Are you going to be staying in one of our Wears Valley cabins this week? If so, your timing is good, because this week, one of the Smokies’ most popular annual special events returns to Pigeon Forge. Wilderness Wildlife Week, which takes place at the LeConte Event Center May 18 through 22, is designed to give nature lovers, hikers and outdoors enthusiasts of all types a truly enriching Smoky Mountain experience.
This five days of walks, talks and workshops features a variety of programs that are geared toward all ages and areas of outdoor interests. And not only do guests get to hear from some of the nation’s foremost experts in their respective fields, but they also get to participate in multiple outings, ranging from short nature strolls to more challenging hikes. Best of all, everything during Wilderness Wildlife Week is free.
The week offers something for everyone, from kids to adults, and there are many brand-new events for all ages this year. Below is just a small sampling of the dozens of programs available throughout the week, most of which take place at the LeConte Center. Note that some activities require guests to sign up at the LeConte Center on the morning of the event they’re interested in joining.
Forest Health and You: What’s Happening to the Forest and What You Can Do
Fred and Ted the Fish: Keep Sevier Beautiful
Painting the Smokies
Learn to Sew
Hiking & Backpacking: Getting Started with the Right Gear
Learn to Play the Spoons
Leave No Trace: The Principles of Outdoor Ethics
Children of the ‘60s
Fly Fishing the Smokies
This year’s outdoor excursions, which are led by expert guides, include hikes of destinations like Abrams Falls, Rainbow Falls, Andrews Bald, Charlies Bunyon, the Chimneys and Elkmont. There are also bus tours of the Bush Beans Museum as well as tubing, whitewater rafting and owl prowls. Hikes are rated anywhere from easy to strenuous, and all participants are responsible for dressing appropriately and bringing the right gear to the excursion.
Sign-ups for these outings take place at the LeConte Center the day PRIOR to the specific activity you’re interested in joining (except Wednesday outings, which have sign-ups that morning).
Wilderness Wildlife Week also features a farmer’s market, nature-themed arts and crafts exhibits, vendors selling outdoors-related gear and paraphernalia, a photo contest and more. The dozens of participating experts represent some of the most notable names in their fields and include Bill Landry of The Heartland Series and noted forensic anthropologist Dr. William Bass.
If you’re staying in one of our cabins, Pigeon Forge is usually only a 10-minute drive from Wears Valley, and once you get to town, the LeConte Center is just a mile or so away on Teaster Lane. We hope to see you this week!