What trip to the Tennessee side of the Smoky Mountains would be complete without a trip to Dollywood? We visited Dollywood on our second full day in Tennessee as the kids couldn’t wait. It was pricey, but reasonable I guess compared to other amusement parks. I wasn’t prepared for how big it was. There’s no way you could do it all, or most of it all, in a day. On recommendation from one of the park goers we met on line we had the kid’s heights measured early on so we would be able to easily know which of the rides they would be allowed on. There are many coasters here and most of the park would probably be suited for kids a little bit older but we had a blast any way.
We first got our feet “wet” at The Smoky Mountain Rampage Rapids and then moved onto the Dollywood Express Train Ride. Ryan just loves trains and the authentic Baldwin 2-8-2 Locomotive just made all the right sounds, motion and smells to make any train enthusiast grin from ear to ear. We then rode a few kiddy rides in the Owen’s Farm section of Dollywood and then had lunch as everybody was getting a bit hungry and tired. The kids were nice enough to put a performance on while we ate in a pavilion that just happened to be facing an open stage.
We rallied after lunch as we had to get Sarah on a coaster for the trip to be complete. I took Sarah on the Firechaser Express while Linda, Ava and Ryan went on the River Battle Ride and got totally soaked as she was outmatched with only a three and four year old on her boat.
The Firechaser Express was Sarah’s first backward roller coaster. She’s been around you know- Space Mountain! When you leave the “station” it looks as if you’re going to run into the back of the coaster that left right before you but they switch the tracks. You then go on a high speed ride to a fireworks depot which proceeds flashover while you’re in it! You then do the whole course backwards! Sarah loved it. She’s got an iron stomach.
All in all, we had a great time in Dollywood. A bit pricey as I mentioned before but Dolly Parton helped so many families in the Gatlinburg area after the wildfires that we couldn’t prevent ourselves from feeling that some of the money we spent there went to families that so need it so very much. More on the Smoky Mountains to follow so stay tuned. Thanks for stopping by.
After our Laurel Falls Hike the kids were pretty tired so we decided to let them sleep while we drove the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail.
This trail is a one way 8 mile loop and provides some great views of the park for perhaps those that are unable to hike. It also accesses a few trailheads and picnic areas along the way. I turned on the dash cam for our drive through and sped up the footage so if you’d like to see what the drive consists of check out the video below.
At the end of the video you can see some effects of the wildfires, namely the burned out log cabins on the right side of the road. We saw a lot of this during our stay at The Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It almost seems like the main fire in the remote areas of the park set many spot fires here and there possibly from brands being taken by the wind. Thanks for stopping by.
We recently just returned from our second big trip in George, our new camper. I’m happy to say everything went well and we all had a blast. It was a bout a 700 mile trip down. We left on a Tuesday night and drove for about five or six hours staying overnight in Maryland and finished the drive the following morning to Imagination Mountain Campground, checking in mid afternoon. We hung around the campground the rest of that day and woke up early the next morning and prepared to embark on our first hike of the trip.
The Laurel Falls Trail leads you to Laurel Falls via a 1.3 mile trail with moderate elevations. The trail was nearly ideal for our children as it was paved and didn’t take too long to get to the “summit.”
The only precaution I’d report for the trail are the steep drop offs you encounter while traversing. While the path is wide enough, certain portions are not for the faint of heart. We cautioned are young children several times about this and kept a mindful eye on them.
We reached Laurel Falls and found it quite unique as you cross over a bridge with the top waterfall on your right, the water then passes underneath you and onto a ledge on your left when it then “falls” again.
The bridge can be seen at the above right. There was a thirty foot drop off to the right of this bridge and the only way down there was climbing down on boulders. We thought it too dangerous to bring the kids down there but I’m sure there are some great photos to be taken from the very bottom.
It was a truly great hike and I’m fearful at this point that the kids might be getting spoiled as they think every hike ends with a waterfall. Check out the video of the Laurel Falls Hike below:
Stay tuned as we went to Dollywood the following day for rides and thrills. Thanks for stopping by.