Summer was made for hiking, and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the perfect place to lace up your boots and hit the trails. Here is the list of our staff’s top 3 Great Smoky Mountains hiking trails.
Top 3 Hiking Trails
1. Laurel Falls
If you are looking to experience the thrill of a mountain cascade, look no further than Laurel Falls. Flanked by ‘mountain laurel’ (aka wild rhododendron), this hiking trail in the Great Smoky Mountains provides a truly stunning experience. The trail that leads to Laurel Falls is completely paved making it great for young families and those who are not accustomed to hiking in the mountains.
2. Alum Cave
The hiking trail to Alum Cave is more difficult than the paved path to Laurel Falls. Nevertheless, this hike leads to a geologically intriguing landmark. The giant (yet shallow) cave is all that remains of a massive limestone deposit that slowly dissolved over millions of years of rainfall. This is a prime example of chemistry in action in nature. For families that home school or that want to extend their children’s learning outside the walls of the classroom, Alum Cave could be an amazing research opportunity for your kiddos this summer.
3. Roundtop Trail
Our final recommendation on the Great Smoky Mountains hiking trails top 3 is Roundtop Trail. This hike begins near the Wears Valley community which makes it a great option if you stay in one of our mountain cabins. While this trail is the most difficult of the three, it also the least well-known ensuring your hike is quiet and enjoyable. This trail ends at the Little River in Townsend which is an added bonus in hot summer weather. For more information on the Roundtop Trail, check out this description of the trail.
While summer officially started on June 20th this year, many of us had already made the sneakers-for-sandals swap that marks the change from spring to summer here in the south. The change of season often means yard work, visiting the local swimming hole, and trying not to get bitten by mosquitos. For others, though, it means avoiding the stove at all costs. Who wants to stand over a hot pan when it feels like a steam room outside? We here at Accommodations by Great Cabins in the Smokies are here to help with 5 staff-submitted summer recipes that will keep your kitchen as cool as a cucumber this summer.
Spiked Pineapple Slush
-1 large bag of frozen pinapple
-4 ounces of coconut rum
-8 ounces of ice water
Blend all of the ingredients until smooth (~2 minutes) and enjoy!
Warm-Weather Watermelon Salad
-half of a medium-sized watermelon cut into cubes
-8 ounces of halved strawberries
-a small handful of fresh, chopped mint leaves
-4 ounces of blueberries
-the juice of 1 lemon or lime
-1 tsp. of honey or agave syrup
-a dash of salt
Put the lemon (or lime) juice, honey (or agave syrup), mint, and salt into a large bowl and mix well. Then, add the fruit and cucumber; gently toss together and serve.
-1 bottle of cheap red wine
-4 ounces of simple syrup (water and sugar boiled together)
-half of an orange cut into slices
-juice of other half of the orange
-8 to 12 ounces of seasonal fruit cut into cubes (peaches, berries, and melon are all great choices)
-2 ounces of brandy or calvados (optional)
In a large pitcher or punch bowl, add the fruit cubes and slices. Then, pour in the wine, juice, simple syrup, and brandy/calvados together. Stir all together and refrigerate for 2+ hours. Serve the sangria over ice. *You can substitute the red wine and simple syrup for one bottle of muscadine wine.*
-4 to 5 medium cucumbers cut into cubes
-2 cloves of garlic
-1 small handful of cilantro (or flat leaf parsley)
-4 to 6 ounces of extra virgin olive oil
-salt and pepper to taste
Blend all the ingredients together; you may need to pulse the mixture at first for it to come together. After it is sufficiently blended, refrigerate before serving. You can serve it with a dash of hot sauce if you want to give it a little extra flavor.
-1 thick sliced cucumber
-A selection of cold cuts (salami, prosciutto, mortadella, serrano ham, etc…)
-a selection of cheeses (mozzarella, feta, Manchego, stilton, smoked gouda, etc…)
-kalamata olives, pepperoncini peppers, and other pickled vegetables
-1 chopped tomato
-1 sliced red onion
-extra virgin olive oil
-juice of 1 lemon
Arrange the cucumber, tomato, and onion on a large platter. Place the drained pickled vegetables and olives in piles around the salad; drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice. Next, add the cold cuts and cheese to the top of the salad. Serve with crusty baguette and a glass of chardonnay.
So there you have it folks; these are our top 5 summer recipes for your holidays. But do you know what would make these summer recipes even better? Getting to enjoy them from the comfort of a cabin with sweeping views of the Great Smoky Mountains. Check out all of our properties here.