What do you get when you combine one of the most beautiful mountain ranges in the country with the perfect spring weather? You get one of the most unforgettable April vacations in Gatlinburg!
From high-energy attractions and live entertainment to relaxing spa treatments and local-inspired cuisine, Gatlinburg offers something for everyone!
Here are 10 can’t-miss activities to make the best of this beautiful city and the many things to do in Gatlinburg in April!
Top Things to do in Gatlinburg in April
- Go Wildflowers Hunting in the Great Smokies National Park
- Raise your Glasses at the Smoky Mountain Wine Fest!
- Fly Fish on Douglas Lake
- Do a Spring Hiking Excursion of the Smokies
- Visit the Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage
- Try the Alpine Slide at Ober Gatlinburg
- Attend the Great Smoky Easter Arts & Crafts Show
- Beat the Heat with Water Rafting
- Take the Kids to the Smoky Mountain Trout Tournament
- Take a Walking Tour of Downtown Gatlinburg
1. Go Wildflowers Hunting in the Great Smokies National Park
With the spring season in full bloom, visiting Gatlinburg in April will give you the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to discover incredibly rare species of wildflowers in the Great Smokies National Park, better known as the “Wildflower National Park.” The park is home to over 1,600 species of wildflowers, including more than 100 types of orchids.
The park’s high elevation and dense forestation offer visitors a misty, cool climate with lush plant life such as ferns, mosses, and wildflowers. The park is most well-known for its waterfalls and hiking trails in spring, leading to a colorful display of color from the trees at this time of year!
The best time to see wildflowers in the Great Smokies is in early spring when they are still small and young. You’ll see many different kinds of flowers here including Lady Slippers, Spring Beauty, and Trilliums.
During April, you have a high chance of finding flowers like the Dutchman’s Breeches, Little Brown Jugs, Large-flowered Bellwort, Trout-Lily, White Fringed Phacelia, Wild Geranium, Wild Ginger, and Wood Anemone.
If you’re lucky enough to spot a Blazing Star, that’s even better!
2. Raise your Glasses at the Smoky Mountain Wine Fest!
Wine enthusiasts can rejoice! Each year in April, Gatlinburg hosts a fun Wine Fest that features handcrafted, premium quality liqueur paired with the best food pairings prepared by artisans all over town!
The fest also features an informative and exciting guided wine tour that takes you through to the best wineries and establishments in Gatlinburg.
The festival also has plenty of entertainment and activities for attendees to enjoy. When visiting the event, you can sample wine from as many vendors as you want and decide which bottle is worthy of taking home as a souvenir of Gatlinburg!
The event is a great opportunity for tourists to mingle and meet the warm-hearted community of the Great Smokies.
3. Fly Fish on Douglas Lake
Since the earliest days of Gatlinburg’s history, the town has been a hot spot for fly fishing. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is home to several streams and lakes that are excellent places to catch trout, pickerel, and largemouth bass.
One of the most popular locations for fly anglers is Douglas Lake in Gatlinburg. It’s one of the largest lakes in the region and it offers some beautiful scenery for any angler looking to get away from it all!
Douglas Lake has an enormous area which might make it difficult to navigate for a tourist angler. If you visit Gatlinburg during April, then there is a very high chance that you will catch white bass and take a picture to boast off to friends and family later!
The lake itself is sprawling with wildlife and paired with the awe-inspiring views of the Smokies surrounding it makes it a hotspot for visitors looking to spend a day in the serene landscape with their loved ones.
If you decide to spend an entire day at the Lake, then there are plenty of comfortable and affordable cabins nearby that will accommodate you for as long as you want.
Don’t forget to get a valid Tennessee fishing license before heading to catch some dinner!
4. Do a Spring Hiking Excursion of the Smokies
A hike to the top of a mountain in Gatlinburg is an unforgettable experience. The weather is warm and sunny, the air is fresh and clean, and you can see for miles. It’s almost like you never left home! You can camp out overnight at the foot of one of these waterfalls and wake up to a waterfall shower!
The best way to beat the April heat is to hike early or late in the day. If you go at noon, you’ll have the sun on your back for most of the hike and then you can relax on a shady picnic table or rest under some trees until it’s time for dinner.
The views of the Great Smokies become even more stunning when they are dotted with blooming spring wildflowers! This makes the hike a lot more special and the strenuous activity is worth the gorgeous views in the end.
Gregory Ridge Trail is one of the few fantastic trails in the area that are perfect for April. It is a challenging hike with an 11-mile round trip, but the hard work pays off when you’re met with beautiful flame azaleas on their peak, providing you views that will seldom be forgotten!
Porters Creek Trail, Andrews Bald, and Rich Mountain Loop are other great trails waiting to be explored.
Hiking during this time is especially great because there aren’t many crowds or traffic jams around town like there would be during other times of the year. You won’t have trouble finding parking spaces either, which means you’ll have more room for hiking and picnicking along the way.
5. Visit the Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage
If you love history and nature, then The Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage is a must-visit event for you! This remarkable 68-year-old event takes place each year in Gatlinburg for five days and takes its pilgrims through a professionally guided tour of the Smoky Mountains National Park.
The event features a variety of nature-oriented programs that educate people on history, nature, arts, photography, and much more!
The programs are conducted on the trails in the Great Smokies National Park which gives you a chance to connect with nature as you move along the event.
The simple goal of the program is to bring people together and let them bond through common interests in nature, history, and ecology and welcome those who have a keen and genuine interest in learning about the amazing wonders that the Great Smokies withhold.
So whether you’re a dedicated naturalist or just a curious person, the welcoming community at this event encourages everyone to get involved and take part in preserving the environment!
6. Try the Alpine Slide at Ober Gatlinburg
While the common misconception may be that Ober Gatlinburg only hosts rides and amusement for the chilly season, that’s not the case at all! Here you will find a plethora of exciting and adventurous activities that are specially designed to entertain you in the summer months.
The Alpine Slide has been around for many years and has become quite popular with families that visit this area during the summer months. It’s one of those things that everyone loves doing because it’s so simple yet so much fun at the same time!
The ticket for the ride is $10 per person and if you visit with your family, then make sure that the kids ride along with an adult.
The ride starts with a chairlift that takes you through the scenic views of the Smokies until you reach the midpoint, where the actual ride begins. At this point, the friendly staff will assist you to the sled-like cart that has a lever attached, to help you control the speed according to your liking.
The ride is very similar to the Mountain Coaster, another popular amusement ride that provides the same degree of entertainment. The slide has two parallel tracks so you can take the thrilling ride with a like-minded thrill loving friend who’s not scared of heights!
7. Attend the Great Smoky Easter Arts & Crafts Show
The Great Smoky Easter Arts & Crafts Show is an annual event in Gatlinburg that features hundreds of artists from around the country. The show, which runs from the end of March to April, offers a variety of arts and crafts, as well as live music and entertainment!
The Great Smoky Easter Arts & Crafts Show offers a wide variety of arts and crafts for sale by talented artists from all over the country. You’ll find everything from jewelry to furniture and more.
In addition to the traditional items available at most craft shows, you’ll also find unique items such as hand-carved wood items, woodworking tools, hand-painted murals, and much more.
The exhibition takes place in the Gatlinburg Convention Centre and it features some wonderful handcrafted pottery, weaving, textile arts, wood carvings, bird houses, and everything artsy and creative that comes to mind!
The event also boasts delicious foods and snacks like locally made, jam, honey, and sandwiches.
This is the perfect place for artisans and craftsmen to showcase their creative skills to the whole world and even represent the rich Appalachian culture through their art!
If you’re looking for a fun weekend escape with your family or friends, consider attending The Easter Arts & Crafts Show this spring!
8. Beat the Heat with Water Rafting
Water rafting is a fun activity if you want to do it with your family and friends. It is also an exciting way to spend time as a group. Water rafting in Pigeon River is not only for people who are physically fit but also for those who have a passion for adventure.
The Pigeon River flows through a beautiful valley in the north-central part of the state. The river is surrounded by tall trees, and there are plenty of rapids and waterfalls to enjoy. In addition to the great scenery, it is also a great way to get in shape and have an adventure.
The water rafting on the Pigeon River is only a short distance from downtown. This means that you can come back to your hotel or guest house after your excursion and rest up before heading out the next day.
If you’re looking for a fun and unique experience, but are not feeling adventurous enough to head to the river, then rafting at Ober Gatlinburg is perfect for you.
The rides are divided into two categories; Shoot the Chute and The Lightnin’ Water Ride which has an open-air slide. This family-friendly activity involves raft water slides that are protected and take you to a splash pool at the bottom.
The best part? It’s usually pretty cheap! The ride is only $4 per ride for a person and the thrilling rides will leave you going for one after the other!
9. Take the Kids to the Smoky Mountain Trout Tournament
The Smoky Mountain Trout Tournament is an annual fishing tournament that takes place twice, during spring and fall. The abundance of clean and pristine lakes in the Great Smokies makes it the ideal spot for a tournament like this.
The competition has become known worldwide and invites adults, kids, and families to participate and even win thousands of dollars in cash prizes!
The competition is held in April, which is perfect for trout fishing because there’s enough sunlight and warmth to keep the fish active and ready to be caught.
Everyone is encouraged and welcomed to participate and the tournament provides a great opportunity for families to bond and reconnect with each other! There are over $10,000 reserved as prizes, cash prizes, gift cards, and much more.
The first and biggest prize is for the person who catches the largest fish. Whether you’re an expert angler or just a tourist looking for a fun adventure, this tournament is a must-visit for an unforgettable experience of the Smokies!
10. Take a Walking Tour of Downtown Gatlinburg
Gatlinburg’s rich history is on display throughout the downtown area. A guided walking tour is a great way to learn about the origins of some of the buildings and see how the town has changed over time.
You’ll also get some insider tips on the best places to eat and shop. You’ll learn about the founding of the town, see some of the original buildings that are still standing, and hear stories about the people who have called Gatlinburg home over the years.
You might even come across a haunted house or two and the locals will tell you about the unknown horror side of the town!
Free Things to do in Gatlinburg
Spring is here, and the weather is warming up. It’s the perfect time to take advantage of some free things to do in Gatlinburg in April. Here are two great things you can do this season that won’t cost you a dime!
Take a Scenic Hike
The Smoky Mountains are a great place for hiking and exploring the outdoors. Fantastic hiking trails and waterfalls can be found throughout the park that varies according to the difficulty level, so you can easily find a trail that’s suitable to your stamina!
You can also rent a mountain bike or horseback ride at one of the park’s many trailheads.
Visit a Moonshine Distillery in Gatlinburg
Moonshine is a traditional Appalachian liqueur whose production has been kept under the wraps for years.
You will find an array of distilleries all over Gatlinburg where you can see how this mysterious liquor is made and explore the production process!