The Smoky Mountains and American Patriot Getaways cabins have many wheelchair accessible adventures and cabins. An accessible cabin is a property that typically has a level parking spot. In addition, they 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 paths and entries.
From trails in the mountains to an aquarium, adventure and water parks, shopping, dinner shows and more, Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP) and the towns around it offer lots to do for everyone.
Let’s start with the mountains – where there are many wheelchair-friendly trails. GSMNP is a popular wheelchair destination included in the free national parks pass U.S. residents with permanent disabilities. The mail-in process has a $10 processing fee.
Clingman’s Dome, the highest point in the Smokies, is the mountain peak with an observation tower at the top. There is accessible parking and a very steep paved trail. Visitors suggest use of a powered wheelchair for the winding trail, and even then, use your best judgment for safety because the air is thin and it’s not an easy adventure. They say it’s worth the trip if you can go up to fully take in the view.
Cades Cove is one of the most visited areas of the park because the 11-mile loop road closed to traffic on Wednesdays, the history, and the wildlife. Designated accessible parking spaces are available in the campground/picnic area parking lot across from the ranger station. The Cades Cove Campground Store and adjacent restrooms are accessible. A ramp provides access to the visitor center where information, exhibits, and books are available. Restrooms and water fountains outside the visitor center are accessible.
“The visitor center is open year-round, except on Christmas Day. The Cades Cove Auto Tour booklet, available for a small fee in the Cable Mill area and at the start of the 11-mile loop road, provides a description of this historic area. Most of 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 your vehicle.”
John Oliver Cabin
“The John Oliver Cabin has two approach trails, one paved path and one dirt path. Opened in September 2021, the paved, asphalt path is 0.3 miles (0.4 km) long, well-graded, and barrier-free.
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.”
Sugarlands Valley Nature Trail
“Designated accessible parking spaces are available at Sugarlands Visitor Center and the restrooms are accessible. The visitor center is open year-round, except on Christmas Day, and is fully accessible. The information desk, book sales area, and exhibits are all on one level. Accessible ranger-led programs are listed in the Smokies Guide, the official park newspaper.
“The Sugarlands Valley Nature Trail, located on Newfound Gap Road, just south of Sugarlands Visitor Center, is an accessible trail made possible through a public-private partnership. The trail winds through second growth forest along the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River and offers a quiet woodland experience” with beautiful rock walls.
Adventures in Town
Whether you want to go to Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg or Sevierville, there are wheelchair accessible adventures for everyone.
Gatlinburg SkyLift Park overlooks Gatlinburg and offers up “sweeping panoramic views” of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Staff can accommodate disabled individuals on the SkyLift, SkyDeck, lower level of the SkyCenter, and the elevated boardwalk portion of the SkyTrail. However, the SkyBridge is not wheelchair accessible. Please see the Accessibility page for details.
The SkyDeck, which is the main level of the SkyCenter snack bar and gift shop, is the elevated boardwalk portion of the SkyTrail and is wheelchair accessible.
Now spanning 160 acres, Dollywood wins awards annually as the “friendliest park atmosphere in the world.” Highly themed with Smoky Mountains history and preservation, key attractions include daily demonstrations of turn-of-the-century crafts, one-of-a-kind rides, and award-winning entertainment.
Visit Dollywood’s Ride Accessibility Center to enter an attraction thru the accessibility entrance. A Host at the Center will provide detailed information about rider requirements. Also, riders can receive a Boarding Pass to rides they will enjoy. The center is located inside the park next to the Dollywood Emporium. Also, check out the Dollywood Accessibility and Rider Requirement Guide, Park Map Guide and Entertainment Schedule for helpful resources to assist in planning.
Check out this first-hand look at accessibility at Dollywood.
When Dollywood’s Splash Country introduced Accessibility Tubes in 2017, it enabled guests with limited mobility the opportunity to enjoy water attractions they had never been able to experience before. Water wheelchairs also are available for those who want to enjoy the attractions but need assistance transferring from their personal wheelchair to a floatation device. These Aquatic Transfer Wheelchairs may be used in areas where there is a zero-depth entry and no water with a moving current.
Read more about Dollywood and Splash Country here.
Located in the heart of downtown Gatlinburg with mountain views and 70 forested acres of fun and relaxation. Also, Anakeesta is a mountain playground for all ages with some of the most spectacular views.
While some parts – the Treetop Skywalk for example – are not wheelchair accessible, the best parts of Anakeesta are. These include dining, Firefly Village shops, and the view. Along with these are Vista Gardens and scenic viewing platforms and are accessible to all. The Gondola cabins are 32″ wide and 49″ deep to accommodate both wheelchairs and strollers for the ride to the summit.
Read our blog about Anakeesta for all there is do and see here.
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 also 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.
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.
Check out these other accessible adventures:
Accessible properties are not ADA Compliant. Our accessible 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. 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.
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.
Book Your Acessible Adventure Today!
These are just two of the many accessible cabins American Patriot Getaways offers. Others include Dream Catcher, Better View, LoveStruck, Hickory Haven, Just Us, Great View Lodge, Smoky Mountain Escape, Just For Fun, Mountain Magic, Moose Mountain Lodge. To view these and even more, click here.
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.