Clear open skies unobstructed by skyscrapers, tall buildings, smog or, well, just about anything make bird watching in Gatlinburg, TN an absolute dream. Whether it is a new hobby or a lifelong passion this is a beautiful town in which to spot some beautiful varieties of our winged friends; you might even walk away with a prized photograph that you can treasure for years to come.
Imagine waking up early one morning, brewing some coffee in your luxury cabin and sitting outside on the porch with binoculars in hand. The air is still quiet yet you know there is a whole world that is already awake and quite active. Sitting quietly you start to see a rustle of a branch to your left while a faint tweet can be heard overhead; finally, you are rewarded with the sight of a Golden-Crowned Kinglet. Gorgeous! And your day has barely begun; just think of what you will see later on. You could hang out on the porch all day and watch as a beautiful display of the avian kingdom passes you by or you might decide to go for a hike to get a better look.
Stop by the Sugarland Visitor Center to chat with its park rangers about what birds they have seen recently. As they patrol the grounds everyday they will be able to tell you things like where the Blue-headed Vireo was last seen, what trail is best for Eastern Screech Owl and at what elevation the Louisiana Waterthrush is normally viewed. When 120 different species make the Great Smoky Mountain National Park their breeding ground you can be certain to see something beautiful and unique every time you step foot onto one of the 800 miles of trails that traverse the park.
It would take a book to list all of the species that can be seen flying around the crisp blue skies of Gatlinburg, so here are just a few to whet your interest. For hikers undergoing day trips, trails along the lower and middle elevations are the smartest choice. They are also home to the greatest amount of birds; expect to see some song sparrows, Southern Chickadees, Acadian Flycatcher, Indigo Bunting and so much more. Just one hike won’t do for the avid birdwatcher so plan on spending a few days out in the mountains observing not just the birds but old wood forests, waterfalls and historical landmarks that can also be seen along the way.
When the day is through return back to your cabin, upload the day’s pictures from your camera and even view them on the TV. Log online and share the pictures with family and friends, they will surely share in your joy at all of the beautiful species that you were able to observe that day. When nature is the focus of your trip, Gatlinburg is the perfect place to spend a few days, a week or longer for an unforgettable vacation.