What sounds more fun to you: a day of shopping in downtown Pigeon Forge; a visit to Tennessee’s most popular theme park, Dollywood; or a hike through the a day in a Pigeon Forge park? If you chose the latter, then you should DEFINITELY make plans to attend this year’s 26th annual Wilderness Wildlife Week in Pigeon Forge!
This event is a 5-day event held at the LeConte Center that’s dedicated to exploring the flora, fauna, and rich history of the national park, with a variety of programs geared toward people of all ages and experience levels. Try a guided hike through the Great Smoky Mountains. Attend a seminar to learn more about the wildlife in the national park. Listen to storytellers, enjoy authentic Appalachian music, shop for handmade crafts, and so much more at Wilderness Wildlife Week!
All About Wilderness Wildlife Week
Wilderness Wildlife Week is everything that’s in the name: a 5-day celebration of the great outdoors in East Tennessee! The information desk, which will be set up at the LeConte Center in Pigeon Forge, is open daily throughout this week from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. There, you can sign up for all the workshops, lectures, panel discussions, slide/video presentations, and hikes that are scheduled during this exciting 5-day event. All of the presentations and seminars will be geared toward teaching you about the natural and human history in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
For those feeling a bit more adventurous, you can learn about the terrain while hiking your way through it on an easy trek to a waterfall or a day-long hike into the wilderness. There are hikes for people of all ages and experience levels, so be sure to join at least one during your stay in Pigeon Forge. Besides the hikes and lectures, Wilderness Wildlife Week offers a vendor/exhibit hall from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, featuring gear, handmade crafts, and the opportunity to see some wildlife up close, as well as the musical stylings of Smoky Mountain performers at Appalachia Fest.
In the past, Wilderness Wildlife Week has taken place in January, but this year, they’ve moved the event to May, which means warmer temperatures and more access within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The 26th annual event is happening now, scheduled for Wednesday, May 18, 2016, through Sunday, May 22, 2016.
All of the seminars, workshops, and presentations taking place during Wilderness Wildlife Week will be held at the LeConte Center in Pigeon Forge (2986 Teaster Lane, Pigeon Forge, TN 37868). This is also where you will sign up for any guided hikes you would like to join during this 5-day event. Then, when it’s time to start your hike, you will join your group at the designated trailhead within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Wilderness Wildlife Week is for a variety of guests to the Great Smoky Mountains: nature lovers, hikers, outdoor enthusiasts. It’s for those who want to learn more about the culture and history of the national park. It’s for those who want to see locally crafted items with Appalachian flare. It’s also for those with young kids. That’s right—Wilderness Wildlife Week has programs and shorter hikes designed specifically with young people in mind. So bring your friends, your spouse, or the entire family for days of fun at this Pigeon Forge event!
Here comes some great news: Wilderness Wildlife Week is absolutely FREE for guests of all ages! You won’t have to pay a dime to listen to interesting presentations on the wildlife of the national park, to join guided hikes where you can see that wildlife up close, or to enjoy authentic Smoky Mountain music at Appalachia Fest, which has been an exciting addition to Wilderness Wildlife Week in the past several years.
More About Appalachia Fest
Speaking of Applachia Fest, this is an exciting feature to look forward to during Wilderness Wildlife Week! With its focus on traditional mountain music, Appalachia Fest is an educational and entertaining experience for the whole family. Previous Appalachia Fest performers have included the Great Smoky Mountain Inhabitants, the Appalachian Cloggers, the Carolina Bluegrass Boys, and more. At this year’s 26th annual Wilderness Wildlife Week, you can expect to hear similar folksy and bluegrass-style music played on everything from Appalachian dulcimers to banjos to guitars.
More About the GSMNP
The 5-day Wilderness Wildlife Week is not the only time to enjoy the beauty of the great outdoors at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. All year long, you can gather with friends and family to enjoy day hikes through the park as well as scenic drives, bird watching, family picnics, horseback riding, and more. If you need ideas on where to begin—especially if this year’s visit to Pigeon Forge is a first for you—try Cades Cove or Rainbow Falls. These are just a couple of the must-see places in this beautiful natural wonder known as the Smokies!