During our weekend trip to Gatlinburg, we were treated to a little nature guide from a Walk in the Woods. Before you all go, who need a guide when you just walk a nature trail, I had the same thought when I first heard about ‘A Walk in the Woods’, a nature guide service in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. But after spent some times on their site and checked out various services they offer, I quickly changed my mind and was glad that the Holiday Inn Club Vacations Gatlinburg had arranged a complimentary guide for our family.
Who is A Walk in the Woods
A Walk in the Woods is guided by Vesna and her team of local nature experts who have vast amount of knowledge of the Great Smoky Mountains in a more intimate way, not just textbook information that you read off from a guidebook. They have been providing nature guide tours for over 12th year! And you know, you are in a good hand when you saw that Samantha Brown from the Travel Channel chose them as her guide.
A Beginner Step to Hiking the Smokies
Vesna met us at our resort lobby and quickly got acquainted with Miss J and Mr. Z. She had planned an easy family-friendly nature walk for us as an introduction to the Smoky Mountains. I had to admit that I wasn’t sure how hard the walk would be or how Mr. Z would survive the whole walk seeing he already whined about our walk from downtown Gatlinburg back to the resort earlier that day. Not a good sign!
Sugarlands Valley Trail
Our destination for that day was Sugarlands Valley Trail – a super easy, paved nature walk trail near the entrance of the Smoky Mountains in Gatlinburg and the Sugarlands Visitor Center. For family who travel with young kids, this is a perfect trail to introduce your kids to the Smoky Mountains.
The trail is right off the main road going through the Smokies with plenty of parking space. With just half mile loop, even the most reluctant kids would be able to tackle this trail.
I couldn’t express how much I love the guide with Vesna. She was friendly and animated for the kids and was able to command their attention throughout the whole walk with stories and tales of this great National Park. Vesna also was very patient to answer all the questions from Mr. Z who seemed to say “Excuse me, what happen.. da da da..” every 5 minutes.
We walked through and learned about the old settlement and their lives.
We learned about plants and animals. She even showed Miss J how people in the past use plants in their lives.. Brushing your teeth anyone?
Before we knew it, we were at the end of the trail! We had a really great time learning all about nature that we wouldn’t be able to fully appreciate otherwise. Yes, walking or hiking is an easy activity to do. Put on your shoes and start walking. But making a walk or a hike fun and educational for a family is something that is harder to accomplish.
Our Stamp of Approval
I personally would contact Vesna and A Walk in the Woods team again when we visit Gatlinburg. It’s the best way to enjoy hiking and learning about the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Plus the cost of their service is very reasonable and I think it’s worth every pennies. Put it this way, it’s cheaper than going to most amusement parks and your kids will learn so much more!
Disclosure: Thank you Vesna for a wonderful day in the wood and the Holiday Inn Club Vacations for arranging the tour for us! This post is based solely on my experience and my opinion without any outside influence.