Cocke County, Tennessee
Discover the adventurous side of the Great Smoky Mountains.
(Pigeon, French Broad and Nolichucky), a national park (Great Smoky Mountains), a national forest (Cherokee) and a state forest (Martha Sundquist), Cocke County, Tennessee, is a paradise for people who love all things outdoors.
Rafting is big here—there are about 11 rafting outposts with trips ranging from mild to wild. Most of the action takes place on the white water of the upper Pigeon River. If you’d like a smoother ride, a calmer route awaits you on the lower Pigeon River.
Horseback riding is another favorite pastime. Cocke County is home to the French Broad River Outpost Ranch— one of the few dude ranches in the East. The place is secluded (it sits on 346 acres in the Smoky Mountains), and the main building looks like a saloon from the 1880s. Visitors can choose from five riding trails through the ranch and the mountains. In addition to horseback riding, the ranch gives families a chance
WITH THREE RIVERS
to get away from tech—there are no
TVs in the rooms and cellphones won’t work here. It’s a great time to bond through old-fashioned game nights and ranch activities such as square dancing.
For birders, Rankin Bottoms offers excellent birding throughout the year. In summer and fall you’ll spot great blue herons, double-crested cormorants, some killdeer and other shorebirds, and long-legged waders. In winter, ducks and geese take to the waters, and in spring, large numbers of songbirds fill the air with their melodies.
By water or by land, on the back of a horse or behind binoculars, there’s so much natural beauty to explore in Cocke County, Tennessee.