road cades cove with mountains in background
February 11, 2020

The Smoky Mountains are known for many things. They’re a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the subject of countless country songs, a beautiful escape, and part of one of the oldest mountain ranges on the continent.In so many ways, escaping into the Smoky Mountains offers you an opportunity to go back in time, whether it’s to the lyrics of your favorite melody or to trails that traverse the geology of the vast mountain range.

If you’re planning your next getaway and want to visit somewhere genuinely memorable, consider renting a cabin in the heart of the Old Smokies.

white tailed deer in grassHistory, Geology, Legacy: The Smoky Mountains

Located along the border of North Carolina and Tennessee, the Great Smoky Mountains have been the subject of countless stories, songs, and legends. But the longue durée–the long-term history–of this mountain range adds even more fascination and mystery to the Great Smokies.

The oldest rocks in the Smoky Mountains were formed during the Proterozoic Age, back when bacteria, algae, and early invertebrates dominated the planet. Clay, sand, and silt deposited over time formed the rocks that would become the Great Smokies and the Appalachian Mountains.

Continental collision, division, and tectonic plate upheaval over millions of years created the awe-inspiring mountains we know today. Formerly taller than the Himalayas, these ancient mountains eroded over time, creating rich soils and verdant ecosystems.

Approximately 1,500 years ago, the Cherokee Nation–a branch of the Iroquois Nation–called these mountains home. A colorful culture of hunting, trading, and agricultural practices, the Cherokee were and are complex and resilient people.

One of their members, Sequoyah, created a syllabary in the 1810s to counter the erasure of his people and to enable the documentation of history and culture. Following the dispossession of the Cherokee Nation, white settlers moved into the Smoky Mountains.

It was almost a hundred years before the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was founded, and today it’s the oldest national park east of the Mississippi. Founding the park took tenacity and dedication on the part of many individuals, with backpackers, campers, writers, and photographers helping to lead the charge. It’s all the more reason to visit the Smoky Mountains and immerse yourself in history.

dollywood sign in the fallPopular Culture

The Great Smoky Mountains have enjoyed immense popularity in broader American culture. Country music icon Dolly Parton grew up in the shadows of the Great Smokies, and she often sang about her strong rural roots, the tenacity of the working poor, and the beauty of the mountains. Stay in a cabin and get tickets to Dollywood to immerse yourself in the popular culture of the mountains.

The Great Smoky Mountains have also featured in popular novels and shows like Christy, the tale about a schoolteacher who ventures into a poor mountain mining town to make a difference. They’ve also been central to the songs of modern country bands like Old Crow Medicine Show.

Exploring the National Park

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park boasts pastimes for individuals and families of all backgrounds. From beautiful, relaxing, winding roads to steep and aggressive hikes, there’s something for everyone. Auto touring, workshops, and visiting historic sites are all popular activities for the area’s visitors.

Passionate anglers will discover that the park provides numerous opportunities for a wonderful day on the water. Smallmouth bass, rainbow trout, brook trout, and brown trout are among the most popular fish in the park. With streams and lakes dotting the landscape, there’s room for first-timers and experienced anglers.

Horseback riding offers the intrepid a way to encounter the mountains like so many generations before did. Whether you want to bring your own horse (from May to November) or join a trail ride, encountering the mountains from horseback is a memorable experience.

If you have a taste for the slightly macabre, the Great Smoky Mountains are home to a number of historic cemeteries and burial landscapes. Through these cemeteries, you can encounter the different ethnicities and families that made up the cultural landscape of the Smoky Mountains. For many visitors, this might even be a matter of family history.

people hiking in the woodsWalking the Mountain Trails

The hiking possibilities in the Great Smoky Mountains are enough to warrant a week’s stay–as well as some well-earned meals in some of the area’s best restaurants and evening haunts. Popular hikes like Charlies Bunion take travelers to scenic overlooks that take in expansive views of the mountains. Rainbow Falls takes visitors on a strenuous, but a worthwhile journey through rhododendron and mountain pepperbush and across bridges to an 80-ft waterfall.

There are also a number of more intense backcountry options for hikers who are willing to take on a challenge, follow all park rules, and venture deep into the woods.

Nature and Wildlife

There are countless opportunities for nature and wildlife viewing in the Great Smoky Mountains, whether it’s from your cabin door or out on the trail. Waterfalls abound throughout the park, roads and trails take in countless views, and the diversity of wildlife species is remarkable.

Some of the creatures you may encounter while enjoying the Great Smoky Mountains include turkeys, raccoons, white-tailed deer, woodchucks, black bears, and elk. Birdlife abounds in the park, and the waterways are full of life. Morning and evening–the crepuscular hours–tend to be the best time to view wildlife, so look out the window first thing when you wake up in your cabin. You just might see a visitor.

bones bbq jointCreature Comforts: Restaurants and Entertainment

While nature is plentiful in the Great Smoky Mountains, there are plenty of indoor activities and tasty meals in the area. Looking for a barbecue restaurant? Great barbecue is one of the creature comforts of Tennessee.

Need somewhere to get the kids’ energy out? Take them to Dollyworld, Dolly Parton’s amusement or water park, that benefits the local community. Car shows, art festivals, and river tubing all offer family-friendly relaxation. They can even try snow tubing at America’s first indoor snow park.

Our Cabins

At Summit Cabin Rentals, we offer a number of rental options that can accommodate individuals, couples, families, and groups. From 1-bedroom cabin rentals to our cabins with 5 or more bedrooms, there’s plenty of space for everyone.

Our cabins grant you the perfect balance of rustic beauty and creature comfort. We offer 24/7 customer support, exceptional housekeeping services, free Wi-Fi, hot tubs, fully stocked kitchens, and breathtaking views. They’re the perfect place to enjoy the beauty and history of the Smoky Mountains and to relax in comfort at the end of a day of adventures.

The Takeaway

The Great Smoky Mountains offer you a chance to step back in time and unwind the clock. Here, you’ll get the opportunity to disconnect from the stresses and pressures of everyday life while simultaneously soaking in the rich history and culture of a place steeped in the past. From wildlife viewing to hikes, auto tours through stunning fall colors to hot tubs in the mountains, there’s something here for everyone.

If you have any questions about cabin rentals in the Great Smoky Mountains, Summit Cabin Rentals is here to help. Contact us today at 1-800-547-0948 or via our free online contact form to ask questions about the area, book your stay, or get directions to the cabin.