you’re over on the North Carolina side of the Smokies, be sure to check out the Nantahala Brewing Company in Bryson City for the awesome Trail Magic  Ale.

Grab a Paddle!
If you’re craving some waves this spring break, no worries! There’s waves of fun on a Big Pigeon River Whitewater Rafting adventure! You can choose a wild ride with Class III & IV rapids on the Upper Pigeon or take it slow and easy on your raft on the Lower Pigeon, either way our friends at Smoky Mountain Outdoors can hook you up with a Spring Break adventure you’ll never forget! Be sure to check out Hey Smokies Rafting for more info.

Mountain Bike Trail at CLIMBWorks Gatlinburg TN

Biking in the Mountains! (photo: CLIMBWorks Gatlinburg)

Grab a Rope! Jump on a Mountain Bike!
Your feet won’t touch the ground for 2 1/2 hours on a high-flying Zipline Tour with CLIMBWorks in Gatlinburg. And for a one-of-a-kind mountain bike experience, you don’t even have to bring your own bike! ClimbWorks has everything you need to explore the mountains in a whole new way!

Pitch a Tent!
Camping is always a great way to spend time with your friends and make memories that will last a lifetime. Smoky Mountain memories don’t make themselves they need your help. All you need is a tent, a campfire, s’mores, and a rushing mountain stream and you’re in heaven! It’s often said that camp life is where authentic Smoky Mountain memories are made, and it is so easy to do!  Some favorite Campgrounds in Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Cades Cove, Big Creek, CataloocheeCosby, Elkmont,  Abrams Creek, and Deep Creek. You can reserve your campsite on line at For campgrounds outside of the park, visit Hey Smokies Campgrounds.

If camping isn’t your thing, HeySmokies a great selection of recommendations for Cabins, Condos, and Hotels. Whatever you do this Spring Break…have fun, and remember to Spring Break Responsibly because Smokey is watching!




Impossibilities is an evening of Magic,  Mindreading, and Mayhem at 115 Historic Nature Trail Road in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

Are you looking for an evening of family entertainment in the Great Smoky Mountains? You’re looking for Impossibilities.
Magical Comedian Chris Collins and Master Mentalist Erik Dobell present a night of stunning magic, reality shattering mindreading and hilarious mayhem. An evening of family fun where Impossibilities are brought to life right in front of your eyes.

With a combined 40+ years in the art of magic, Chris Collins and Erik Dobell have traveled from Las Vegas to South Korea performing their award winning shows for audiences and companies such as the NFL, Sony Electronics, and Carnival Cruise Lines. They have been seen on NBC, FOX, and America’s Got Talent; and now they bring their critically acclaimed show to the Historic Gatlinburg Space Needle!

You do not want to miss the opportunity to be amazed and astounded by one of the best shows in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg; you do not want to miss IMPOSSIBILITIES!

For tickets and showtimes for Impossibilities at the Iris Theater, please call (888) 482-3330.

For learn more about Impossibilities visit them at or

Hike into spring in Great Smoky Mountains National Park


The amazing fire pink (Silene virginica) wildflower can often be found in sunny, rocky outcrops alongside trails and roads.

Hike into spring in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Spring in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina is magical. A time of renewal and rebirth and it has never been more welcome than this year following on the heels of the recent devastating fires.

Spring is a season best experienced first hand. Poplar and Sourwood trees are showing their buds. Delicate pink and white Dogwoods can be found blooming throughout the landscape and soon will usher in a blazing display of color as wild azaleas strut their stuff, punctuating the mountains against the dense evergreen of Mountain Laurel, Rhododendron, and Hemlock. A warm, gentle breeze carries the hint of blossoms, moist earth, and that indefinable smell of spring. A favorite activity for us is to hike with spring over the coming months as warm temperatures climb the mountains heralding the seasons change at each elevation.

One of our favorite places to enjoy spring and view amazing wildflowers is the Porters Creek Trail in Greenbrier. This trail is easy to find and fairly easy to walk. In addition to an amazing wildflower display you can enjoy the impressive John Whaley cantilevered barn built in 1875 and the historic Smoky Mountain Hiking Club cabin.


Porters Creek Trail is a great hike for the entire family!

Beyond the the historic structures, a profusion of wildflowers carpet the forest floor. Keep an eye out for bloodroot, hepaticas, white fringed phacelia, trilliums of every color, bluets, and jack in the pulpit.

Approximately two miles above the trailhead is the spectacular Fern Falls which plunges sixty feet down to the trail and beyond to it’s confluence with Porters Creek. These falls are dramatic during times of high water, and the cool breeze flowing down from its rocky heights is always refreshing during warm summer months!

The trail continues another 1.7 miles past Fern Falls ending at Backcountry Campsite 31, a spacious site located conveniently next to Porters Creek and in the shadow of Mount LeConte and adjacent to the Appalachian Trail.