Posted by Phil Rodgers in Smoky Mountains
Summertime is playtime in the Great Smoky Mountains. Warm weather ushers in a host of outdoor recreations like boating, swimming and cycling, just to name a few. In the national park alone, visitors have options for hiking, fishing, camping and more.
With most of these activities, however, it's difficult to just show up at your destination and jump into the fun. Many require specific types of gear, clothing and equipment before you can participate. And while lots of visitors bring their recreational gear with them to the Smokies, that's not always feasible, especially if you're just discovering or trying something out for the first time while you're already in the area.
This week, we're introducing you to some of the retailers in the Smokies region that specialize in outdoor gear and getting their customers ready to take on whatever challenges nature may have in store this season. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned pro, these places have the products and the expertise to help you enjoy your summer in the mountains.
In this case, NOC stands for Nantahala Outdoor Center, which is named after the Nantahala River in Southeast Tennessee. However, their Gatlinburg store, located on the Parkway, is their flagship location, boasting 18,000 square feet of outdoor gear from brands like The North Face, Patagonia and Columbia, just to mention a few. Throughout the store, you'll find not just clothing for your outdoor fun but gear like tents, backpacks, hiking sticks, tents and more. And their staff of guides is highly trained in helping you select just the right equipment for your hiking or camping trip.
NOC Gatlinburg is also an interactive experience for shoppers of all ages, whether you're scaling their 25-foot-tall climbing wall, crossing the second-floor swinging rope bridge or - if you're a kid - crawling through their “bear cave” feature. And if you want to book a whitewater rafting trip, they've got you covered there too. You can book a half- or full-day trip on six different rivers throughout the region, and they'll provide all the gear you'll need.
With 800 miles of hiking trails in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, it's no wonder that hiking is one of the most popular outings for park visitors. At this retailer, located in The Village shops in downtown Gatlinburg, you'll find just about any piece of gear you might need for a day on the rugged trail. Look for backpacks of all shapes and sizes, trekking poles, hydration bladders and even packs for your dog. And that's just the start. They have a wide selection of outdoors-themed T-shirts as well all kinds of books, maps and informational guides to help you navigate your way around the Smokies and learn all about the history, culture, flora and fauna of the region.
This shop is in Apple Valley Mountain Village in Townsend, TN, less than a half-hour's drive from the heart of Pigeon Forge. And that can come in handy when you're accessing the national park through the Townsend entrance. Between the park and the Townsend area at large, visitors have access to fun ranging from tubing, fishing and hiking to horseback riding, cavern exploration and water sports. And Smoky Mountain Outdoor Center can help prepare you to take on any of those challenges. They also carry a familiar lineup of name-brand merchandise, including Yeti, Keen, Chaco and The North Face.
Fortunately for those of you who plan to visit us at Goats on the Roof this summer, no special gear is required. Just show up at our Pigeon Forge attraction with an eager spirit and get ready to have fun watching and feeding our live goats as well as gem mining, alpine roller coasting and more. We hope to see you soon!