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November in the Smokies

Fall in the Smokies is far from over at Halloween. The temperatures may be dropping, but there’s still plenty of fun to be had in the Smokies! Since Camp Riverslanding is nestled away just minutes from the excitement in Pigeon Forge, here are some points for your to-do list if you’re visiting us in November:

1. No Pigeon Forge to-do list is complete without some mention of Dollywood, so let’s kick this off right! Dollywood is amazing year round, but absolutely magical during the holiday season. The price of admission is the same, but you and yours can experience Santa’s workshop, incredible light displays, and (of course) the rides, crafts, and food! Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas starts November 4th and lasts through January 1st.

2. Every year, all of Pigeon Forge twinkles with holiday spirit, thanks to Winterfest. This year’s event begins November 4th and runs through the end of February 2018. The whole city is covered in dazzling Christmas lights which can be viewed via trolley tours and there are plenty of other winter wonderland activities to take advantage of during Winterfest!

3. Make this year’s Thanksgiving a Smoky Mountain Thanksgiving (you’ll be thankful you did!) Skip the stress of making your own 5 course meal for the whole family, and take your pick of incredible restaurant options in Pigeon Forge, including all the “dinner and a show” choices! Dolly’s Dixie Stampede has shows on Thanksgiving.

4. If a little cold weather doesn’t dampen your camping spirit, bundle everybody up and hit the trailhead. Hiking in November gives you incredible views of the world-renowned Fall colors of the Smoky Mountains, and that might be our favorite November opportunity! There’s nothing more rewarding than snuggling up around a campfire after a long day of hiking.

If you want to do something a little different this Fall, head for Camp Riverslanding. We can’t wait to spend November with you! Check out booking options here:

Camping With Your Dog

     We at Camp Riverslanding know that a family adventure absolutely includes our four legged friends! If you’re looking to bring your dog along with you, we encourage you to read on to learn some tips for a crew of happy (barky) campers.
     Before you pack it all up and head out, take some time to work with your dog and refresh some important commands. A reliable recall command is especially important, as well as a “leave it” command. You should be absolutely certain that your dog will come when you call, and won’t pick up anything they shouldn’t on a hiking trail. It’s also a good idea to make a visit to the vet before leaving town, especially if you have an older animal, to make sure your pet is up to the adventure. Double check that your dog is up to date on flea and tick treatment/wears a flea collar.
     Start slowly – if your dog (or puppy) is getting geared up for their first camping/hiking trip, start small. Do some research beforehand on what an appropriate length hike would be safe for your pup.
Take the essentials – your dog relies on water to cool down, so pack a collapsible or light weight water bowl and a water bottle just for them.
     Keep in mind that dogs shouldn’t carry any extra weight until they’re fully grown (this is another good reason to visit the vet before your trip.) If your dog is going to carry extra weight, make sure that their equipment is comfortable for them to wear and carry around and won’t cause blisters or other injuries.
     Invest a few dollars in a light for your dog’s collar, to keep him visible to you and other campers at night. Look for a flashing red one that is waterproof and sturdy enough to keep up with a rough and tumble dog!
    To an extent, dog first aid is similar to human first aid as far as bleeding or preventing infection. Again, your vet is the best resource for information, but look into bringing a dog specific first aid kit just in case of emergency.
     Be Prepared – Depending on what time of year you’re planning to camp, be aware that the temperature outside affects your dog just like you. Overheating or freezing are serious dangers for dogs, especially house dogs that have adapted to moderate, managed temperatures indoors. In hot weather, keep your dog well hydrated, and in cold weather bring along a dog coat and booties to protect their paws from ice and salt.
     Be patient – Just like every other aspect of being a dog parent, giving our dog camping experience takes time and patience. If your dog knows that they can trust you, you can train them to do anything.Your furry friend will be an outdoor pro in no time!

Camping Hacks Compilation

Roughing it should be fun! Here’s a list of some of our favorite camping hacks to make your camp life a little easier. Read on, and camp smarter.

Fire Starters:
– Stuff some empty toilet paper tubes with dryer lint for an easy, eco-friendly fire starter
– Corn chips (Doritos!) can also help get a fire started in a pinch
– Don’t forget to pack matches in something waterproof – might we suggest an old mints tin, or a small plastic food container. Glue a small patch of sandpaper to the container so you can strike them
– If you’ve got rogue some birthday candles hanging around at home, they’re more waterproof than matches

Keep it dry:
– Keep your toilet paper protected in an empty plastic coffee container or CD spindle. Bonus points if you cut a slit in the side to easily pull the paper out
– Instead of packing your coolers with ice cubes, pack frozen jugs of water. This will keep your food from getting soggy and as the ice melts you’ll have clean drinking water 
– Microfiber towels are light, compact, and super efficient
– Pack a pair of warm socks and keep them in your sleeping bag just for sleeping – this way you always have dry socks to keep your feet warm at night

Bugs at bay:
– A deodorant stick can help relieve the itchiness of mosquito bites
– Adding bundles of sage to the campfire will keep the mosquitos away (and make your campsite smell amazing)
– A prescription pill bottle makes a perfectly pocket sized first aid kit (band aids, antibiotic ointment, etc.)

– Collect condiment packets before your camping trip and take them with you instead of packing bulky bottles
– Tic Tac boxes are the perfect size for storing spices
– Check out our blog post on new s’mores recipes here

Safety Check:
– If you’ve got an accident prone camper, bring along some pool noodles (cut them open lengthwise) and cover up the awning arms to avoid head injuries
– Glow in the dark tape can be a life saver when it comes to outdoor walkways and stairs
– A headlamp attached to a filled water bottle or jug makes a perfect lantern

Can’t get enough? Check out these sites for some more awesome camping hacks!


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.