Book A Slice of Heaven! Moose Creek Crossing Cabins Rentals Offers Something for Everyone!

The phone’s ringing, the dog’s barking, the kids are fighting, and your boss has some questions about the proposal you worked all night to perfect. It’s past time to soak your weary soul in the peace and quiet of the Smoky Mountains. Chances are Moose Creek Crossing Cabin Rentals has a beautiful, comfortable accommodation to provide the perfect backdrop for a much needed respite.

Moose Creek Crossing Cabin Rentals Smoky MountainsMoose Creek Crossing Cabins Interior

At Moose Creek Crossing Cabin Rentals, choose from 80 quality cabin properties ranging in size from 1 to 7 bedrooms, many with sweeping mountain views in the Wears Valley, Pigeon Forge, Sevierville, and Gatlinburg areas.

  • Maybe you want to escape with only your spouse in tow to a tucked away cabin that offers privacy, no view necessary, just the sweet mountain air and the promise of all that the area has to offer in entertainment just a few miles away.
  • Perhaps you envision getting away with a group of friends to hike, take pictures and roast marshmallows into the night, finally savoring the relationships the hustle and bustle of life have placed on the back burner.

Whatever your needs, Moose Creek Crossing’s owner Connie Stoutamire, who makes it her life’s work to provide “a quality, clean, affordable cabin” to the thousands of sojourners from life’s trenches who make their way to these gorgeous hills every year, is sure to have one available that you will love.

If bringing your dog is a MUST for a good time, Connie can hook you up! Several of the properties are pet-friendly! Amenities such as fully-equipped kitchens, large-screen televisions, high-speed internet and luxurious hot tubs mean that you can arrive frazzled and leave refreshed!

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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 Recreation.gov. 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!

Cantilever Barns? HeySmokies! What’s Up With That?

What’s up with those oddly-shaped barns in the Smokies? Well, the cantilever barn is a late-19th century style of architecture found primarily in Sevier and Blount counties in east Tennessee. The unusual design features an overhang, or cantilever, over one or more storage areas known as a crib to the mountain farmer.

Cantilever Barns Great Smoky Mountains National Park

It’s believed that this architectural style of barns predates the more modern design principle of “form follows function.” Because the Great Smoky Mountains receive over 80 inches rainfall annually, they are one of the rainiest places in the continental United States. This high level of rain and humidity in the Smokies created a constant struggle for farmers to keep their crops from rotting. The cantilever barn provided a great solution for funneling rain off the roof and away from the storage cribs. The open space between the cribs kept the structure ventilated allowing air to circulate further reducing spoiled inventory.

There is also a long-standing rumor in the Smokies that the unique cantilever design was created to stay one step ahead of the government tax man. Apparently, taxes were assessed based on the total square footage of a structure touching the ground. Barely a third of the cantilever barn is on ground level. By building a cantilever barn instead of a traditional barn the farmer would have saved big on his tax return!

Cantilever Barn in Greenbrier Great Smoky Mountains National ParkCantilever Barn at Greenbrier Hiker Cabin Smoky Mountains National Park

There are several examples of the cantilever barn in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. In Cades Cove  the Tipton Homeplace has a nice double cantilever barn at the Cable Mill Historic Area. Hikers will want to seek out the John Messer double cantilever barn one mile up Porters Creek trail in Greenbrier. The Mountain Farm Museum at Oconaluftee has fine examples of both single and double cantilever barns.

Cribs housed livestock, tools, agricultural products and supplies. The cribs often measured twelve feet by eighteen feet and had a breezeway separating them. The upper logs of each crib were much longer than the others to create the cantilever. The cantilever doubled as the floor for the large upper loft.  The loft was typically used for storing hay and drying tobacco.The cantilever barns often had a gabled roof.

In the 1980’s author historians Marian Moffett and Lawrence Wodehouse documented 6 cantilever barns in Virginina, 3 in North Carolina, 183 in Sevier County, Tennessee and 106 in adjacent Blount County, Tennessee.

Family-Friendly Fall Hikes for Different Skill Levels

When it comes to hiking it seems like everyone has a different skill and interest level, so here are four family-friendly fall hikes to please most everyone. An all-day trek covering many miles may be your thing; however someone in your bunch may prefer just a short, quiet walk in the woods. With that in mind, we have some suggestions for some great fall hikes that range from easy to difficult.

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Lace up your hiking boots, or your walking shoes, do a couple of simple stretches, and enjoy kicking through the colorful and crunchy leaves on these favorite trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park this season!

  • Sugarlands Nature Trail (.5 mile roundtrip, easy)
    Sugarlands Nature Trail is found 1/4 mile south of Sugarlands Visitor Center on Newfound Gap Road. The trail is a paved, handicap accessible, path that is 1/2 mile in length. The trail follows the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River upstream with benches for relaxing and plenty of access for trout fisherman. The Sugarland Valley is acclaimed for the beautiful fall foliage. Once dominated by the sugar maple tree, today it is a mixed hardwood forest with a dazzling diversity of fall color.
  • Laurel Falls Trail (2.6 miles roundtrip, moderate)
    The Laurel Falls trailhead is on Little River Road four miles west of Sugarlands Visitor Center. The trail is paved but is considered moderate in difficulty. The 2.6 mile round-trip hike is well worth it with a 80-foot tall waterfall to reward your effort. If you hit this trail at the right time of the season the fall colors are amazing! We suggest early to mid October. This is one of the Park’s busiest trails, so a good off-time to hike is during the week or early before 10:00 a.m.
  • Abrams Falls Trail (5 miles roundtrip, moderate)
    The Abrams Falls Trail is found halfway around the Cades Cove Loop Road approximately 1/2 mile before the Cable Mill Historic Area and Visitor Center. The hike is 5 miles round trip and is considered moderate in difficulty. Again the rewards for this hike are big with an up close view of the 20-foot tall Abrams Falls from its base. Keep an eye on the creek as you walk along and you may be fortunate to see some playful river otters. The best chance for viewing fall color in Cades Cove is usually mid-to-late October due to its lower elevation;  however, with sweeping views of the Stateline Divide there is always some color in view at some elevation.
  • Alum Cave Bluffs Trail (4.6 miles roundtrip, difficult)
    Alum Cave Bluffs Trail is one of the most popular in the Smokies and is found on Newfound Gap Road 8.6 miles south of Sugarlands Visitor Center. Get an early start and avoid the crowds. This relatively short walk, 2.3 miles one way, is considered difficult due to a rise in elevation of almost 1,500 feet. The steep climb does however provide amazing views of some of the most famous geologic features in the Park, like Arch Rock and the Chimneys. The hike to the bluffs is 4.6 miles round-trip. This hike combines Cove Hardwood Forest and the edge of the Canadian Zone Spruce Fir Forest giving the hiker the opportunity to experience a wide diversity of fall color. The Smokies are often described as being on fire during the fall when the vibrant red and yellow foliage are at peak. Don’t miss your chance to see it in 2015.

Keep up with the Fall Color Report from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park Service!

HIKER PLANNING TIP: Always be prepared for the unexpected when you step into the wilds of the Great Smoky Mountains. For a complete breakdown of the minimal supplies you should always carry visit our blog on the Ten Essentials.

Smoky Mountain Field School Celebrates 38 Years of Educational Adventures!

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Smoky Mountain Field School staff and students at LeConte Lodge on June 20, 2015.

The Smoky Mountain Field School Celebrates 38 Years of Educational Adventures in 2015! Which exciting adventure are you going to claim as your own this year? Here’s just a few of the many popular programs along with some brand-new workshops and activities that you’ll want to check out!

The University of Tennessee and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park came together in 1977 to form the highly successful Smoky Mountain Field School. High-quality weekend workshops, hikes and other adventures are taught by UT professors, naturalists, and other experts at many locations in and around the National Park. Courses are considered non-credit personal development.

Saturday, August 15, 2015 @ 9:30 amsmoky-mountain-field-school-logo-heysmokies
The Calderwood History Tour with Bill Landry
Join the host of the Emmy award-winning Heartland Series, Bill Landry as he takes you on the “Dragon Tour” of scenic Highway 129 visiting Chilhowee, Abrahms Creek, Tallassee, and Calderwood. Not a lot hiking on this tour, but you can bet there’ll be a whole lot of gabbing! Bring a sack lunch and enjoy the day exploring the ways and sayings of southern Appalachia with the Smokies’ favorite storyteller. (Cost $79)

Saturday, August 29, 2015 @ 10:00 am
Care and Release of Orphaned and Injured Bear Cubs with Coy Blair
Coy Blair, biologist with Appalachian Bear Rescue, shares the rehabilitation process for orphaned and injured black bears. Blair shares the mission of the organization, safety and veterinary care, work-up techniques, and stories of successful releases into the wilderness. (Cost $79)

Saturday, September 12, 2015
Understanding the Black Bear with Joel Zachry
Zachry is a biologist and author of Bears We’ve Met – Short Stories of Close Encounters. Additionally, he’s spent time guiding hikes in Alaska’s black and brown bear country. This course offers you the opportunity to learn about black bear habitat and life in the Smoky Mountains. Class includes an easy-to-moderate hike to explore den sites, foods and other interesting facts about the elusive black bear. (Cost $79)

Saturday, September 15, 2015 @ 9:30 am
Cades Cove History Tour with Bill Landry
Spend another delightful day with Bill Landry, the popular author of Appalachian Tales & Heartland Adventures, in beautiful Cades Cove. Landry will spin tales of the original settlers, bringing them to life in the telling of their early adventures in the mountains. Pack a lunch and get ready for a little walking and talking with a historian and master storyteller. (Cost $79)

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Saturday, October 17, 2015 @ 10:00 am
Bears of Our Smokies with Joey Holt
It’s seems that everyone this year has gone “bear crazy” so the Smoky Mountain Field School is meeting our need for all things bears with another informative course taught by expert outdoorsman Joey Holt. As a board member of Appalachian Bear Rescue, Holt has a unique knowledge of bears in the Great Smoky Mountains. Join him for a beautiful autumn hike to learn how to identify bear tracks and trails, and other often overlooked signs. (Cost $79)

Saturday, October 31, 2015 @ 9:00 am
Mt. LeConte Hike and Overnight in the Lodge with Arthur “Butch” McDade & Brad Knight
Historic LeConte Lodge is the only lodging available in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and has been a popular destination for hikers and backpackers since the 1920’s. At 6,000 feet in elevation the five-mile hike is strenuous, but you’ll enjoy the rustic accommodations and hearty meals at the Lodge. Instuctor “Butch” McDade is a 30 year veteran of the National Park Service and author of two books, The Natural Arches of the Big South Fork and Old Smoky Mountain Days. Brad Knight is an Appalachian Trail thru-hiker, naturalist, and founder of HeySmokies.com. Join them for an unforgettable experience on the mountain. (Cost $195)

For a complete list of available 2015 Courses, visit Smoky Mountain Field School. For more information on the Smoky Mountain Field School, email smfs@utk.edu or call 865-974-0150.

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