Sky High Adventures
August is adventure month in the 9 Lakes of East Tennessee. As the summer season begins to wind down, Mother Nature provides visitors with warm days and cooler evenings. August skies in the 9 Lakes always seem to be bluer and the sunsets are more dramatic, making it the perfect month for “sky high” adventures. Here are some of our favorite ways to get vertical:
Located in the heart of downtown, the Gatlinburg SkyBridge is the longest suspension bridge in North America and spans 680 feet across a deep valley. Your adventure will take you on a walk that will give you a panoramic view of the Smokies while standing 140 feet above the valley floor. The attraction is open until 10 pm nightly.
Hot air balloons are the draw at the annual Great Smoky Mountain Balloon Festival in Townsend, TN. This year’s festival will be held on August 17 from 3pm to 9 pm. Experience the festival by taking a tethered ride up into the sky for a one of a kind view of the summer beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. At dusk, the evening sky will be lit up with a balloon glow to the back drop of a Tennessee sunset.
SkyDive East TN offers novice skydivers an opportunity to make their first jump as a tandem jump with an instructor. After climbing to an altitude of 11,000 feet, the 5-6 minute parachute ride back to earth provides beautiful views of The Great Smoky Mountains and Douglas Lake.
Lace up your hiking boots for a 5.6 miles sky high hike on the Mount Sterling trail. The fire tower at the summit provides what some hikers have deemed as the most panoramic view of the Smokies. The moderately rugged trail winds its way through firs and spruce on its upward ascent. Trailheads can be found in the Cosby Campground or off of I40. The trail also abounds in history dating from early settlements to Civil War deserters. Be sure to stop by Books at Our Place in Cosby for a cup of coffee and learn more about the area.
Dine in the clouds at McCloud Mountain Restaurant located at an elevation of 2700 feet atop the Cumberland Mountains. The view takes in three mountains, beautiful Norris Lake, and the City of Knoxville. Reservations are required, but dress is casual.
With so many adventures in the 9 Lakes, you will want to get elevated!