I recently took a much needed girls weekend to the Smoky Mountains. Since our first ever girls trip to Lake Geneva last Spring, we decided to make our trips a seasonal tradition. Of course, with our busy schedules, we finally managed to book our second trip almost exactly one year later (whoops)! So, I guess we are making this an annual thing now, haha!
When planning our trip, we decided to go to a place that was close enough to drive, since we didn’t want to pay for flights. And after a little research, we decided on The Great Smoky Mountains! We booked a cabin on Vrbo, and got up bright and early to start our drive to Tennessee.
With a long drive ahead of us, we packed plenty of snacks, tunes and coffee. (Click here to see my full list of Road Trip Essentials!) We left Chicago around 5am with Starbucks in hand, and our playlist blasting. With a long 9+ hours ahead of us, we were tired, but just excited to all be together.
We stopped a few times for gas and to stretch (yep, we’re getting old!). And we also decided to have a sit-down lunch in Louisville to give ourselves a little break from the car. With these stops, our trip ended up being closer to 12 hours, but we weren’t in any rush.
When researching the Smokies, we looked into a number of different hiking trails. While we had several picked out before we arrived, we ended up switching it up last minute due to the heat (it was in the 90’s all weekend) and difficulty of some trails. Either way, I don’t think we could have gone wrong!
Alum Cave Trail
The Alum Cave Trail was our first hike of the trip. This was about a 5 mile hike that lead us to the most picturesque look out filled with flowers in full bloom! Out of the three hikes we took, I think this one was my favorite just for the view alone. It was a moderate, mostly shaded trail, that had great views and a lovely babbling brook along side the trail.
After this hike, we were pretty beat. So we decided to head back to our cabin for the day. And to our excitement, as we were driving through the park, we spotted a bear cub up in a far tree!! One of our goals for the weekend was to (safey) see a wild bear, so we were pretty excited, to say the least.
Trillium Gap Trail – Grotto Falls
On our second day, we decided to take two shorter hikes so we could break in between and not worry about getting overheated. This hike was just over a mile and it lead us to a lovely waterfall. We took our time on this hike, as the terrain was a little more rocky. But, it was still a beautiful trail, and in the 90 degree heat, it was nice to have a shorter hike where you could cool off in the waterfall. We also had another wildlife sighting on this trail! A cute little snail. 🙂
Porters Creek Trail
To end our trip, we hiked a little of the Porters Creak Trail. We picked this trail since it had a little bit of everything! Wild flowers, a river, historic buidings, and more awaited us on the trail. We ended up not getting far, but since were not avid hikers, we loved being about to leisurley walk and head back whenever we felt tired. We stopped to enjoy the water and take some photos to commemerate the trip, and started our journey back to our cabin!
Because we loved our cabin so much, we actually decided to stay in for every meal and enjoy its amenities. When we were booking a cabin, the one thing we all wanted was a hot tub! We ended up finding a cute little cabin with one out on the deck overlooking the mountain range. It was the perfect spot to enjoy the view after a long day of hiking.
Each evening we fired up the grill and enjoyed dinner outside while the sun went down. And without hesitation, changed into our bathing suits and soaked in the hot tub with face masks. We soaked well past the point of our toes being wrinkly, and gabbed about boys (aka our husbands, oh how times have changed, haha) into the late hours of the night. All to wake up the next day and do it all over again.
A weekend with friends is always wildly refreshing. It was such an amazing feeling to take a break from all of our busy lives to be together. Fingers crossed we can get another girls weekend in the books this year! 😉
Do you have a girls weekend or trip planned soon? Comment below and tell me where you’re going, or would like to go with your gals!