In winter, the Great Smoky Mountains take on a quiet beauty that differs from the exuberant flowering of summer and the brilliant foliage of autumn. More reserved, you might say, but no less beautiful.
One way that’s celebrated is Wilderness Wildlife Week, which this year runs from January 8th through the 15th. Getting outside is, as you might expect, a big thing during the week. There are at least half a dozen guided hikes to choose from each day, ranging from all day explorations to short one milers. There’s a photography contest to enter, as well, and the chance to hear a bit of mountain music from local players. There are talks from wildlife experts and nature photographers, and plenty of chances to meet up with other wilderness enthusiasts, and to explore the park and the nearby area on your own.
All this is headquartered in Pigeon Forge, whose slightly gaudy tourist enticing atmosphere of spring and summer days takes on a bit quieter air of down home welcome during winter months, too.