Free Smoky Mountain Ranger Events

Find all the free Smoky Mountain Ranger events on the daily events calendar!

Find all the free Smoky Mountain Ranger events on the daily events calendar!

Free Smoky Mountain Ranger Events occur each day all summer long. 2019 is the perfect year to enjoy some quality time with a ranger in Great Smoky Mountains National Park! All the free events can be found on our daily events and special events calendars year round! Your favorite places in the Smoky Mountain like Sugarlands, Cades Cove, Elkmont, Oconaluftee and Cataloochee all offer fun and informative ranger events that the entire family will enjoy.

Bring out the Junior ranger in yourself and your kids with a fun program like Stream Splashers. This is your chance to get wet and wild with a ranger.
You won’t have to guess what all those crazy critters are that you find in our cool, clear mountain streams. Tadpoles, salamanders and more slimy things than you can shake a stick at are waiting to be discovered.

Got a hankerin’ to do some hammerin’? Regular blacksmithing demonstrations will introduce you to the ways of the anvil. Cades Cove blacksmith shop will be stoking the fires and creating useful tools and decorative works of art. Once the blacksmith was an integral part of every community forging everything from nails to build homes to horseshoes to keep the farms and mountain commerce moving. Discover the mysterious art of working metal.

Ranger campfire talks are your chance to discover secrets of the Smoky Mountains. Topics discussed are bear safety, what kind of snakes and reptiles inhabit the park, what is an elk rut and much more! Kick back and relax under the stars with a cozy fire burning bright and let your imagination run wild through the hills!

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Cades Cove Loop Lope 2019

Cades Cove Loop Lope is your chance to experience the beauty of Cades Cove in an all new way!

Cades Cove Loop Lope is your chance to experience the beauty of Cades Cove in an all new way!

Cades Cove Loop Lope is a Great Smoky Mountain Special Event! The Cades Cove Foot Race (AKA – the Cades Cove Loop Lope) hosted by Friends of the Smokies and the Knoxville Track Club is scheduled for Sunday, November 3, 2019. This exciting race was originally billed as a one time event at it’s inauguration in 2010. Since then it has grown in popularity. Participation is limited to 750 total runners and all participants will be awarded a t-shirt and finishers medallion.

We are very excited to bring this race back to such a beautiful part of our national park,” said, Friends of the Smokies spokesperson. “This is a unique way to experience the splendor of the Cove and raise money to protect it for future generations at the same time.

Friends of the Smokies will provide more than $90,000 for historic preservation and wildlife management programs in Cades Cove and a total of $1.4 million for other critical park projects.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Superintendent Cassius Cash remarked the race marks an opportunity to connect with the next generation of public lands stewards who are active in our national parks.

We are pleased to work with the Friends to offer this opportunity that supports the park and encourages people to use the park for fitness,” said Superintendent Cash. “The park provides an incredible setting for people to improve mind, body, and spirit.”

Registration begins July 16, 2019 at Participants can choose between the 3.1 mile (5K) or the 10-mile loop routes. Each race is $75.00 to enter.

Carpooling is essential to maximize participation in this race. Only 100 vehicle passes will be available for purchase for an additional $35 fee when registration opens. Registrants who do not purchase a vehicle pass must either carpool with a passholder they know or utilize the group transportation option which will be provided by Friends of the Smokies.

A virtual race can be run (or walked!) anytime, anywhere, even indoors or on a treadmill. Virtual runners will receive a race t-shirt and undated finisher’s medallion via mail, however, they will not be eligible for awards. ***ONLY runners registered for the virtual race will receive t-shirt and medallion via mail. There is no packet mailing for this race.

Ginseng Harvesting

Smoky Mountain Ginseng, miracle plant, facto or fiction?

Smoky Mountain Ginseng, miracle plant, facto or fiction?

Ginseng Harvesting. Ginseng; miracle plant? Fact or fiction? There are many uses for this fascinating native plant that grows wild and randomly from forests in Mississippi, across the eastern mountains of the United States to the remote areas of China. Ginseng refers to 11 different varieties of a short, slow-growing plant with fleshy roots. One of the most enduring of the herbal remedies, it is believed by many to restore and enhance well being.

American Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius, L. ) is easily overlooked blending in readily with other plants, such as poison oak. It begins as a single stem in spring and then adds a flush of leaves that are later adorned by lipstick red berries that appear and last just a week in mid-summer. Below ground the root (actually a rhizome) grows at a snail’s pace, adding wrinkles much like a tree adds rings.  It is the root, and it’s monetary value, that has lured people for decades to search for the elusive tuber. The location of many “secret” Ginseng spots is often passed from generation to generation, but that could soon be a thing of the past as ginseng is at risk due to over harvesting and loss of habitat.

Famed botanist William Bartram.

Famed botanist William Bartram.


The Cherokees speak of the plant as a sentient being….able tomake itself invisible to those unworthy to gather it.-William Bartram, naturalist, Philadelphia, 1781.



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Smoky Mountain Farmers Markets. Get Your Fresh On!

Smoky Mountain Farmers Markets

Yum Yum! Photo credit:

Smoky Mountain Farmers Markets. Get Your Fresh On! Smoky Mountain Farmers Markets are open for business! Bring the whole family and fill up on fresh veggies!

Downtown Sevierville Farmers Market
Downtown Gazebo on Bruce Street
Fridays from 9:00 am until 1:30 pm
This weekly Smoky Mountain special event downtown Sevierville showcases area farmers delicious produce and more. The farmers market boasts over 30 vendors! For more information, visit Sevierville Commons Association on Facebook.

Gatlinburg Farmers Market
The Covered Bridge in Arts & Crafts Community
849 Glades Road
Saturdays from 8:30 am until 12:00 noon
The Gatlinburg Farmers Market just gets better and better each year! Every second Saturday, the market hosts local musicians and other special events. Every fourth Saturday, kids will enjoy a special treasure hunt!  It’s fresh food, fun, and extra nice folks at the Gatlinburg Farmers Market! For more information, visit Gatlinburg Farmers Market.

Seymour Farmers Market
First Baptist Church of Seymour, Lower Level Parking Lot
11621 Chapman Highway, Seynour
Saturdays from 8:00 am to 12:00 noon
Enjoy the fresh bounty of summer at the Seymour Farmers Market. It is hard to beat all the delicious veggies at this family friendly event! For more information, visit

Sevier Farmers Co-op Market
Sevier Farmers Co-op Parking Lot
321 West Main Street, Sevierville
Wednesdays & Saturdays from 8:00 am to 12 noon
This is a simple market where local farmers gather weekly to sell their fresh produce. The market accepts cash. For more information, call 865-453-7101 or visit Sevier Farmers Co-op.

Wheels Through Time Museum Showcases Rare Motorcycles

Rare 1916 Traub Motorcycle on display in Maggie Valley, North Carolina.

Rare 1916 Traub Motorcycle on display in Maggie Valley, North Carolina. Photo credit: ride apart.

Wheels Through Time Museum Showcases Rare Motorcycles. Seventeen of the world’s rarest bikes will be on display for a limited time. Dale’s Wheels Through Time Museum will celebrate 17 years of operation in Maggie Valley with an exhibit of 17 of the rarest bikes in its collection.

The unique site is nicknamed “The Museum That Runs” because every motorcycle, auto or machine in the collection can fire up and run. In fact museum staff regularly cranks up to 20 different bikes for visitors each day it is open. Owner Dale Walksler, who opened the North Carolina site in 2002, dedicates the first week of July to celebrate the goal of educating visitors about the importance and history of American transportation. This year the museum plans a special exhibit of 17 vintage cycles including the museum’s crown jewel 1916 Traub, the “world’s rarest motorcycle.” This treasure was discovered inexplicably bricked up behind a wall in Chicago, Illinois in 1968. Hidden from view for more than 50 years, the Traub is truly a one-of-a-kind classic American motorcycle and the only example of its kind ever found. According to the Traub was bought in 1972 by Bud Ekins, famous for his work as Steve McQueen’s stuntman. Ekins later sold the Traub to collector Richard Morris who then sold it to Walksler in the mid 1990s.  Walksler, who has been riding, working on, and collecting classic American cycles for more than 40 years, is passionate about the unique machine (which is still ridden on a fairly regular basis) and is quoted as saying that “everything inside the engine is just magnificent.” The machine is shrouded in mystery. There are no photos or documentation, nor has anyone claimed knowledge of it’s origin. Unique in construction, the machine features hand-made pistons with ap-less cast iron rings. Dale is quoted as saying that the engineering and machining were “years ahead of their time.”  Without any documentation, Dale was able to date the bike by many of the motorcycles off-the shelf parts that include a Schebler carburetor, a Bosch magneto, a troxen jumbo seat and unique wheel rims.

The museum’s collection also includes a 1917 Henderson four-cylinder motorcycle that was once ridden by Maldwin Jones in an attempt to set a 24-hour speed record in Ohio. Others on exhibit include an experimental 1941 Harley Davidson Shaft-Driven Knuckle-head Servi-Car, one of only 17 built for the United States Military. For 17 days prior to the Fourth of July, museum staff will fire up one of the rare bikes each day. The celebration continues with a special Saturday, July 6 when all 17 of the world’s best machines will all be started during the day-long festivities.

The 17th anniversary weekend runs July 4-8 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m… Admission is $15 for adults and $7 for children aged 6-14. Discount rates for senior citizens and military veterans are $12.

For information, visit of call 828-926-6266.