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crownroyaltiger
LSU Fan
The Good Ole L.P.
Member since Jan 2005
289 posts

Gatlinburg|smokies in a wheelchair
Anyone with any experience doing this? My 9 yr old wants to see mountains, she can walk a short distance, but primarily is in her chair. Any advice,hiking trails, that are chair accessible?


geauxpurple
LSU Fan
New Orleans
Member since Jul 2014
3280 posts

re: Gatlinburg|smokies in a wheelchair
There is an easy paved trail with a nice waterfall at the end. I am looking for my book on Smokey Mountain Park hiking trails. I will let you know the name when I find the book. ........I have taken many of the hikes, both easy and difficult. That is why I like it when LSU plays Tennessee on the road.


Dam Guide
New Orleans Saints Fan
Nooga
Member since Sep 2005
10786 posts

re: Gatlinburg|smokies in a wheelchair
Laurel Falls is a hike that is paved.

You can do roaring fork and cade’s cove. It’s as close to hiking in a car that you can get.

If it is during the warm months, you can do Parson’s Branch. Unimproved dirt road to US129 to get a driving/hiking feel. Plenty of other good rides as well if you want them to see the mountains without walking.

Near the area you have the Cherohala Skyway, plenty of dirt roads over in that direction too. Can take the new section of the foothills parkway to have a good drive closer.


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Dam Guide
New Orleans Saints Fan
Nooga
Member since Sep 2005
10786 posts

re: Gatlinburg|smokies in a wheelchair
quote:

easy paved trail with a nice waterfall


Laurel Falls


geauxpurple
LSU Fan
New Orleans
Member since Jul 2014
3280 posts

re: Gatlinburg|smokies in a wheelchair
Yes. That is the one you want.


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soccerfüt
Truth Detective
Member since May 2013
31014 posts

re: Gatlinburg|smokies in a wheelchair
God bless you & your’s fella, y’all are doing the Lord’s work.

Hope you all have a wonderful trip.



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madamsquirrel
LSU Fan
The Snarlington Estate
Member since Jul 2009
22669 posts

re: Gatlinburg|smokies in a wheelchair
We did laurel falls last year. It is technically paved but many cracks and roots. I dont know that a chair would make it.


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rilesrick
Member since Mar 2015
4229 posts

re: Gatlinburg|smokies in a wheelchair
Yep did Laurel recently as well more than a little bumpy. Get out the all terrrain version and have a great time.


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Twenty 49
LSU Fan
Shreveport
Member since Jun 2014
10024 posts

re: Gatlinburg|smokies in a wheelchair
I recall seeing baby strollers on Laurel Falls, but it wasn't like a sidewalk. Took some effort.

The path to Clingman's Dome is like an asphalt sidewalk. It is pretty steep, which is challenging going up or down for a chair. I recall seeing more baby strollers here. Smooth path with some benches along the way.

Here are some comments on Wheelchair accessible trails in the Smoky Mtns.

Best Wheelchair Friendly Trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Tripadvisor thread on wheelchair/scooter trails in the Smokys

The park service also has an accessibility page with tips on parking, an Access Passport for free/reduced admissions, etc.

It mentions another short trail. NPS Plan Your Visit

quote:

Most trails in Great Smoky Mountains National Park are steep and rugged. However, the Sugarlands Valley Nature Trail is an accessible trail made possible through a public-private partnership is located on Newfound Gap Road, just south of Sugarlands Visitor Center. Interpretive exhibits located along the one-half mile paved trail describe the unique historic and natural features as the trail winds through second growth forest along the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River.


Another accessibility guide is here: Accessibility Information for Trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

They say of Laurel: "Trail Condition: Passable with surface damage, cracks and ruts, quite steep with significant drop offs.
Trail Warning: Persons using this trail with a wheelchair must be highly functional in their mobility and may still require considerable assistance."

For Clingman: "Trail Condition: Excellent but extremely steep.
Trail Warning: Persons using this trail with a wheelchair must be highly functional in their mobility and may still require considerable assistance."


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10
Phideaux
Montana Fan
The Valley
Member since May 2008
2148 posts

re: Gatlinburg|smokies in a wheelchair
What month are you going? I can give a few ideas to see wildlife from your car without getting stuck in Cades Cove for 4 hours in a bear jam.


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Clark W Griswold
LSU Fan
THE USA
Member since Sep 2012
7170 posts

re: Gatlinburg|smokies in a wheelchair
You can google it and find several trails but the ones I know are the Gatlinburg trail and a few others that aren’t named trails but listed as Quiet Walkways. The park service can give you great advice though. We took an elderly family member once and made him go with us on the trails to prove he could do it with us. The ones I listed were either paved or graded and only small inclines. Lower elevations usually but still got to see a waterfall at Cararact Falls and some nice streams on the walkways. Any of them that have handicapped parking are made for it. Also, Anakeesta is pretty and you can do the indoor gondola probably with the chair. Drive up to Newfound Gap or Cade’s Cove for some other nice views.


crownroyaltiger
LSU Fan
The Good Ole L.P.
Member since Jan 2005
289 posts

re: Gatlinburg|smokies in a wheelchair
Thanks for all the replies. Trying to arrange the trip for this summer. Doing New York in a couple of weeks. If I survive that one i plan on doing more. Just wanted to see what others had experienced before I committed.


Phideaux
Montana Fan
The Valley
Member since May 2008
2148 posts

re: Gatlinburg|smokies in a wheelchair
I would stop at the Sugarlands Visitor Center first and speak to the volunteers there. They can tell you what is open and the best options. I would stick to the paved trails because the conditions of non-paved can get ugly fast if it rains.

Look into the Great Smoky Mountains Institute At Tremont and their citizens scientists programs. You may find you can sign up to help band songbirds. Very kid focused programs.

Look on the NPS website as someone linked above and look for the ranger led programs that are free and also Junior Ranger Programs where kids complete tasks and earn a badge.

Cades Cove closes to cars on Sat and Wed mornings in the summer so people can walk/bike. You could possibly do a small portion on foot/wheelchair by just going down the paved road taking your time.

Cataloochee Valley which is in the NC side of the park in the evening arriving around 6:30 7:00 pm and the elk will come out and graze in the open meadows. You can do see elk around the Oconoluftee Visitor Center too but it’s crowded space there.

If you are around in May 25 to June 14 you may hear about the synchronous fireflies that are in Elkmont. The lottery to get ticketsattend will be posted before then and I highly recommend it if you can go. It is a magnificent natural wonder.


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TimeOutdoors
Mississippi St. Fan
Depends on the day
Member since Sep 2014
3676 posts

re: Gatlinburg|smokies in a wheelchair
Cade’s cove is a great place to see the mountains. Plenty of places to pull over and spend some time. Fontana Dam is also a great accessible place to visit.


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