It all began with a Facebook invitation. After finalizing trip details, the Nashville-based foursome drove to Sevierville. It was a first visit for some, a return for others
“I didn’t realize how close Sevierville is to Gatlinburg,” says Garrett Moshier, who spearheaded the friends’ trip. The adventurous itinerary revealed to Darby Bollinger, who had visited Sevierville several times before, “there’s a lot more to do than I previously thought!” Mark Kuhn agrees: “I was surprised by how many things there are to do in Sevierville. I didn’t know there would be so many attractions to keep us entertained.”
The friends’ first checked in to Two Rivers Landing RV Resort, near the French Broad River. “The campground was beautiful; it exceeded my expectations,” says Preston Collum. “It was a nice little camping spot,” says Moshier. “And the community pool was awesome.” The friends stayed in a retro Shasta Airflyte trailer. “The trailer was awesome,” says Kuhn. “With four of us sleeping in there it was pretty cozy, so we were skeptical at first, but a table folded down into a bed and there was plenty of room.”
At Douglas Lake, the group kicked-off adventure by kayaking and paddle boarding with Smoky Mountain H2O Sports. “Paddle boarding on the lake was super cool,” says Bollinger. “The water was super beautiful. I would never have thought there’d be such pretty water in the middle of Tennessee!”
Zip-lining with Foxfire Mountain Adventures was a trip highlight. “It was exhilarating,” says Kuhn. “One of the most fun things I’ve ever done.” The group completed the seven-zip Waterfall Canopy Tour that zooms over rivers, creeks and through pristine forest canopy with “such amazing views and terrains,” says Moshier. “Zip-lining was super cool,” says Bollinger. “It was a really interesting course with lots of variations in the zip-lines and amazing views.” Collum agrees: “Being 600 feet in the air dangling from a wire from mountain to mountain is really cool. The staff at Foxfire Mountain Adventure Park really made the experience what it was. They were super personable with huge personalities, made lots of jokes, and were simply fun to be around.” While at Foxfire Mountain Adventures’ 150-acre property, the friends also tackled the Tree Climber Aerial Ropes Course, a self-guided challenge with 12 elements including balance beams and tight rope walks. They also scaled the Gorilla Climbing Wall, which is the largest climbing wall in the Smoky Mountains.
Hiking to Rainbow Falls in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was another standout experience. “It was one of my favorite things,” says Kuhn. “Once we made it to the top of the mountain the waterfall was so beautiful. I climbed behind the waterfall and it was such a cool view to see everything from the perspective of behind the waterfall—I’ll definitely try to get back there again sometime!” The trail’s namesake 80-foot high waterfall is a spectacular sight anytime, especially on sunny afternoons when rainbows can be spotted in its mist or in winter when ice formations build. “We hiked 5.4 miles and it took three to four hours,” says Moshier. “We never got off a decently paved trail.” The trail climbs about 1,500-feet in elevation, earning the hike a moderate rating. “It was interesting to hike through,” says Moshier. “It was extremely beautiful hiking through that.”
Paddling the Upper Section of the Pigeon River, which boasts Class III and IV rapids with Big Creek Expeditions, gave the adventurers another memorable thrill. The six-mile trip boasts ten Class III rapids and three Class IV rapids for a challenging adrenaline rush. “I’d done a lot of whitewater rafting before,” says Kuhn. “I was surprised by how enjoyable this trip was—expect to get real wet and have a lot of fun. I really enjoyed the guide, who had a lot of experience and so I felt pretty confident.”
Between physical challenges, the friends stopped at Thunder Road Distillery for a tour and tasting of what Collum describes as “fantastic moonshine,” in dozens of flavors. “It was cool to learn about the process of how moonshine is made,” says Moshier. “We had a great guide.” Tours and tastings are free at the award-winning distillery, which produces an assortment of corn whiskey, rum, rye, flavored moonshine, vodka and limited-edition bourbon.
“Everything we did was really cool,” says Collum, reflecting back on the trip. “We’ve talked about getting a cabin this winter or maybe next summer so we can redo it again.”
Learn more about the group’s Sevierville adventures.