Wilderness at the Smokies is a waterpark resort located in Sevierville, Tennessee that serves those visiting the Great Smoky Mountains National Park or enjoying the attractions of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. For hikers in particular, the resort provides a great option where you can go out and enjoy the beautiful views of the Great Smoky Mountains and then return to cool off and relax as the waterpark. As an added bonus, if you happen to encounter inclement weather, you can always adjust your plans and spend the day at Wild Waterdome, the indoor waterpark!
Wilderness at the Smokies opened in 2008 with just a single hotel and outdoor waterpark, but quickly expanded to include shopping, dining facilities, the condominium resort and indoor waterpark, as well as an additional outdoor waterpark.
The Stone Hill Lodge
& Salamander Springs Outdoor Waterpark
After a long week of work and school there was a ton of excitement over this trip built up. We got the kids up early and got on the road around 8am, and started our roughly 3 1/2 hr drive out to the Smoky’s! By noon we arrived at the Stone Hill Lodge, which is connected to the Salamander Springs outdoor waterpark and Sevierville Events Center. Guests can check in at noon to start accessing the waterparks, but rooms are not guaranteed to be ready until 4pm. With it being an incredibly busy weekend, we expected that to be the plan but were pleasantly surprised when we were informed that a room was already available! Score! The staff were all exceptionally friendly and provided wristbands for the waterpark, our arcade pass, and room keys. We immediately made our way to our room to get things settled and then hit the waterpark.
The Stone Hill Lodge has an outdoor look to it if that describes it. Both the hallways and the room were very clean and the furnishings were of good quality. Our room had two queen sized beds and a couch with a pull out sofa which is ideal for our teenage son. The television by default had a station that showcases the resorts attractions which was helpful and we noticed that room service was available, though we didn’t plan to take advantage of it since it would be unlikely that we would be able to peel the kids away from the waterpark.
As mentioned above, the hotel has the Salamander Springs water park attached, but this one is more ideal for those with small children. It has plenty to offer like:
“The Timber Rattler” tube slide
“The River Otter” body slide
“Wildflower Lagoon” hot tub
“Minnow Marsh” kiddie zero-depth entry pool
“Catfish Corral” activity pool with basketball hoops
“Lunker’s Landing” which is an interactive water play structure with slides and a tipping bucket.
Since our children are older we didn’t spend any time here however and headed straight to the Lake Wilderness outdoor waterpark and Wild Waterdome indoor waterpark! On check-in you receive a parking pass and are instructed that there is shuttle service running roughly every ten minutes from the hotel to the waterparks. We opted to drive down and were worried about parking, but found that spots were plentiful. Once you park, it’s a short walk between buildings to access the Lake Wilderness Waterpark.
Lake Wilderness Waterpark
Lake Wilderness is fantastic… on entry you get a great view of the entire area with the “Catalooche Creek Adventure River” (lazy river) and “Washout Wilderness Rapids” wave pool featured prominently right in from of you. Off to the sides are the “Smoky Mountain Crossing Cabanas” that can be reserved though there are plenty of chairs to put your bags on and jump into the fun. Additionally, on the left side of the park (from the entrance) is a kids splash pad for young ones and on the right are the super fun water slides including tube slides, racers, and a body slide with a twist!
After getting our fill of the outdoor attractions… 4 hours worth or so… we decided to head inside and see what the Wild Waterdome had to offer! The park is is an enormous building with a transparent “tan-through” roof with plenty of light. It would be a fantastic visit in the winter months, but even here at the end of summer we had a blast!
At the far end (from the outdoor entrance) is the “Storm Chaser” tornado slide that has lightning and sound effects making it a fantastic after-dark ride. In the same rough structure is the “Trail Twisters Tube Slides”, and “Runaway Canyon” family raft ride that is five stories high with a drop off of almost 60 ft.
The “Smokies Surf Rider” flowrider requires the signing of a waiver and special wristband with a fairly lengthy line since it is a major hit, but turned out to be well worth the wait!
For young ones there is a huge interactive water play structure called “Washout Mountain” that has a 500 gallon tipping bucket as well as the “Snapping Turtle Activity Pool” and for the parents the “Magnolia Grove” hot tub!
For those looking for a snack or drink after all of the water fun, there is the Port Side, a pic of the menu and pricing included along with a Dippin’ Dots station. To be honest, we had a huge craving for ice cream however and on speaking with one of the employees, we discovered the secret… down the hall in the actual hotel is an actual Starbucks with an attached pastry candy ice cream shop!
Because 10 hours of straight waterpark can do that to you, it wasn’t long after ice cream that we decided that we needed ACTUAL dinner. We decided to try the “Thirsty Minor” since it was a buffet and everyone could get something they like. The seating was fantastic since there were tables open that overlook the waterpark and we were able to watch everyone having fun while we were eating. Our waitress was great and informed us that children eat free which made made it a really cheap meal overall. We found there to be great and tasty options. Photos of what to expect below.
Family Adventure Center
The next day we awoke and brought our things out to the car and headed to the Adventure Forest Family Adventure Center before heading back home and bringing the weekend to a close. Pricing is included in the photo below. There is a ton today! An indoor rope course, glow miniature golf, a laser maze, bowling, and a bunch of arcade games and prizes!
Simliar to the indoor waterpark area, the adventure center has Billy Jacks Snack Shack where you can get a decent looking breakfast, lunch dinner, or snacks! Prices menu also included from the lunchtime menu.
All in all, I wouldn’t say that we were surprised by how much fun we had since we have driven by Wilderness at the Smokies many time thinking that it would be fun. Between the great service and room being ready when we first arrives, to losing track of 10 hours worth of waterpark fun and some really good food options, it was an absolutely fantastic weekend! As we got back in the car to head home all we could talk about was how much of a great time it was and that we’d like to plan a return trip soon. We highly recommend that you check out Wilderness at the Smokies!