Imagine the clean scent of a mountain morning, the bubbling sounds of a quiet brook at your feet, and the dance of sunlight on silvery trout as they practically jump onto your hook. For two days this summer that's exactly what you'll experience as Pigeon Forge, Tennessee plays host to the 11th annual Smoky Mountain Trout Tournament. Locals, tourists, young and old alike are invited to participate in the fun, catch a few fish, and maybe take home the grand prize.
Old Fashioned Family Fun
Turn off your laptop and leave your cell phone behind, because this weekend is all about getting back to nature. With more than 20 miles of streams to explore, you and your family will find plenty of room to stretch out and enjoy the vast wilderness of the Great Smoky Mountains. Thousands of trout will be stocked prior to the event, so even the most inexperienced anglers in your group will have a chance to land the big one.
The tournament features four divisions to help keep the contest fair. Travelers won't have to worry about competing against locals with years of experience fishing these waters, and kids under 15 can battle each other for the top prize instead of the adults. In addition to cash prizes of up to $500, winners also have a chance to receive fishing equipment, tickets to area attractions, gift certificates, and more.
When you're ready to take a break from fishing, the Great Smoky Mountains offer a stunning variety of plants and wildlife to enjoy. Everywhere you look in this peaceful setting, you'll see the beauty of old-growth forest. Tiny woodland creatures scurry about on their daily errands, while white-tailed deer nap in quiet meadows. Without the noise of traffic and the jangling of your cell phone, it's easy to put city living behind you, at least for the weekend.
Plenty of Fun for Non-Anglers
Prefer to spend the weekend without a fishing pole? You can still enjoy the natural beauty of the area. Get a bird's eye view of the Great Smoky Mountains when you take an exhilarating zipline tour, or ride the tram to Ober Gatlinburg for a panoramic display of nature you won't soon forget. Once at the top you can get to know the locals a little better at Wildlife Encounter, where you'll even see one of the area's most elusive residents, a black bear.
For a little more excitement, don't miss a stop by Dollywood, Pigeon Forge's premier amusement park. Mystery Mine, the Tennessee Tornado, and Thunderhead will astound you with their breakneck speeds and hairpin turns, while the high-flying Barnstormer will make you feel like a daredevil pilot. If you just can't get enough water, be sure to check out Splash Country. You'll discover how much fun those mountain streams can be on Slick Rock Racer, a recreation of Dolly Parton's favorite childhood memory of sliding along a clear mountain creek.
Summer in the Great Smoky Mountains offers plenty of fun for your entire family, from stunning scenery to prize-winning trout to breathtaking thrill rides. The Smoky Mountain Trout Tournament kicks off just before sunrise on September 24, and concludes at 2pm on the 25th. Whether you're a seasoned angler or don't know a rod from a reel, you'll have a chance to win - and you're sure to have fun trying.