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16 Fun Things To Do in Wears Valley, TN

16 Fun Things To Do in Wears Valley, TN


Wears Valley encompasses the towns of Pigeon Forge and Townsend, resting smack dab between Gatlinburg and Sevierville. While the area isn’t as well-known or sought-after as surrounding towns, it offers easy access to unforgettable attractions, experiences, beautiful trails, and luxury mountain cabins in Wears Valley.

Whether you want to build a family-friendly itinerary or a romantic weekend away — there’s something for everyone in Wears Valley. Here’s a quick look at some of the best things to do in Wears Valley, Tennessee, and the surrounding Sevier County area.

Amusement Parks, Entertainment, and Adventures

Wears Valley has all kinds of activities and entertainment that will make for an amazing trip. Here are a few of the most popular amusement parks and entertainment options in Wears Valley, TN.

1. Dollywood

The Dollywood signs stands outside of the amusement park in the Smokies.

2700 Dollywood Parks Blvd, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

Bombshell singer-songwriter Dolly Parton hasn’t just given us hits like “9 to 5” and “Jolene,” she also gave us a showstopping amusement park right in Pigeon Forge. Complete with thrill rides, a water park, the Dolly Express, and seasonal shows, this is an attraction you won’t want to miss.

2. The Island in Pigeon Forge

The Ferris Wheel at The Island in Pigeon Forge.

131 The Island Dr, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

The Island in Pigeon Forge is a family-friendly destination that is home to restaurants, a 200-foot-high Ferris wheel, carnival and arcade games, shops, and events. The Island is known as an affordable place for families to get together for a day of fun.

3. Country Tonite Theatre

Visit Country Tonite for a night of live music.

129 Showplace Blvd, Pigeon Forge, TN37863

If you’re searching for best-in-class entertainment, look no further than Country Tonite. Though it’s best known for its Christmas show, you can also enjoy musical arrangements from old country hits and gospel hymns to upbeat modern country ballads and patriotic odes.

But Country Tonite shows have more to offer than just music. Chances are the dancers will also blow you away with beautifully choreographed moves, and the performers may even get you laughing.

4. Goats on the Roof

Goats on the Roof's alpine coaster in the Smokies.

1341 Wears Valley Rd, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

Just by hearing the name, you might think the coolest thing this place has to offer is goats. They’re pretty eye-catching, but they’re far from the only interesting thing at Goats on the Roof of the Smoky Mountains.

Goats on the Roof also has an Alpine coaster that starts at the top of a mountain and reaches speeds of 30 mph as gravity guides it down 4,785 feet of winding track. Of course, if you’d like to slow things down and take in the breathtaking mountain views, you can also pull the handbrake to slow things down.

5. Wears Valley Zipline Adventures

A zipliner soars through the Smoky Mountain National Park.

1911 Wears Valley Rd, Sevierville, TN 37862

Wears Valley Zipline Adventures offers a 1.5-mile zipline adventure for riders brave enough to strap in. Hanging 240 feet above the ground, it offers zipliners an unencumbered view of the heavily forested Mount LeConte and Smoky Mountain National Park area. Better yet, it’s fun for the whole family since anyone over the age of five is free to participate.

6. Harper Bros. Hawk Skylift

A skylift in the Smoky Mountains.

4149 Wears Valley Rd, Sevierville, TN 37862

There are several fun things to do on the Harper Bros. Mountain, including shopping in Gatlinburg at the old-timey general store and horseback riding — but a fan-favorite is the Hawk Skylift.

The skylift looks a lot like your average ski lift. However, unlike typical ski lifts that raise you higher and higher until you drop into a sea of powdery snow, the Hawk Skylift takes passengers on a 30-minute scenic trip around Wears Valley, where they can get a bird’s eye view of the city and the mountains.

7. Pigeon Forge Gem Mine

A child mines for gems by sifting away the dirt.

2865 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

The Pigeon Forge Gem Mine is a fun and enriching experience for kids of all ages. When guests arrive, an expert guide who can answer questions and share mining tips with your little ones will greet you. All the while, your family is free to dig through the sand for gems and fossils, and anything you find, you can keep.

Before you leave, you can also walk through the Rocks and Fossils museum to learn more about the importance of both in the Smokies or create custom jewelry from the gems you found on your excavation.

Hiking, Trails, and National Parks

Many (if not most) people visiting Gatlinburg and Wears Valley come to spend time in the great outdoors, exploring caverns, waterfalls, and hiking trails in the Smokies. Below, you can find a couple of the best options for outdoor fun near Wears Valley.

8. Metcalf Bottoms Park Entrance

A view of Metcalf Bottoms near Wears Valley, TN.

Metcalf Bottoms Picnic Area Rd N, Gatlinburg, TN 37738

Resting in the woods about three miles south of Wears Valley is the entrance to Metcalf Bottoms Picnic Pavilion. There, picnickers can settle down for lunch, grill their food, splash around in the nearby brook, or take a short, kid-friendly walk to the Little Greenbrier School or the Walker Sisters Cabin.

9. Tuckaleechee Caverns

Tuckaleechee Caverns near Wears Valley, TN.

825 Cavern Rd, Townsend, TN 37882

The Tuckaleechee Caverns run beneath the Great Smoky Mountains and to the town of Townsend. Estimated to be between 20 and 30 million years old, the caverns are filled with exquisite rock formations and a path to the underground “Silver Falls” waterfall.

Just remember to bring a jacket and your walking shoes if you venture into the caverns. These will come in handy since the average temperature is 58º F, and you’ll have to walk over 409 steps and more than a mile of uneven terrain to reach the exit.

10. Laurel Falls

A view of Laurel Falls and the bridge that allows hikers to access it.

Tennessee 37862

The Laurel Falls Trail is generally considered to be one of the top family-friendly hiking paths in Gatlinburg, TN. The trail is a beautiful 2.6-mile loop through the canopied shelter of trees. But the real highlight of the journey is the 80-foot waterfall that cascades over rocks into a refreshing pool.

To get the best view of the falls, try going early in the morning or visiting in the off-season, as this waterfall in the Smokies is also stunning in the fall and spring.

Historic Places

The Wears Valley area has a rich history to explore on your trip. A couple of must-see sights are the Headrick Chapel and cemetery and the Walker sisters’ home.

11. Walker Sisters Place

The Walker Sisters Place in the Smoky Mountain National Park.

Sevierville, TN 37862

In 1926, President Calvin Coolidge established the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Because of this, local homeowners were asked to move elsewhere. Many did without protest, bit the Walker sisters refused. Because of this, the six unmarried Walker sisters were granted a lifetime lease to live in the log and tulip-poplar home they were raised in.

However, once their land was declared a national park, they could no longer sustain themselves by cutting wood, hunting, fishing, or owning livestock. So, they instead began welcoming visitors to their cabin, commonly known as “The Walker Sisters Place.” There, they sold toys, doilies, food, and poems to buy the things they couldn’t grow.

The last of the sisters died in 1962 at 92, but people still visit the sisters’ property today.

12. Headrick Chapel

4317 Wears Valley Rd, Sevierville, TN 37862

Headrick’s Chapel is a National Historic Site and a memorial to the Headrick family that donated the land so that the residents of Wears Valley would have somewhere to hold funeral services. The chapel itself is a modest white structure with a bell tower encircled by burial plots where many generations of local families laid their families to rest.

Today, many descendants visit the area to visit their family’s graves, and others host weddings at the quaint chapel.

Restaurants, Wineries, and Distilleries

Wears Valley may not be a culinary destination, but it has plenty of spots to get good food, drink, and service. Here, you’ll find fresh Southern comfort food. Here are a couple of places tourists and locals swear by.

13. Elvira’s

Chicken and waffles with syrup on a plate at a local cafe.

4143 Wears Valley Rd, Sevierville, TN 37862

Elvira’s Café has been named one of the top places to eat in America and is situated right here in Wears Valley, Tennessee. Specializing in creating meals with homegrown ingredients and a modern twist on classic Southern recipes, this is one restaurant you should definitely try.

Unfortunately, we can’t recommend specific dishes since nearly every item on their menu has received praise and five-star ratings from guests. However, they do tend to get busy and crowded, so try to avoid peak times to get the best Elvira’s service experience.

14. Paw Paw’s Catfish

A restaurant goer snaps a photo of their fried fish meal before digging in.

2760 Wears Valley Rd, Sevierville, TN 37862

Paw Paw’s Catfish Kitchen is a casual, Cajun-style restaurant in Wears Valley.

Chow down on their Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya to enjoy the rich tastes of the south. Or, try the Catfish Acadiana that’s topped with a creamy sauce made from crawfish, mushrooms, and various seasonings.

All of PawPaw’s dishes are made from scratch in-house — including fresh, special fry batters. Restaurant-goers also report that the food is perfectly seasoned, and the service is prompt and friendly.

15. Tennessee Shine Co.

Tennessee Shine Co is a popular moonshine distillery near Wears Valley.

3435 Teaster Ln, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

Tennessee Shine Co. is a popular distillery located in Pigeon Forge, and it’s heavily trafficked by tourists and locals alike. If you’re not sure what you like, stop by for a tasting and discover which drink you like best. This distillery has several flavors of moonshine, whisky, and bourbon for you to choose from.

16. Cades Cove Cellars

Two guests clink their glasses at Cades Cove Cellars in Wears Valley, TN.

7126 E Lamar Alexander Pkwy, Townsend, TN 37882

Cades Cove is a local winery known for its award-winning wines. With an in-house winemaking team and several time-tested recipes, it’s a popular stop for tourists on vacation in the Smokies.

Kick Back at Elk Springs Resorts When You’re Done Exploring

After a long, fun-filled day of hiking, shopping, and sightseeing, there’s nothing better than relaxing in a luxurious cabin.

Luckily for you, Elk Springs Resorts has dozens of stays available, complete with features like hot tubs, pools, in-home theaters, splash pads, and game rooms. But that’s not all. When you stay at an Elk Springs cabin, you’ll also have a gorgeous view of the surrounding woods and easy access to nearby activities and attractions.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]