Want to sleep in a covered wagon or an authentic teepee at a brand new resort near Gatlinburg, TN? Smoky Hollow Outdoor Resort isn’t even a three-hour drive from Greenville, SC. Your family won’t stop saying how cool a place it is once you visit!
Media accommodations have been provided for this review.
My kids, ages 10 and 7, are obsessed with Laura Ingalls Wilder and we’ve listened to all of the books in the series. They asked to learn to sew, to see where she lived and what her covered wagon looked like. So imagine their surprise when they fall asleep in an authentic Conestoga wagon, which was used at the end of the 18th century. It was great fun to witness their enthusiasm. But really, I was just as excited because it’s so cool to sleep in such unique accommodations at the new Smoky Hollow Outdoor Resort.
About Smoky Hollow Resort
The Smoky Hollow Resort has a lot to offer. It’s less than three hours from Greenville, minutes from Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and the Smoky Mountains, yet away from the hustle and bustle of the area. There are three grocery stores, drugstores, and restaurants within a mile and a half and it’s literally down the street from the super fun water park, Soaky Mountain. It’s also just thirty minutes from the Knoxville Zoo and just over an hour from the Lost Sea Adventure (definitely worth a visit).
The resort is family owned and operated. I was able to meet everyone and I cannot say enough good things about the welcome, the kindness and the attention of this family. Rebecca and her husband Robert gave up corporate work in 2016 and, along with their two children, moved out of Florida and became a full-time RV family. It was because of their love for the outdoors and their friends who lived in the Gatlinburg area that they moved to the current location of the resort.
But how the hell did they come up with the idea of boxcars and teepees on their 18-acre property? There is no clear line between thinking about it and getting there – it was more of a passing suggestion of friends combined with an entrepreneurial and adventurous spirit. Yet now, with four authentic Conestoga wagons, three tipis, fire pits, grills and a beautiful bathhouse, their imaginations and plans for the future are endless.
Rebecca told me that they had started clearing the land for luxury tree houses and that they would add more wagons and teepees. Once you start pioneering life, it’s hard to stop I guess. The work they have already done is considerable and all thoughts are aimed at making their property a place where families, couples and anyone looking for a unique experience can relax and create unforgettable memories together.
Smoky Hollow has four authentic Conestoga cars with plans to add several more. The Conestoga wagon was in use in the late 18th and early 19th centuries and could carry up to six tons, often pulled by teams of horses, mules, or oxen. The Smoky Hollow wagons were actually pulled to the sites where they are now – so these are real working wagons. Fortunately, we are no longer on the Oregon Trail. Without the threat of fording rivers or dying of dysentery, we can relax in the comfy wagons and hike the Smokies or enjoy all that the area has to offer families, like any of them. these fantastic Gatlinburg activities.
Smoky Hollow is the closest location to Greenville that has Conestoga cars for rent. The wagons are quite spacious, I thought, considering they have a king bed, twin bunk beds, a coffee station with microwave, and a rolling table with two chairs. Each wagon also has a mini-fridge, towels, Keurig with mugs and pods, popcorn, and hot chocolate. The beds were super comfy. I have such a hard time getting a good sleep when I travel but here it was very relaxing and comfortable.
The wagons can accommodate up to four people and are air conditioned with heating and air conditioning. It was pretty cold when we were there, in the 20s at night, and it was hot even though I slept with long pants and a sweatshirt on. My children were perfectly fine in their normal pajamas.
During the afternoon of the first day there, Rebecca’s dad stopped by our home to see how things were going and asked us if we had heard the coyotes the night before. Oh, we did it! I would say it definitely improved the whole boxcar experience. Rebecca told me that they weren’t going around the cars but were in the woods surrounding the complex. His father then told all about the local wildlife like foxes, bobcats, raccoons and sometimes bears. There is also a henhouse near the wagons and the goats that come out to graze. I missed the goats when we were there to my ultimate disappointment (our readers know how much I love goats).
One thing to note is that you cannot park your car in the wagons or teepees. There is a parking lot near the office where you check in where you leave your car overnight. You can either walk the short hike to the wagons (it’s less than five minutes) or rent a golf cart during your stay. The resort also offers assistance in transporting your luggage to your site for most of the day.
As if sleeping in a covered wagon wasn’t cool enough, the Smoky Hollow Resort also has three Sioux-style teepees on raised platforms that each have heat and air, electric blankets, a cot. plush king and all wagon amenities like the Keurig, towels, microwave, and mini-fridge.
Each tipi is simply beautiful. I was amazed at how spacious and nicely decorated they were. Each tipi can accommodate up to four people (there are two baby cots available per tipi on request, but the guest must bring their own sleeping bag / sheets for these). These teepees look exactly like the ones you see in older movies and are up to the mark for anyone looking for a unique outdoor adventure.
Just outside each tipi is a picnic bench, fire pit, and grill for you to use.
None of the accommodation has an en-suite bathroom, but there is a beautiful bathroom with two full bathrooms available for guests.
The public bath is directly behind the cars at the top of a small hill. It took us maybe 20 seconds to get there and it’s never locked so you can use it anytime. It’s a little further on foot from the tipis.
Each accommodation comes with a small but powerful flashlight for use at night. I camp several times a year and am always on the lookout for good little flashlights. I haven’t yet come across a brighter one than the one we had at Smoky Hollow. Rebecca and her family have seriously thought of everything.
The public bath is nicely decorated and very warm. The shower is large (there is no tub) and has nice paw prints on the bottom like small non-slip mats. There is shampoo, conditioner and shower gel, as well as a hair dryer.
As the complex expands, another public bath will be built.
There are grills for guests to use on the wagon and tipi sites, as well as fire pits, comfy chairs, a hammock, and a cornhole. We tried pretty much everything except the grill and had so much fun together.
There is firewood around the complex for guest use and you can purchase a log to light the fire and s’mores kits at the office.
We really enjoyed spending time by the fireside in the evening at sunset and playing cornhole together. The space in front of the wagons is large enough for children to run around and there is plenty of space for free play and fun outdoors.
Rates and Reservation
Conestoga cars cost $ 199 / night and teepees $ 185 / night plus tax and $ 25 / night cleaning fee. If you want to rent a golf cart, it costs $ 50 / night. The walk to the tipis and wagons is a few hundred yards and took me about four minutes from my car in the parking lot.
You cannot park your car in the wagons or teepees, so you can take a short walk or rent a golf cart. If you need help transporting your stuff to your wagon or teepee, Smoky Hollow has a wagon master to drive your luggage up there.
Animals are not allowed in the complex. There is wifi available.
I really couldn’t have imagined a better stay than the one we had at Smoky Hollow Resort. The wagon was a unique and memorable experience and Rebecca and her family were amazing hosts. They really put their adventurous spirit into the resort and I can’t wait to see what they do next as they put their plans into action in this special place.
Smoky Hollow Outdoor Station
660 Gists Creek Road, Sevierville, Tennessee