The Smoky Mountains and American Patriot Getaways cabins have many options that are “handicap friendly.” This means properties are typically homes with a level parking spot, have no more than one step required for entry, utilize a 3-foot or greater entry door, and include an entry level bedroom and bathroom. The adventures are sites from the car and wheelchair accessible path and entries.
Read ahead for our favorite attractions and cabins! If a member of your group requires special accommodation, please be sure to call our reservations office at (800) 204-5169 for specific questions about accessibility.
Handicap Accessible Places in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Much of the Smokies can be enjoyed from your vehicle and from accessible facilities and programs offered in the park. Activities range from viewing scenery and wildlife to exploring the intricacies of the forest floor and learning about the resourceful people who made a living from in this rugged part of the country.
Sugarlands Visitor Center
At Sugarlands Visitor Center there are designated accessible parking spaces available. Restrooms are accessible, as is the outside water fountain near the east parking lot. The visitor center is open year-round, except Christmas day, and is fully accessible. The information desk, book sales area, exhibits, and audiovisual room all are on one level. Accessible ranger-led programs are listed in the Smokies Guide, the official park newspaper.
Oconaluftee Visitor Center, the Mountain Farm Museum, and Mingus Mill
Designated handicap accessible parking spaces are available at the visitor center. Restrooms are accessible. The visitor center is open year-round, except Christmas day, and is accessible. Exhibits, information desk, and book sales area are all on one level.
Paths through the nearby Mountain Farm Museum are hard-packed gravel and wheelchair-accessible with assistance.
Mingus Mill, one-half mile north of the visitor center, is open seasonally. Accessible restrooms are adjacent to the parking area. A paved and packed-gravel trail of about 100 yards makes the mill accessible with assistance. A single step allows access to the interior ground floor of the mill.
Designated accessible parking spaces are available in the Cades Cove campground/picnic area parking lot across from the ranger station. The Cades Cove Campground Store and adjacent restrooms are accessible.
The historic buildings along the loop road are not accessible due to steps, lack of hard-surfaced walkways, and distance. However, many of the exteriors can be viewed from a vehicle.
Cable Mill is open seasonally. Designated accessible parking spaces are available near the sidewalk to the restrooms. There is ramp access to the visitor center where information, exhibits, and books are available. Restrooms and water fountains outside the visitor center are accessible.
The trail through the complex of historic buildings is level and surfaced with hard-packed gravel. Most of the buildings can be viewed from the outside doorways. The Becky Cable House is accessible via a ramp. The interior of the Cable mill is accessible when open. Seasonal guided tours are accessible with the exceptions noted above.
Cades Cove Loop Road is closed to all vehicles on Wednesdays from through September 1, 2021, to provide for pedestrian and bicycle use. And wheelchairs!
Other Tips for Accessibility in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Temporary Parking Permit – If you have a physical disability (including a temporary disability), or have in your company someone who needs handicap accessible parking, you may get a temporary parking permit at Sugarlands or Oconaluftee visitor centers.
Trails – Most trails in Great Smoky Mountains National Park are steep and rugged. However, the Sugarlands Valley Nature Trail is a flat, concrete surface suitable for wheelchairs and strollers. The short distance makes it a quick hike of less than thirty minutes. Interpretive exhibits located along the one-half mile paved trail describe the unique historic and natural features as the trail winds through second growth forest along the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River.
If you are a U.S. citizen and have a permanent disability, you may obtain a free Access Passport at Cades Cove, Elkmont, and Smokemont Campground kiosks. The passport allows free admission to federal areas that charge entrance fees and provides discounts for other types of user fees.
Handicap Accessible Attractions in Town
Gatlinburg Space Needle
TripAdvisor reviewers extol the Space Needle for its accessibility and price!
The iconic Gatlinburg Space Needle landmark is a 407-foot observation tower that overlooks downtown Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains. Ride the glass elevators to the observation deck for a 360° view of the Great Smoky Mountains and Gatlinburg.
Check out the Space Needle web cam here. Find the Space Needle at 115 Historic Nature Trail Gatlinburg, 865-436-4629.
Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies
Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies is a Certified Autism Center. The museum plays host several sensory-friendly events and nights throughout the year that offer lowered lighting and music throughout the facility. The museum also offers quiet spaces for those who need a break during their visit.
There are so many adventures at the 85,000-square-foot Aquarium of the Smokies, including sharks, eels, weedy spinefish, green sea turtles many other creatures in the ocean realm of the aquarium. Piranhas and poisonous dart frogs inhabit the Tropical Rain Forest. You can Splash with the Rays, Sleep with the Sharks and interact with penguins on a trip. Check out the penguin cam to get a look at the family you could meet. You can touch a jellyfish too!
The aquarium has sensory-friendly nights for a quieter experience – perfect for those families of children who experience autism or other sensory processing disorders. Families receive $3.00 off admission – just mention “Sensory Nights” at the admission windows to receive the discount. Upcoming dates: Aug. 25th, Sept. 29, Oct. 27 and Nov. 24.
Find the aquarium at 88 River Rd, Gatlinburg, (865) 430-8808.
The aquarium does not have designated handicap parking; however, the city does own a lot directly behind the aquarium. All city owned lots are pay lots that max out at $8.00/day. Each level on the parking garage does have designated handicap parking available.
Wheelchairs and noise canceling headphones are available free of charge at the Guest Services counter on a first come first serve basis.
Other Ripley’s Attractions
Most of Ripley’s other Gatlinburg adventures are handicap accessible too! Gatlinburg’s Ripley’s Believe It or Not! has eight fun, and sometimes heart-stopping, and super weird adventures. They include an Odditorium – a place where people can marvel at artifacts Ripley collected, as well as people – or replicas and videos of people – with amazing and unbelievable talents.
Get Above it All At Ober Gatlinburg
At Ober Gatlinburg, get to the top of the mountain via the Aerial Tramway, which is wide enough for wheelchairs. Visitors also can drive to the top. The views are amazing either way.
Ober Gatlinburg Amusement Park and Ski Resort is a “mountaintop of fun, excitement and beauty.” Read our nine favorites outside and inside Ober Gatlinburg adventures, plus excellent restaurants! Read more about Ober in our blog post.
Amazing Mirror Maze
According to reviews, the Amazing Mirror Maze – the original mirror maze in Gatlinburg – is known as the largest. “Wheelchair users and their friends and family can easily maneuver through this maze of mirrored walls and try to find their way to the exit.”
LED lights and upbeat music guide visitors to the many corners dead ends, and infinite reflections of yourself as through the maze.
Find the Mirror Maze at 919 Parkway Gatlinburg, 865-896-2121.
Dollywood Theme Park has a Ride Accessibility Center to serve guests who have accessibility needs and would like to enter an attraction thru the accessibility entrance. The center is located inside the park next to the Dollywood Emporium across from the Southern Gospel Hall of Fame.
Dollywood also has a “Calming Room” designed for anyone who needs it. The room is equipped with sensory items such as a weighted blanket, sensory activity panel and a teepee. For more information, call 1-800-Dollywood (1-800-365-5996) in advance of your visit to speak to an attendant at our Ride Accessibility Center.
American Patriot Getaway has handicap accessible cabins for everyone’s needs!
As we said earlier, these are handicap friendly cabins, not ADA compliant, as these are private homes.
Gatlinburg Movie Mansion
This cabin is located in Gatlinburg just off Ski Mountain Road between downtown and the Ober Mountain Ski Resort. Built for entertaining, Gatlinburg Movie Mansion offers outdoor living areas including a garden courtyard with bubbling hot tub for 6, a private gazebo, and covered porches. Just off the courtyard, an incredible movie theater is constructed inside its own theater building just like the real thing. Turn the volume up. Inside the main house guests can spread out and enjoy 5 bedrooms on two levels of luxury mountain living.
Bearadise 4 Us
Bearadise 4 Us is a custom 3-bedroom, 2 -bath cabin helps deliver that vacation-in-paradise. Enter from the long, covered deck into a huge open living area with vaulted ceilings and a stone and gas fireplace. Gather everyone for some family time, or to cheer on your favorite team on the LED Tv. A main floor master suite with attached bath opens to a screened in porch, making for easy access if wheelchairs, canes or walkers are needed.
Sweet Mountain Escape
Your visit to Sweet Mountain Escape starts at the large flat and level parking area and enter a vaulted living room with windows stretching to the ceiling to let in plenty of natural light. The open-concept first floor has a fully equipped kitchen and dining space for the whole family to dine together. Grill up your favorite supper on the charcoal grill and enjoy it on the screened-in porch, which also includes a steamy hot tub. Surrounded by trees and lush vegetation, you’ll find it hard to go back indoors. Enjoy the warmth of a stone gas fireplace from the king-sized bed in one of 2 master suites.
Big Bear Lodge
Big Bear Lodge is a wonderful Log Cabin!! Five floors of spacious living and out of this world views of the Great Smoky Mountains. This log home sleeps twenty six with seven large bedrooms, six full baths and two half baths, this is the perfect cabin for your next family reunion or corporate retreat. With every amenity you could imagine. Big Bear Lodge was built just for you, with a nice kitchen, a second full kitchen, two identical master suites both with Jacuzzi tubs and King size log beds, two oversized hot tubs, three spacious living areas, a THEATER ROOM that seats 20 with surround sound & 10 foot screen, pool table, foosball and plenty of rockers to enjoy the unmatched views. Now with a 42″ PLASMA FLAT SCREEN TV with DVD, VCR and Direct TV satellite system offering the NFL SUNDAY TICKET during football season on the main level. Dish Network TV throughout the rest of the cabin.
Oh the View
If you can pull yourself away from the panorama at Oh the View long enough to head inside, you’ll see this 3-bedroom, 3-bathroom, 3-story cabin has plenty of space for your family to spread out. A fully equipped kitchen, gas fireplace, and 55-inch LED TV in the living room await you on the first floor. Upstairs, you’ll find vaulted ceilings, comfy bedrooms with 45-inch LED tv’s, and another deck to take in that incredible mountain view. Located close enough to visit the attractions of Pigeon Forge, but far enough away to give you that secluded in the mountains feeling.
And so many more handicap accessible cabins you can see here in this category including: Patriot Pointe, Dream Catcher, Moose on the Loose, Better View, On Angels Wings, Mountain Celebration and many many more.
Book Your Stay Today!
Ready to book your adventure in the Smoky Mountains? Give American Patriot Getaways a call at 800-204-5169. Let our experts help you find the right cabin and all the right fun, food and entertainment.
You can also contact us online by searching our cabins in Gatlinburg and in Pigeon Forge. Check out our Pinterest boards if you want a cabin close to the fun and the food! See our boards where to eat in Gatlinburg and where to eat in Pigeon Forge.