One of the STS Top 20 events, Pigeon Forge’s A Mountain Quiltfest, begins this week, but it is just one of many ways to enjoy what the great state of Tennessee has to offer.
On May 4-8, you can celebrate the art and heritage of quilting at the 27th annual quiltfest with quilters from far and wide coming together at the LeConte Center in Pigeon Forge. There are classes for all skill levels and various techniques as well as a quilt show putting a variety of quilts on display. Prizes will be awarded for the winning quilts, and vendors will be available at their booths selling various quilting necessities and accessories.
Go to www.mypigeonforge.com/event/quiltfest for more details.
Tennessee also has you covered if you’re interested in outdoor adventures. Caves, climbs, waterfalls and the most visited national park in the U.S. are all here.
Climbers will find the craggy terrain of Tennessee to their liking. The Obed Wild and Scenic River, which is managed by the National Park Service, is home to more than 300 climbing routes covering a range of difficulties. There are others such as those at Castle Rock, Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area and Stone Fort Bouldering, rated one of the best in the Southeast.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a natural jewel. The 522,427-acre wonderland is home to a dazzling array of wildlife, more than 1,600 species of flowering plants and stunning vistas that can be found at nearly every turn. Clingmans Dome, the highest point in Tennessee, rises within the park at 6,643-foot elevation.
Tennessee is a land of flowing water, including more than 500 waterfalls. The highest and possibly best-known waterfall in the state is Fall Creek Falls, which plunges 256 feet within the state park of the same name. Some are reached by an arduous hike; others a short stroll. One, Ruby Falls, is located underground, plunging 145 feet within Lookout Mountain, making it the largest underground waterfall in the U.S. Discover Jackson Falls from the Natchez Trace Parkway. Stop by Machine Falls near Tullahoma. Hear the roar of Twin Falls at Rock Island State Park and admire the interesting rock formations along the way.
Tennessee has thousands of acres and miles of lakes, rivers and streams. Admire the wildlife around Center Hill Lake in the middle of the state. Head east to enjoy Nickajack Lake, where the world’s largest freshwater drum fish was caught, weighing in at more than 54 pounds. In West Tennessee, explore Pickwick Lake at Pickwick Landing State Park or navigate your boat among the sunken cypress trees at Reelfoot Lake in Tiptonville.
Tennessee’s natural wonders extend below ground with more than 10,000 caves, more than any other state. Consider Craighead Caverns, a massive underground system near Sweetwater which also harbors the Lost Sea, the country’s largest underground lake. If you dare, explore the Bell Witch Cave near Adams, which is haunted by a ghostly story. Jackson Cave within Cedars of Lebanon State Park has its own mysteries.
The Ocoee was the host site for the 1996 Olympic canoeing slalom competition. Its Class IV runs are thrilling and unforgettable as is the rugged countryside through which the river flows. The Nolichucky River, located in the northeastern part of the state was included in the International Rafting Federation’s Top 10 Best Rafting Rivers in the World for its Class III and IV rapids. The Pigeon River has rapids ranging from Class I to Class IV and was ranked No. 3 among the top whitewater rafting rivers in the nation.
Start planning your outdoor adventure in Tennessee.