Want to sleep in a covered wagon or authentic tipi at a brand new resort near Gatlinburg, TN? Smoky Hollow Outdoor Resort is not even a three-hour drive from Greenville, SC. Your family won’t stop talking about what a cool place this is once you’ve visited!
Media accommodations were provided for this review.
My kids, ages 10 and 7, are obsessed with Laura Ingalls Wilder and we have listened to every book in the series. They have asked to learn how to sew, to see where she lived, and what in the world her covered wagon looked like. So imagine their surprise when they got to sleep in an authentic Conestoga wagon, which was used in the late eighteenth century. It was a lot of fun to witness their enthusiasm. But really, I was just as excited because it is genuinely 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 going for it. It is under three hours from Greenville, minutes from Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and the Smoky Mountains, yet set away on land that is far from the hustle and bustle of the area. There are three grocery stores, pharmacies, and restaurants within a mile and a half and it’s literally down the street from the super fun waterpark, Soaky Mountain. It’s also just thirty minutes from Zoo Knoxville and a little over an hour from the Lost Sea Adventure (totally worth checking out).
The resort is family-owned and operated. I was able to meet everyone and cannot say enough good things about how welcoming, kind, and thoughtful this family is. Rebecca and her husband, Robert, gave up the corporate grind back in 2016 and with their two children, left Florida, and became a full-time RV family. It was because of their love for the outdoors and friends who lived in the Gatlinburg area that they came to settle for good at the current location of the resort.
But how in the world did they come up with the idea for covered wagons and tipis on their 18-acre property? There’s not a clear line from thinking about it to making it happen – it was more of a suggestion in passing from friends combined with an entrepreneurial and adventurous spirit. Yet now, with four authentic Conestoga wagons, three tipis, fire pits, grills, and a gorgeous bathhouse, their imaginations and plans for the future are endless.
Rebecca told me they have started clearing the land for luxury treehouse accommodations and will be adding more wagons and tipis. Once you start the pioneer life, it’s hard to stop I imagine. The work they have already put in is extensive and all thoughts are towards making their property a place where families, couples, and anyone looking for a unique experience can relax and make lasting memories together.
Smoky Hollow has four authentic Conestoga wagons with plans to add several more. The Conestoga wagon was used in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries and could carry up to six tons, often pulled by teams of horses, mules, or oxen. The wagons at Smoky Hollow were actually pulled to the sites they now sit at – so they are real, operational wagons. Thankfully, we aren’t on the Oregon Trail any longer. Without the threat of fording rivers or dying of dysentery, we can relax in the comfortable wagons and go hike the Smokies or enjoy all that the area has to offer for families, like any of these fantastic Gatlinburg activities.
Smoky Hollow is the closest location to Greenville that has Conestoga wagons for rent. The wagons are pretty spacious, I thought, given that they have a king bed, twin bunk beds, a coffee station with microwave, and a wagon wheel table with two chairs. Every wagon also has a mini-fridge, towels, Keurig with cups and pods, popcorn, and hot chocolate. The beds were super comfortable. I have such a hard time sleeping well when I travel but here, it was very relaxing and cozy.
The wagons can sleep up to four people and are climate-controlled with heat and air conditioning. It was pretty cold when we were there, in the 20s overnight, and it was warm although I did sleep with long pants and a sweatshirt. My kids were totally fine in their normal pajamas.
During the afternoon of the first day there, Rebecca’s dad stopped by our fire pit to see how things were going and ask us if we had heard the coyotes the night before. Oh, we did! I’d say it certainly enhanced the whole covered wagon experience. Rebecca told me they don’t come around the wagons but are in the woods surrounding the resort. Her dad went on to tell us all about the local wildlife like foxes, bobcats, racoons, and the occasional bear. There is also a chicken coop near the wagons and goats that come out to graze. I missed the goats when we were there to my ultimate disappointment (our readers know how much I just love goats).
One thing to note is that you cannot park your car up at the wagons or tipis. 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 up to the wagons (it’s less than five minutes) or rent a golf cart during your stay. The resort also offers assistance in getting your luggage to your site most of the day.
As if sleeping in a covered wagon isn’t cool enough, Smoky Hollow Resort also has three Sioux-style tipis on raised platforms that each have heat and air, electric blankets, a plush king bed, and all the amenities of the wagons like the Keurig, towels, microwave, and mini-fridge.
Each tipi is just gorgeous. I was amazed by how spacious and just beautifully decorated they were. Each tipi can sleep up to four people (there are two cots available per tipi upon request but the guest must bring their own sleeping bag/linens for those). These tipis look exactly like the ones you see in older films and live up to anyone looking for a unique outdoor adventure.
Just outside each tipi is a picnic bench, fire pit, and grill for use.
None of the tipi or wagon accommodations have baths attached but there is a beautiful bathhouse with two full bathrooms available for guests.
The bathhouse is directly behind the wagons up a small hill. It took us maybe 20 seconds to walk there and it’s never locked so you can use it at any time. It’s a bit of a further walk from the tipis.
Every accommodation comes with a small but powerful flashlight for use at night. I camp several times a year and am always looking for good, small flashlights. I have yet to come across a brighter one than this one we had at Smoky Hollow. Rebecca and her family seriously thought of everything.
The bathhouse is beautifully decorated and very warm. The shower is big (there is no tub) and has cute paw prints on the bottom as anti-slip little mats. There is shampoo, conditioner, and body wash provided, as well as a hairdryer.
Honeybear Hideout + Yurts and Treehouses
Since our initial trip, Smoky Hollow has added a beautiful, Amish built little cabin with a queen bed, pull out sleeper couch, full kitchen, and bath. The Honeybear Hideout is a great little spot to get away and relax.
As the resort adds more accommodations, like yurts and treehouses, they are planning to build another bath house as well. Stay tuned for more on these accommodations!
There are grills for guests to use at the wagon sites and tipis plus fire pits, comfortable chairs, a hammock, and cornhole. We tried just about everything except grilling and had such a fun time together.
There is firewood around the resort for guests to use and you can buy a fire starter log and s’mores kits at the office.
We really enjoyed hanging out by the fire in the evening as the sun went down and playing cornhole together. The space in front of the wagons is big enough for kids to run around in and there is a lot of space for open play and plain outdoor fun.
Rates and Booking
The Conestoga wagons start at $169/night and the tipis start at $155/night plus tax and a $25 cleaning fee. If you’d like to rent a golf cart, those are $50/night. The walk to the tipis and wagons is a couple of hundred yards and took me about four minutes from my car in the parking area. The Honeybear Hideout starts at $175/night.
You cannot park your car at the wagons or tipis so you can either take the short walk or rent a golf cart. If you need some help getting your stuff to your wagon or tipi, Smoky Hollow has a Wagon Master to drive your luggage up there.
No pets are allowed at the resort. There is wifi available.
I really could not have imagined a better stay than we had at Smoky Hollow Resort. The wagon was such a unique and memorable experience plus Rebecca and her family were amazing hosts. They truly 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 that special place.
Smoky Hollow Outdoor Resort
660 Gists Creek Road, Sevierville, Tennessee