Nestled against the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, it’s no wonder that the city of Gatlinburg has such a striking natural environment, brimming with all kinds of wildlife. Birding is an immensely popular activity here, with an abundance of areas nearby that are perfectly suited for this thrilling yet peaceful activity. Read on below to find out more about the Gatlinburg bird sanctuary below:
See Gatlinburg’s Beautiful Birds
First and foremost on your list of birding destinations in the Gatlinburg area should be the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. An expansive park on the edge of town home to towering mountain peaks blanketed in dense forests at a variety of elevations, birds make their refuge in all kinds of habitats here.
Spruce firs shelter Canada and Blackburnian Warblers, Winter Wren, Black-capped Chickadee, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Veery, and Northern Saw-whet Owl. Dark-eyed Junco hide in the trees, while Common Ravens fly freely in the air. Chestnut-sided Warblers are peek out of blackberry thickets. Cades Cove, one of the most famous spots in the park, is well-known for its plethora of Wild Turkey. Songbirds, hawks, kestrel, finches, thrush, sparrow, vireo, and more can be found everywhere from hardwood forests to open fields.
While Great Smoky Mountains National Park alone could keep birders of all interests occupied, Seven Islands State Birding Park just an hour’s drive northwest of Gatlinburg is another worthwhile birding locale. Habitats of grassland and aquatic environments encourage a diverse array of birds to make their home here. Waterfowl, hawks, and songbirds can be spotted by trails running through the meadow, while Barn Owls, predictably, take refuge in old barns in the area.
Further northwest from Gatlinburg (about an hour and a half), Norris Dam State Park rounds off our list of spectacular birding locations. Home to the Norris Reservoir, the types of birds spotted here love the water. After your birding adventures, you can explore the rest of this park, which offers skiing, boating, and fishing on the lake, as well as the Lenoir Museum’s artifacts and exhibits on the natural and social history of life in Southern Appalachia. Nearby, you’ll encounter the Museum of Appalachia and Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area.
Things to Do Nearby
Once you are done learning about the beautiful birds in the Smokies, you will find much to do in town. Dollywood offers everything from thrill rides to dinner theater shows to fantastic food. If you visit the park, make sure to take a ride on the wooden roller coaster that will give you a spectacular view of the mountains before you go plummeting down the 128-foot drop. Don’t leave the park without trying a piece of the cinnamon bread that comes dripping with butter and icing.
If you want to get a bit of education in during your vacation, be sure to take a walk around the Arts and Crafts section of town. Here you can see local artists working their magic. Some of the most famous artists in the country make Gatlinburg their home. It is the perfect place to find a quilt or a painting that you can take back home or the perfect piece of jewelry to give to a friend.
A long day of touring can make a person quite peckish, and there are plenty of great places to eat in town. You may only have a day or two to visit and there are a few places you should not miss.
Crockett’s Breakfast Camp
1103 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738
This eatery has been in town since 1840 and is dedicated to the memory of the raccoon-wearing warrior himself. The place serves hearty breakfasts that would sate the appetite of the hungriest pioneer. Be sure to try Aretha’s Pecan Waffle that comes drenched in caramel and bananas or the Splinters Maples Scrambler, which is made with three eggs and a ton of veggies.
Three Jimmy’s Good Time Eatery
1103 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738
This fun spot offers huge American meals accompanied by some great local music. They open at 11:00 am every day and serve a menu of comfort food. The pizza is the most popular item on the menu. The jalapeno bottle caps come with ranch dressing and are the perfect appetizer to enjoy with a beer. They also offer barbeque, sandwiches and a tasty pinto bean and rice soup.
Tom and Earl’s Back Alley Grill
This laid-back restaurant is very popular with the locals. It features a large selection of libations and country cooking. Be sure to try the cream corn fritters that are served with a tangy chipotle dressing. The menu features sandwiches named after some of the Smokies’ most mythologized characters such as the Sloppy Jethro and the Hatfield chicken.
Bird Sanctuary in Gatlinburg TN
To learn more about birding and other incredible outdoor activities you can enjoy in Gatlinburg, contact our reservations team and discuss booking your stay in one of our luxurious vacation rental cabins today! Learn about the bird sanctuary in Gatlinburg TN!