New S’mores Recipes

There’s just nothing else like Fall in the Smoky Mountains. It’s by far our favorite season here at Camp Riverslanding, and we love it more than anything when families come to join us to witness the World-renowned beauty of Autumn in Pigeon Forge! There are quite a few things about Fall that we love, but one of the greatest Fall camping traditions is that of making s’mores at night by the campfire. We thought you might enjoy this list of new ideas to make your s’mores a little more interesting*:

Pumpkin Spice S’mores:
Since it’s in everything else these days, why not add a little pumpkin spice to your s’mores? You’ll need the classic milk chocolate and cinnamon graham crackers, but switch out your regular roasted marshmallows for pumpkin spice flavored ones. Not a pumpkin spice fan? Try strawberry flavored marshmallows instead!

Peanut Butter Cookie S’mores:
This one is super simple – just swap out the graham crackers for peanut butter cookies and pile on the roasted marshmallow and chocolate to your heart’s content.

Roasted Marshmallow Strawberries:
Ok, Ok, this one isn’t “technically” a s’more, but we just had to include it in this list of delicious campfire treats. Skewer fresh strawberries, dip each one in marshmallow fluff, and toast them over the fire to get that toasty-marshmallow finish on the marshmallow fluff. SO yummy.  

Waffle Cone S’mores:
Ditch the graham crackers and fill up a waffle cone with mini marshmallows and chocolate, then wrap the whole thing in aluminum foil and let it roast on a camp grill until the marshmallows are melted. Remove from grill, unwrap, and enjoy (without getting your fingers quite so sticky!)

Berry S’mores:
Imagine it – The traditional s’more. You know the drill – graham cracker, roasted marshmallow, perfectly melted chocolate but then you add one more thing. Berries! Give your s’more a little bit of tartness with raspberries, blueberries, or strawberries. It’s a bit of a balancing act, but totally worth it for such a glorious flavor combination.

Which s’mores recipe is at the top of your list? We can’t wait to see you this Fall at Camp Riverslanding

*All of these recipes require adult supervision*

Trout Fishing in the Smokies

The Great Smoky Mountains are home to one of the most diverse fish populations in the country. Locals and guests have great opportunities to experience the relaxation of fishing in a beautiful, serene setting. With more than 2000 miles of rivers and streams located within the National Park, and many of these places nearing fish capacity, if you want fishing to be part of your vacation itinerary, the Smokies are where it’s at. Guests of the park are welcome to fish year round between 30 minutes before sunset, and 30 minutes after sunset at all the streams with the exception of the Lynn Camp Prong.

To be sure that your fishing is worry free however, it is important to learn and follow the regulations and have the correct fishing license. All people who want to fish and are over the age of 13 require a Tennessee or North Carolina Fishing License, and there is also a limit to how much you can fish. For each day, only five rainbow trout, brown trout, brook trout, and small-mouth bass are allowed per each person, with the exception of twenty rock bass which allows twenty per day. In this article we will help you determine which license you will need to get out there, as well as give you some tips on where the best fishing streams are located in the area.

Trout Fishing in Gatlinburg

Residents and non-residents must purchase special licenses to trout fish in Gatlinburg.

1 Day Trout Permit for Residents or Non Residents

Ages 13 and up $11.50

Gatlinburg Trout – Daily $3.50

Gatlinburg 3 Day Trout Permit

Ages 13-64 $9.50

Outside of the National Park, the fishing season is open from April 1-November 30. Streams are open all week with the exception of being closed on Thursdays to allow the city to stock the waters with trout. On Children’s Streams the daily limit is five trout per person and two trout per child. December 1-March 31 marks the catch and release season which lets you practice throwing out a line. Single hook lures are the only ones allowed at any season throughout the year.

Fishing with Children

There is nothing more rewarding than spending a day with your children in the great outdoors, with spectacular views making memories that will last for a lifetime. Gatlinburg is proud to be able to feature great trout streams that are safe for the entire family to enjoy.

West Prong Little Pigeon River upstream of the Gatlinburg By-Pass Bridge

Dudley Creek from Hwy 441

LeConte Creek from Painters Branch

If you are seeking for some children only specific streams, the following two are the best ones in the area.

North Gatlinburg Park at the Parkway entrance to the city

Mynatt Park off Historic Nature Trail

Fishing has long been a tradition in the Smoky Mountain way of life. Follow these instructions and you and your family will be well on your way to becoming part of the vibrant fishing community.

Best Campfire Hobo Pack Recipe

Campfire hobo tin foil meals have been around since aluminum foil was created in 1910, so well over a century ago. There is something about eating out of a foil plate that makes the meal feel so adventurous. They are true to the spirit of campfire cooking, without the mess that traditional cooking creates. Another great thing is that kids can also participate in the process by making their own meal. The possibilities of what you can make in a tin foil over fire are pretty much endless, and creativity is deliciously rewarded.

Tin foil meals are a fairly easy concept to master. It is simply an assortment of foods that are prepared and laid out, and then each person creates their own plate by placing the food into an aluminum foil wrapping and putting it on top of the fire. One of the best things about tin foil meals is that the flavor and juices remain in the package, instead of evaporating like they do on the grill. Here is one of our favorite recipes that can be easily customized to use your own favorite ingredients. This recipe yields four tin foil packs.

Beef & Potato Dinner


1-1/2 lbs ground beef, chicken, or whatever you prefer.

You can add whatever your favorite vegetables are, simply chop them up small for better cooking time.

4 large carrots, chopped

1 large onion, chopped

4 large potatoes, diced

1/2 cup sliced mushrooms

1 clove garlic, minced

Seasoning salt and pepper, to taste

Tin foil wrapping


Divide the meat into four pieces, and put each portion into flat sheets of foil (around 12 inches square).

Add the remaining ingredients into your own individual meal, make it exactly what you want!

Generously add salt.

Wrap the foil dinner in on itself, then flip it upside down, and add another packing to it.

Place your foil either directly onto the fire, or very close to it. Cook for approximately 10 minutes, and make sure to flip it halfway through.

Make sure everything is cooked all the way through.


Five Trails you have to Hike Near Pigeon Forge

Andrews bald in smoky mountains


Our Top 5 Favorite Trails Near Pigeon Forge

One of the great things about camping in Pigeon Forge is that you are located in the perfect center between attractions in Pigeon Forge, and hiking adventures in the Smokies. There are several trails all around, less than a 30 minute drive away from Pigeon Forge. The best place to find these trails is in the Smoky Mountains National park which houses more than 800 miles of hiking trails in total. On these trails you’ll see the park’s seemingly endless species of fauna and flora, along with stunning waterfalls and other natural scenic attractions. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite trails to hike near Pigeon Forge.


Gatlinburg Trail

Starting with a nice and friendly hike, the Gatlinburg Trail is located between Gatlinburg (a lovely little city located east of Pigeon Forge) and the popular Sugarlands Visitor Center. The trail is a two-mile walk one way, follows the path of a creek going through the park and if you was to bring along your furry family member, it is actually one of the few paths that allows leashed pets. You can also bring your bicycle along this path!


Laurel Falls

Next on our list is the Laurel Falls Trail, which is with a 75-foot drop, is one of the highest in the park. It takes hikers along an easy path that is a four miles long round trip, featuring lush forests of old-growth. The path is a paved trail, considered fairly easy in difficulty, which makes it one of the most popular trails in the park. It is located located between Elkmont Campground and Sugarlands Visitor Center. One thing to watch out for is that parking can be difficult to find in the on weekends and during busy summer months. One way to get around this is to plan to hike on weekdays in order to avoid the crowds.


Andrews Bald Trail

If you are seeking spectacular views of the Smokies, Andrews Bald Trail is the place to go. It is considered a medium difficulty level hike, with the perfect combination between distance and difficulty, and is a great choice for both avid hikers, and active families. Another thing to note is that Andrew’s Bald is the highest bald in the Smokies.

The hike starts on Forney Ridge, which is located down the southern edge of Clingman’s Dome (another great family place to walk). When you’ve hiked around a tenth of a mile in, you’ll come to a fork between Clingman’s Dome Bypass, and the Andrew’s Bald trail. After you hit the 1.7 mile mark, you will arrive to a grassy meadow, also known as a bald, which consequenttly makes for an excellent picnic spot, so bring some yummy food to share as a family. From there you will also see some spectacular sights filled with lovely panoramic views of the southern Smokies, Fontana Lake, and the highlands.


Porters Creek trail

Porters Creek Trail is great to hike year round, but it is especially friendly during the winter months if it has snowed, and other trails are too difficult.

In the spring, and summer months it is just as lovely, providing beautiful views of vegetation and flora, making it a wonderful trail if you and your family want to go on a leisurely hike. In the beginning you will come through a gravel road along the first mile of the trail, which will lead you into a forest of statuesque trees and rocks lushly coated with moss. Our favorite time to hike this trail is in the springtime, when the yellow trilliums begin their blooming period.


Grotto Falls Trail

Last but not least is Grotto Falls which  features the only waterfall in Great Smoky Mountains National Park that a person can walk behind and get a unique view. The stunning 25-foot high waterfall is a cool retreat for summer hikers and it is located around 1.2 miles away from the beginning of the trail. For those that love to observe wildlife, the moist environment provides an ideal habitat for salamanders.

If you hike this trail during the spring months you’ll see a beautiful array of wildflowers along the way. Keep on the lookout for yellow and white trilliums, white violets, stitchwort, and many more.

For the most part the trail to Grotto Falls travels a gentle grade along a wide and well-worn path. As you proceed to the waterfall you’ll cross over four small streams without the assistance of a footbridge.

These are our five favorite hiking trails near Pigeon Forge. Every one of them offers adventure, and memorable views for the whole family! What are some of your favorites from the area?


Fun Skewer Campfire Recipes

steak skewers


Fun Skewer Campfire Recipes for the Whole Family

When you go camping, it’s the best time to explore doing things a little differently than you usually do. Cooking while camping is one of the things that can be so fun to do differently, so in this post, we’ll cover how you can make a fun kabob meal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner while camping. It’s fun to get back to the basics, and explore how campers used to make meals with sticks and even coat hangers. The good thing about modern day times is that you can get these just about anywhere instead of having to use the things around you to cook on them. Here are some things to consider when making skewer meals.

Choose the Right Skewer

When making skewer meals, you can choose between wood skewers and metal ones. Wooden ones are generally made from traditional bamboo, and now they even make flavored ones like Indian curry, or lime citrus. Aside from those flavor options, these are also easy to get rid of after you’ve used them by burning them up in the campfire. So no washing is needed afterwards.

On the other hand, metal skewers are great because they last for a lifetime, and don’t catch on fire when you don’t want them to. Another benefit of using these is that they channel heat into meats like chicken and pork, so that they are easier to cook thoroughly.

Skewer Meal Prep

It may take a few tries to get the gist of it, but a few tips may make it easier to ge the perfect skewer. For example, you could try to make handling of the skewers easier by using two thin skewers beside each other, or using flat ones. Also be sure to never crowd meats together like chicken or pork, because it won’t allow them to cook thoroughly. These meats required patience, and slow, even cooking. If you want to include veggies, the ones that hold up the best are broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, zucchini, yellow squash, eggplant, and bell peppers. It’s also important to not that if you are making a mixed meat and veggie skewer, cook the meat a bit first, as it will cook slower than the veggies. For a delicious fruit skewer, pineapple chunks, peaches, plums, bananas, and apple wedges hold up the best. You can even use marinades that have been boiled as dipping sauces!

Here are some of our favorite all day skewer recipes:

Breakfast Sausages

Breakfast-Skewers_exps7024_W101973175A09_23_2b_RMS1 package Sausage Links, thawed

1 can (20 ounces) drained pineapple chunks, drained

10 medium mushrooms (fresh)

2 tablespoons melted butter

Maple syrup


Cut the sausages in half; on five metal or soaked wooden skewers, thread sausages, pineapple and mushrooms. Brush with butter and syrup for extra flavor.

Grill, uncovered, over fire, turning and basting with syrup, for until sausages are lightly browned, cooked all the way through, and fruit is heated through. Yield: 5 servings.

Balsamic-Glazed Beef

exps57902_SD2847494D02_13_4b_WEB1/4 cup balsamic vinaigrette

1/4 cup barbecue sauce

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 pound beef top sirloin steak, cut into 1-inch cubes

2 cups cherry tomatoes

In a bowl, whisk barbecue sauce, vinaigrette, and mustard until blended. Set aside 1/4 cup mixture for basting. Place the beef in the remaining mixture, and toss it around to coat it evenly.

Alternately thread beef and tomatoes on four metal or soaked wooden skewers.

Grill skewers, covered in aluminum, over fire until beef reaches desired doneness, making sure to turn it occasionally and baste it frequently with the vinaigrette mixture that was set aside during the last 3 minutes. Yield: 4 servings.

Rainbow Salmon Skewers

12 oz salmon fillet

1/2 each of a red, green yellow, and orange bell pepper

1/4 large red onion

olive oil

salt and fresh cracked black pepper

1 lemon

Cut the salmon into 1 1/2 inch chunks, to create 12 pieces.

Chop the peppers into 1 1/2 inch square pieces

Chop the red onion into similar sized chunks and separate the layers (wear glasses to prevent tears)

Alternately thread your skewers with the salmon, and then onions and peppers, making sure to leave some room at the base for easy handling.

Liberally brush the skewers on both sides with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and fresh ground black pepper.

Cook over the fire until the fish is cooked through and the veggies are softened a bit. Serve with a squeeze of lemon.

Yield: 4 servings