By Leif Palmer
Remember when you and your college buddies would head to the wilderness for a few days of much-needed R & R? It's harder and harder to get away now that everyone has kids and other responsibilities, but if you're ready to spend some time just hanging out with the guys, you can't do better than the Great Smoky Mountains.
Hiking and Fishing Gear Welcome
From April through November, the streams that crisscross the mountains are brimming with colorful trout. With more than 500 miles of waterways to choose from, you're sure to find the perfect spot for mastering your fly-fishing skills.
The Great Smoky Mountains are home to hundreds of species of plants and animals, and seeing them is as easy as pulling on your hiking boots and hitting the trail. Eight hundred miles of trails – from flat, easy walks to vigorous climbs – offer ample opportunity to see the area in a whole new way. Whether you're a seasoned hiker or just want to enjoy the quiet of the country, an afternoon spent on a hiking trail is a welcome escape from city life.
There's a lot more to a weekend in the Smokies than quiet fishing holes and hikes in the wilderness. If speed is what you're looking for, make plans to visit NASCAR Speedpark in Sevierville and spend the day challenging one another for the coveted checkered flag. With eight tracks, including the premier Smoky Mountains Speedway quarter-mile oval, you'll find plenty of action to keep your adrenaline flowing.
When it's time for a break from racing, the arcade, rock-climbing wall, speed bumper boats, and more are enough to keep any group of guys busy all day. Whether you long to get behind the wheel of a 3/8 scale racecar, or simply want to spend an afternoon navigating a top-rated miniature golf course, you'll find it at NASCAR Speedpark.
For the best of all worlds, combine your love of speed with the stunning beauty of the mountains with a treetop zipline tour. Grab your helmet and clip your harness onto a thin steel cable and then just step away from the platform. You'll soon be soaring through the trees at speeds that will leave you breathless. Not only that, but you'll also experience the view in a way that few – aside from the birds – do. It's a must-see adventure for any outdoorsman.
Accommodations are easy to find, too, making a trip to the Great Smoky Mountains hassle free. Hotels and campgrounds are plentiful, but for a true getaway, consider a rustic cabin in the woods. You'll find rentals perfect for any size group, from two to 16 or more.
Looking for a place to hang out with the guys for a weekend or even a week? You won't find a more suitable location than Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, TN. A variety of activities ensure everyone in your group will have plenty of fun. Not only that, but the area's central location also makes it easy for far-flung friends to meet up for a fun-filled weekend reunion.
About Leif Palmer
Leif Palmer loves residing in east Tennessee. He is an avid outdoorsman: rowing for exercise on the lake, trail hiking, and free climbing rocks in the mountains. He indulges his arty side by periodically beating up pieces of marble by sculpting. He is always frustrated by his inability to sink long putts, and hates his curly hair (but his wife loves it). Leif has been known to muster enough courage to change a diaper, and hopes his son will become a chip off the old block.