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9 Wheelchair Accessible Activities in the Great Smoky Mountains

Updated: Sep 7, 2021

Seniors and handicapped guests know that not all vacation destinations are wheelchair accessible. Although the Great Smoky Mountains are known for their beautiful outdoor hiking trails, there are plenty of wheelchair accessible activities in the Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge area.


The following is a list of nine wheelchair accessible activities in the Great Smoky Mountains.


1. Cades Cove Riding Stables


Although one of the primary attractions of the Cades Cove Riding Stables is the guided horseback rides, they offer plenty of wheelchair accessible activities. Their hayrides and guided carriage rides both have carriages that are modified to allow wheelchair access.


Their facilities are dedicated to making the outdoors as accessible as possible. If you and your loved ones want to enjoy nature, their wheelchair accessible facilities and activities are a great option.


2. Pirate’s Voyage Dinner & Show


The Pirate’s Voyage Dinner & Show in Pigeon forge combines stage entertainment with a four-course meal. This pirate-themed stage production includes music, aerobic stunts, live animals, audience interaction, and more.


The show lasts for about an hour and a half and vegetarian and gluten-free meals are available upon request. According to their website, the location is wheelchair accessible. They also provide wireless headsets for the hearing impaired, allowing family members of all ages to enjoy the show.


3. Ripley’s Aquarium


Ripley’s Aquarium is home to thousands of fascinating aquatic creatures. Rays, penguins, sea turtles, sharks, jellyfish, eels, and other exotic fish are all part of the attractions at Ripley’s Aquarium.


All of their facilities are wheelchair accessible. Ripley’s Aquarium also offers free wheelchair rentals to those in need.


4. Dollywood & Dollywood Splash Country


Dollywood is an amusement park with more than fifty rides. Inside the park, visitors can enjoy entertainment, dining, and a friendly park atmosphere. Dollywood Splash Country is the attached waterpark.


Both parks have gone to great lengths to be accessible to those in wheelchairs. Wheelchairs can be reserved ahead of your visit if you don’t have one to bring into the park. The Dollywood Tram is wheelchair accessible, as are many of the rides. Dollywood’s “Ride Accessibility Center” inside the park can provide you with a boarding pass and guide to help you find accessible rides.


Dollywood Splash Country has Accessibility Tubes with built in seats and Aquatic Transfer Wheelchairs that can enter water. All lifeguards at Dollywood are trained to assist users with these, making the waterpark enjoyable by all.


5. Anakeesta


Anakeesta is a breathtaking amusement park that helps immerse visitors in the beautiful outdoors of the Rocky Mountains. While not all of their attractions are wheelchair accessible, they offer many fun activities that can be enjoyed by the whole family.


Their chondolas are wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs, allowing every member of the family to ride up to the summit. Scenic vistas, shops, and restaurants all offer wheelchair accessible areas. The Vista Gardens, though not currently accessible, is in the process of building a ramp for better access.


Even with parts of Anakeesta remaining inaccessible, much of the park has been modified to help those in wheelchairs enjoy the amazing sites of the Rocky Mountains.


6. Laurel Creek Falls Trail


Your family doesn’t have to miss out on the beautiful hiking trails of the Rocky Mountains. The Laurel Creek Falls Trail is a 2.17 mile roundtrip trail. This trail is fully paved, allowing wheelchair users to enjoy the sites of nature.


The trail is steep in some places, but wheelchair users should be able to manage with a little help from friends and family. If you want to enjoy hiking trails on your trip, this trail is accessible to all.


7. Mountain Memory Tours


The Mountain Memory Tour allows visitors to see the scenic landscape of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. These bus tours provide guests with information about local history, nature, folklore, and nearby attractions.


The Mountain Memory Tour allows guests to relax and enjoy sightseeing with friends and family. Their tour buses are wheelchair accessible, making them a great option for enjoying all the views that the Great Smoky Mountains have to offer.


8. Titanic Museum


The Titanic Museum in Pigeon Forge allows you to enjoy over 400 artifacts related directly to the Titanic ship and its passengers. This museum offers self-guided tours and extensive attraction add-ons. You can shovel “coal” in the Titanic boiler room, learn how to send an SOS distress signal, touch an actual iceberg, and much more.


Although this attraction can be quite crowded, it is wheelchair accessible. There is an elevator available at the Grand Staircase. Wheelchair accessible bathrooms are available throughout the museum.


9. Gatlinburg Space Needle


The Gatlinburg Space Needle is a 407 foot tall observation tower that can be seen from anywhere in Gatlinburg. Their elevator is wheelchair-friendly, allowing all members of your party to enjoy the 360-degree view of the city.


Once you reach the top of your 400 foot elevator ride, you can go out on the observation deck to see an amazing view of Gatlinburg. Whether you enjoy this attraction at the start or end of your trip, it’s a great way to see all that Gatlinburg has to offer.

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