Great Smoky Mountains Fun – Laurel Falls and Dixie Stampede

On the morning of Day Three, we headed out for a 2.6 mile hike (round trip) to see Laurel Falls in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

On the scenic drive over, we had to stop at several viewing stations to take in the grandeur of the Great Smoky Mountains. Isn’t it stunning?!?

In case you’ve ever wondered why they’re called the Great Smoky Mountains? When the area vegetation releases oxygen, it also releases volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOCs have a high vapor pressure. The vapor creates the fog which surrounds the mountains, giving it that smoky look. See, fun and educational reading!

Laurel Falls

Back to the hike… Laurel Falls is an 80-foot waterfall accessible by hiking Laurel Falls Trail. The paved trail is considered easy in spite of it being rough and uneven, along with several very steep and sometimes wet sections. This seemed like the most appropriate trail for our party of five which  included two children and one grandma.

My Mom tried turning back more than once, but with a lot of encouragement, the five of us finally made it. Cue heavenly choir of angels…

The hike down went much faster. Isn’t that always the way?


Following the hike, we drove through downtown Gatlinburg, which is your quintessential tourist trap. The traffic was horrendous! However there was no denying the beautiful backdrop of the city. We saw the Space Needle and very nearly attempted Ski Lift which carries you 1800 feet up the mountain.

By the time we made it back to Pigeon Forge, we had just enough time to grab a very late lunch and head back to the resort to freshen up and get ready for…

Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede

Dixie Stampede is a dinner show dubbed The Most Fun Place To Eat. How could it not be? The DH and I went to Dixie Stampede in Orlando many years ago and I’ve always wanted to go back. Their website does a great job of summarizing the show:

Dixie Stampede is an extraordinary dinner show with thirty-two magnificent horses and a cast of top-notch riders. They will thrill you with daring feats of trick riding and competition, pitting North against South in a friendly and fun rivalry. You will enjoy a barrel full of music, dancing, special effects and family friendly comedy along the way. Celebrate as the North and South join together in a patriotic salute of Red, White and Blue featuring COLOR ME AMERICA, written and recorded by Dolly herself. The Patriotic Grand Finale soars with flying Doves of Peace, luminous costumes and fireworks, reminding you of the pride and spirit of America.

We arrived in time to enjoy the pre-show in the saloon featuring Mountain Rukus, a bluegrass and country music band. I especially enjoyed their take on Can’t Stop the Feeling, or as Blinky refers to it, the Trolls song.

There were drinks and snacks for sale, but we were still pretty full from lunch.

Following the pre-show, we were ushered into the arena. We were seated in Section F and had a great view. But like the website states, there really isn’t a bad seat in the house.

The theatre remained dark, and flash photography wasn’t allowed, so most of my pictures aren’t great. These are just to give you an idea.

Plus, after the food arrived, I kinda gave up on taking pics. Mea culpa.

Speaking of food, it is meant to be eaten with your hands and consisted of:

  • Appetizer
    • Cheese biscuit
    • Soup (potato, I think)
  • Main course
    • Pork loin
    • Rotisserie Cornish hen
    • Baked potato
    • Corn on the cob
  • Desert
    • Apple turnover

The DH and I enjoyed everything, but the food was not a hit with my Mom and the kids.

After a touching rendition of Color Me America and an excellent closing line about one united country, the show came to a close. It was truly enjoyable.

Outside in the open air stable, we got to meet a few of the horses used in the show.

By the end of the show, the adults were pretty wiped out but Stinky and Blinky were still rearin’ to go. Typical! We headed back to the resort to let the kids swim until their heart was content. That night, the five of us slept like babies.

Just one more day to recap. Be sure to check back tomorrow!

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