Wilderness Week in Pigeon Forge begins its 19th year on January 10-17, 2009, with a series of outdoor themed activities designed to connect visitors with the outdoor world of the Great Smoky Mountains.
During Pigeon Forge Wilderness Week, nearly 100 experts on nature and the great outdoors will host walks, hikes, seminars and lectures on a wide variety of topics, including Smoky Mountain history and plant and animal life. A number of Wilderness Wildlife Week programs are designed for children.
Guided Wilderness Week hikes through the Smokies range from easy, relaxed walks to more strenuous, multi-mile treks. Topics vary with individual hikes. To properly prepare for daylong outings, hikers are encouraged to bring gloves, head cover, rain gear, lunch or trail snacks, a flashlight and an extra pair of socks.
Wilderness Wildlife Week offers activities for all ages and attracts thousands of nature lovers to Pigeon Forge. The International Festivals & Events Association has recognized Pigeon Forge Wilderness Week for its environmental and educational efforts. Wilderness Week activities are offered free of charge. Music Road Hotel & Convention Center is the headquarters for the event.
For a brochure outlining all the activities of Pigeon Forge Wilderness Week, call 1-800-WINTERFEST or the Pigeon Forge Office of Special Events at (865) 429-7350.
Cades Cove Heritage Tours has started the first-ever guided educational shuttle service through Cades Cove. Cades Cove attracts nearly two million visitors and 800,000 vehicles each year. To improve traffic condition and air quality, the public will now be able to get a guided shuttle tour through the 11-mile loop.
"Visitors who take a tour with us will not only learn about the rich mountain history and unique natural resources of Cades Cove but will also feel good about how their choice affects the environment of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park," said Alex Roche, manager of the nonprofit Cades Cove Heritage Tours. The shuttles are 19-passenger fuel efficient vehicles. Public tours cost $13 for adults, $10 for seniors, $8 for children and six and under are free. The tours will operate daily, leaving the depot at 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. lasting approximately three hours. The depot is located next door to the Great Smoky Mountain Heritage Center in Townsend.