Davy Crockett Riding Stables in Townsend, TN

So you want to get out to parts of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park that you can’t see leaning out of the window of your car? Well, Townsend, Tn has the answer for you – Davy Crockett Riding Stables. Get off the road into the backcountry and take a relaxing horseback ride in Cades Cove and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Davy Crockett Riding Stables in Townsend has immediate access to backcountry horseback riding trails in the Smokies. What better way to get more in touch with nature and spend some quality family time than to experience it like the mountaineers who first traversed the Smokies did – on horseback. Davy Crockett employs some of the best Smoky Mountain horseback guides in the area, each with a vast understanding of the area and the animal alike. Each equestrian professional is a trained guide with the hours of experience necessary to lead groups on horseback throughout the park.

Once you’ve explored the Smokies on horseback, you’ll want to come back again and again just to make sure you haven’t missed anything. Good luck with that as the national park is as expansive as it is majestic. It’s not just a 30 minute in and out trip either, guests have a choice of five different trips to choose from, each with varying rates:

  • A $22 per hour ride
  • A $15 per half hour ride
  • A $33 per hour and a half ride
  • $44 for two hours
  • And a half day trip for $90

In season, guests can come ride on the spot, but reservations are required during the off season. For Davy Crockett Riding Stables, peak season runs from March 15 to November 15. Davy Crockett is open 7 days a week from 9 am to 5 pm. For more information, call 865-448-6411.

Davy Crockett Riding Stables
505 Old Cades Cove Road
Townsend, TN

Townsend Spring Itinerary

Cades Cove church

Spring in Townsend, Tn might just be the perfect time to be in the Smokies for some, though you’re sure to hear the exact opposite from those fall foliage lovers, but that’s neither here nor there. In actuality, both seasons offer ample opportunities geared at getting visitors back to nature – something Townsend excels at, no matter the season. From popular festivals to numerous hikes and bicycle tours around the Smokies and Cades Cove, we’ve compiled a list of Spring “to-do’s” in Townsend. Be prepared to spend a few days if you plan on getting to everything, or just use it as a daily reminder if you plan on coming back a few time this spring.

Strap on your hiking boots and pack something warm just in case as the first jaunt on the Townsend Spring Itinerary gets you off the beaten path and onto the trails of the Smoky Mountains –

  • Take one of the numerous wildflower walks and hikes offfered in the Smoky Mountains; rent a bike from the Cades Cove Campground store and bike the Cades Cove Loop Road or rent from one of the many locales in town and ride the Townsend bike path. One of the most popular day hikes in the area is the Abrams Falls hike by way of Cades Cove – an easy 5-miler that will cool you off halfway through with a quick dip in the pool below Abrams Falls. Definitely worth the hike.

Our next itinerary suggestion lets the traveler enjoy the best of what Townsend and the Smokies has to offer – Cades Cove –

  • Beat the crowds and tour the Cades Cove loop in morning. Take in an evening tour if you’re interested in the Cove’s wildlife and history. Guided tours are now available through Cades Cove Heritage Tours. Be sure to stop by the Cades Cove Campground Store for some of their fabulous ice cream.

So, you’re ready to get back and sample some of Townsend’s offerings, etc? Not only does Townsend offer a handful of great locally-themed stores, there are also a number of historical stops around town to introduce visitors to the history of Townsend and the Smoky Mountains.

  • Check out the arts and crafts of Townsend at some of its many galleries and craft boutiques. From Apple Valley Farms to Nawger Nob to Southern Fried Gallery, Townsend is ripe with local artistic flavor. During the spring there are numerous festivals including the Townsend Spring Festival and Old Timers Day, as well as the Smoky Mountain Pottery Festival. For you history buffs, check out the Little River Railroad Company. It was there that the region got its start as loggers roamed the area before it was designated part of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Did you miss anything while you were exploring? Use your final day to just mill around town, or ask the locals what some of their favorite haunts are –

  • Many people come to Townsend to fish. If so, stop by an Little River Outfitters and find out where the fishing is best to be had and pick up some of the latest gear too, eat a great meal at a distinctive local Townsend restaurant, or tour a Tennessee farm. Whatever it is, you’re sure to be back in town in no time. Townsend sort of has that effect on people – they drive through just looking for a way to get to the national park and end up staying for a few days. There’s sure to be even more to add to your list next time you’re in town, hopefully this is a good start.
Cars parked along Cades Cove loop road

GPS in the Smokies

These days, if you’re planning a visit to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, a handy piece of technology to have in hand is a Global Positioning System or GPS. For nature lovers, it may even be one of the greatest inventions in the last 20 years.

By just affixing one of these small computers to the windshield of any car, you are afforded turn by turn navigation. Since its introduction just a few years ago, it has become an integral part of the way many people travel. Still, a paper map or atlas can come in handy and still have their place among travelers. A number of Smoky Mountain roads won’t come up on a GPS.

Here’s one example: During a recent January trip to Valle Crucis and Blowing Rock, North Carolina there was snow on the sides of the road but it had been warm enough to keep the roads from being icy. What the GPS won’t tell you is that Hwy 321 has a detour. This detour is well-marked on the way up affording fort a nice scenic drive to Valle Crucis on Hwy 421. All the work was done by the GPS and its recalculations. On the trip back from Blowing Rock, the detour’s signage was not as visible and the GPS took Hwy 421 all the way back to East Tennessee.  This route also takes you through the Cherokee National Forest.

Take advantage of this quick excursion through the Cherokee National Forest – it’s a beautiful area of the country!  It can be a bit more hazardous during the winter though, especially if you are not expecting a mountain drive on a small road through the Cherokee National Forest. Once you start, don’t turn around, it’s just as hazardous backtracking as it is forging ahead. Rest assured that these roads are salted regularly when there is the forecast of a winter storm.

As previously mentioned, one would think that being 2012, every road in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park – one of the most visited natural areas in the country, would be on your global positioning system.  Not so in this case.  Just try getting to one of those cabins on top of some ridge overlooking the Smokies. Another question, why don’t cabin rental companies just give out the address of the cabin they are staying in? The answer is simply that most of the time the address you’re seeking is not going to get you to the cabin you have rented.  As fast as the Smokies have grown the past two decades, its wishful thinking that during that time every road has been added to even the most recent GPS maps. To that end, follow the directions that the check in office provides for you. Naturally, they’ve chosen the easiest path to get you to your cabin. They know the area, you may not.

Additional tips for getting around the Great Smoky Mountains:

  • Pick up a map at one of the numerous rest areas.
  • Store the map in your car.
  • Save the location you are staying at in your GPS –then you will always be able to get back.
  • Don’t be afraid to venture off the beaten path, but remember how you got there so you can retrace your steps on your next trip.

Take these tips to heart.  Don’t be afraid to use your GPS, but realize that you may need a traditional map along your journey as well.  Save one for the area you are visiting for future use.  If you are on a detour you may want to consult the map before entering navigation points into your GPS.  And instead of asking for an address to your cabin, follow the directions that they give you with your check-in packet.  Your family will thank you.

Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont

The phrase “Connecting people and nature in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park” is one you’re bound to hear often at the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont in Townsend, Tn. It suits the program well as it’s one that relies heavily on the experience of their students in nature.

The education programs provided by the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont celebrate the ecological and cultural diversity of the Smokies, while helping those that seek a greater understanding of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park itself. Through such programs as Wilderness First Responder courses, photo workshops, hiking adventures, and naturalist certification, the Institute is able to carry out its mission.

“Connecting people and nature.” What is the meaning behind it? What’s the Great Smoky Mountains Institute’s common thread? Who do we serve and how does motto connect with our programs?

Questions like these are constantly asked and expounded upon at the Smokies Institute. The Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont believes that three strands make up its purpose and include a Sense of Place, Diversity, and Stewardship. These strands weave the thread that flows through each lesson and program offered.

The following are ideas and values that these themes represent:

Sense of Place

  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a unique and inspiring place.
  • Wild places like the Smokies are important to the health of our planet.
  • Each of us is a part of our “home” ecosystem. These same “sense of place” attitudes should be transferred to our home ecosystem.


  • There is tremendous diversity within Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
  • The Smokies have been and continue to be affected by people of diverse interests and perspectives.
  • We can learn much about ourselves by living in a community with people of diverse backgrounds, philosophies, and cultures.


  • We have a responsibility for preserving and caring for the Smokies and places like it.
  • Preserving places like the Smokies means learning about their problems and working to help.
  • Our lifestyle and daily habits can be adjusted to have minimal impact upon the environment.

Tremont 2012 Program Calendar

January 2012
13-15 Bernheim Middle School, Shepherdsville, KY
15-22 Wilderness First Responder
21 Winter Woody Plant ID
February 2012
3-5 Wilderness First Responder Refresher
10-12 Family Adventure Weekend
13-17 The Cornerstone School, Ocala, FL
15-17 New Horizon Montessori School, Louisville, TN
17-19 SANCP: Interpretation and Naturalist Skills
17-19 Likin’ Lichens Workshop
19-24 East Hardin Middle School, Glendale, KY
20-22 Eagleton Middle School, Maryville, TN
24-26 Immaculate Conception Cathedral High School, Memphis, TN
24-28 Lebanon Special School District, Lebanon, TN
27-March 2 Lenoir City Middle School, Lenoir City, TN
28-March 2 Bruno Montessori, Birmingham, AL
March 2012
2-5 Rockwood School District, Eureka, MO
5-7 Hazelwood West Middle School, Hazelwood, MO
5-7 Oak Mountain Academy, Carrolton, GA
7-9 MacDonald Intermediate School, Fort Knox, KY
7-9 Seymour Community Christian School, Seymour, TN
9-12 Rockwood School District, Eureka, MO
12-16 Old Trail School, Bath, OH
14-18 Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, GA
16-18 Spring City Middle School, Spring City, TN
18-24 Spring Outdoor Recreation Consortium
24 Smokies Scavenger Hunt
25-27 Woodward Academy, Atlanta, GA
26-30 St. Mary of the Lake School, New Buffalo, MI
28-30 St. Luke’s Episcopal School, Mobile, AL
30- April 2 Rockwood School District, Eureka, MO
April 2012
2-4 Christ Presbyterian Academy, Nashville, TN
4-6 Randolph School, Huntsville, AL
7-9 Seymour Community Christian School, Seymour, TN
9-12 Faith Christian School, Summerville, SC
9-14 Spring Hiking Road Scholar
13-15 McDowell Early College, Marion, NC
13-15 Winton Woods High School, Cincinnati, OH
16-18 Jackson Christian School, Jackson, TN
16-20 Sycamore School, Indianapolis, IN
18-20 St. Anne’s Middle School, Bristol, VA
20-23 Spring Photography Workshop
23-27 Holy Comforter Episcopal School, Tallahassee, FL
27-30 Rockwood School District, Eureka, MO
30- May 2 Boyd Christian School, McMinnville, TN
30- May 4 Rockford Elementary School, Rockford, TN
May 2012
2-4 Eagleton Elementary, Maryville, TN
4-6 Trinity Christian School, Apopka, FL
4-6 SANCP: Birds of the Smokies
4-6 SANCP: Plants
7-9 Calvin Donaldson Env. Science Academy, Chattanooga, TN
7-9 Woodlawn School – 6th Grade, Davidson, NC
9-11 Jones Valley Elementary, Huntsville, AL
11-13 Scottsboro City Gifted Program, Scottsboro, AL
12 Birdwatching at Cades Cove
13-17 Maplewood Richmond Heights Middle School, St. Louis, MO
18-21 Rockwood School District, Eureka, MO
21-23 St. Paul Lutheran School, Peachtree City, GA
June 2012
3 Walker Valley Reunion
11-16 Discovery Camp I
11-16 Wilderness Adventure Trek
11-16 Girls in Science Camp
18-23 Smoky Mountain Science Teacher Institute
18-23 Trout Unlimited Camp
18-23 NCSU Wildlife Camp
22-28 Camp Quest
25-30 Discovery Camp II
25-30 Wilderness Adventure Trek II
25-30 Backcountry Ecological Expedition
July 2012
2-7 Smoky Mountain Family Camp
6 Albright Grove Old Growth Hike
9-14 Discovery Camp III
9-19 Teen High Adventure
9-19 Field Ecology Adventure
23-27 SANCP: Reptiles and Amphibians
23-27 SANCP: Aquatic Natural History
23-27 Teacher Quality Workshop
August 2012
6-11 Natural Resources College Consortium
10-11 Leadership Blount
September 2012
3-8 Fall Outdoor Recreation Consortium
8-9 Teacher Escape Weekend
16 Homecoming
21-23 SANCP: Southern Appalachian Ecology
21-23 SANCP Advanced: Advanced Naturalist Field Skills
October 2012
6-7 Teacher Escape Weekend
7-13 Fall Hiking Road Scholar
19-21 Women’s Backpack
19-21 Autumn Brilliance Photography Workshop
November 2012
2-4 Teacher Workshop Climate Change
2-4 SANCP: Mammals