After a day of hiking, fishing, rafting, and skiing, is there a better place to unwind than by the fireplace or on the balcony of a classic mountain lodge? Take a look at our favorite rustic lodges in the Smoky Mountains.
The secluded hotel's rustic elegance and grand style was inspired by its beautiful mountain setting and the storied mountain retreats of the Adirondacks. It's an ideal location for travelers who want rustic seclusion while remaining close to downtown Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. A car is necessary, as nothing is within walking distance, but the heart of downtown is only a few minutes' drive away. Please note that The Lodge at Buckberry Creek was tragically impacted by the 2016 Great Smoky Mountains wildfires, and is in the process of rebuilding, at this writing.
The Smoky Mountain craft-style decor that is so prevalent in this area is in full effect at Old Creek Lodge, where log furniture, rough-cut stone, and exposed wooden beams are found throughout. Large rooms with gas fireplaces and balconies with views of the mountains and creek help provide an authentic lodge experience. Old Creek's owners run several other independent hotels in the area, including the The Bearskin Lodge down the road, which is closer to the national park and has almost identical rooms, but the views are better here.
Right at the entrance of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, this 140-room property takes its name from an early 1900s hotel that once stood on this plot. Bearskin Lodge's mountain craft style is typical of the area, and includes rough-hewn stone work, timber sarking, and rustic log walls and furnishings. Crowding can be a problem at Bearskin's small pool and lazy river, though two small outdoor fire pits add to the ambience and provide nice spots to warm up after a dip. Most of the large rooms have gas fireplaces and whirlpools, but some of the mountain stream views offered aren't worth the up-charge -- the stream is visible only by looking straight down and the primary views are of another hotel's balconies. The nearby Old Creek Lodge isn't right on Smoky Mountains hiking trails, but it has the same decor (due to the same owners), with better views and slightly lower rates.
Crossroads Inn and Suites is a value hotel with a modern, homey vibe. Wood beams, a stone fireplace, and dark stone floors in the lobby provide rustic mountain-lodge character, but large floor-to-ceiling windows keep things bright. The 78 rooms have mini-fridges, flat-screen TVs, coffeemakers, and microwaves; some have jetted whirlpool tubs and stone fireplaces. Property highlights include a seasonal outdoor pool with a shallow pool for children and free hot breakfast featuring cereal, coffee, fruit, waffles, eggs, muffins, and biscuits.