Wilderness at the Smokies Resort and water park is located in Sevierville, Tennessee just a couple of miles from Pigeon Forge and a short drive to Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
We discovered Wilderness at the Smokies in early 2014 and it has quickly become our favorite indoor vacation destination. We tend to be more of an outdoor family, hiking, kayaking, fishing, photography, picnicking etc...
However, with our youngest daughter (3 years) outdoor activities in the winter aren't always a great option, especially with temperatures in the 30's to 40's and raining. We had a LOT of that weather in early 2014. My daughter was getting cabin fever so I decided to take her somewhere that we could swim indoors. She wasn't actually swimming yet, but she really enjoyed playing in the water. We had passed by Wilderness at the Smokies on numerous trips to the Smoky Mountains National Park and I knew about some of their amenities, the indoor swimming opportunities, so I checked out their web site and made the reservations for my daughter and I.
As it turned out we had such a great time we stayed Wilderness at the Smokies five different times in 2014. It has become our place to go to get away for a couple of days and spend some great quality time together. Most of the time it was just myself and 3 year old daughter, but my wife has come along as well, and one trip my wife and I were able to bring all three of our daughters for the weekend.
One thing to note about the rooms is that the hotel rooms are in two
separate, but close by locations. The River Lodge is physically connected
to the Wild Water Dome Indoor Water Park and the large outdoor water park.
Stone Hill Lodge is across the street from the indoor water park but does
have a smaller outdoor water park. There is a free shuttle bus service
that gives guests a ride from Stone Hill Lodge to the Wild Water Dome.
They also own a some rental Villas that are within walking distance, but
most people drive probably less than 2 minutes. My biggest complaint about
the rooms is the drastically changing rooms prices from night to night.
Thursday night might be $99 then Friday night $200 for the same room.
We stayed in two different room layouts, always at the River Lodge where
the indoor water park is located. Both rooms were always neat and clean.
The room we like the best has a Queen Murphy bed, queen sleeper sofa, full
kitchen, fireplace, nice television, but no balcony.
The second room had two queen beds, a twin sleeper sofa, dorm
refrigerator, microwave, and a small stove.
Our rooms have been at various locations and floors so we have a feel of
several different areas of the resort. All of the areas were fine, but the
location I like best was upper levels, overlooking outdoor water park on
the end near indoor water park. I will say that the end near the indoor
water park tends to have more people passing by, but that hasn't really
been a problem for us and makes it easier for kids that are old enough to
find their way to water park and back a little easier.
Obviously the outdoor water parks are seasonal and open weather
permitting. One note about the water parks is to be sure and note the
hours. The hours very depending on day of the week and season.
Both of the water parks we have been to have always been clean well kept
areas. The employees have always been friendly and helpful. My one
complaint about the indoor park is that it seems to close to early during
Wild Water Dome - the indoor water park with a little something for
everyone. My daughter absolutely loves it, we are generally there from
open until close, with a break or two for a trip to the room for lunch.
There is a wave pool, a swimming pool (max depth about 4'), toddler area,
kids area, giant indoor/outdoor hot tub, wave rider, and about 4
different water slides that are all a lot of fun.
Lake Wilderness Outdoor Water Park - This is a really fun area with
several options. The Lazy River is fun and relaxing, it feeds into a big
pool that has a wave machine. The wildest thing is the Wild Vortex slide,
you stand on a plexi glass door that drops out from under you dropping you
about 40' free fall then up and around a loop. There is also a four lane
racing water slide that is lots of fun.
Salamander Springs Outdoor water park - this cool little water park
is located at the Stone Hill Lodge but accessible to all guests. To be
honest, we never played there because we were always so busy at the other
areas. We did drive over and check it out one day, it was closed, but it
looks like a really nice area we will definitely get to one day.
Adventure Forest - game area is a pretty neat indoor area for kids.
Tons of video games, rock climbing wall, mini bowling lanes, multi story
ropes adventure, indoor mini golf course, huge tree house for younger kids
(think McDonalds play area only 5 times larger) and more.
Fitness Room - There is a small fitness room on the 4th floor of the River Lodge. Didn't spend a lot of time there, but that had a few tread mills, weight machine, etc...
Tips for Wilderness at the Smokies:
- River Lodge rooms cost a little more, but the convenience of being
able to walk from your room to the indoor water park is worth the extra
- Rooms with a kitchen will save you a small fortune verses eating in
resort restaurants. Plus, get exactly what you want to eat.
- The closer your room to the water park, the more hall way traffic
outside your door.
- Some of the first floor rooms have sliding glass door access
directly to parking area. Less privacy, but your car can be right
outside your door.
- The Adventure Forest all stay pass is a good deal if staying more
than one night. Allows you to do some attraction ?? as many times as you
like during your stay. Rock climbing, ropes course, etc...
- You can use the water park until it closes on the day you check out,
even though your room must be vacated by 11:00(?) check out time.