There’s no better place to kick back and enjoy Mother Nature than in Tennessee’s Smoky Mountains. And although there’s certainly no shortage of accessible hotels in Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg and Sevierville, the best way to really experience the Smoky Mountains is to rent a fully-equipped log cabin. So be it a cozy couples getaway or a large family reunion — and everything in between — we have you covered with these accessible Smoky Mountain cabins.
The Sevierville address of Eagles View (www.awesomemountainvacations.com/eagles-view.htm) is very misleading, as it’s actually located on a Wears Valley ridge top, midway between Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, right next door to Great Smoky Mountain National Park. This one-bedroom, two-bathroom cabin also features a loft; and although it can accommodate up to five people, it’s still perfectly comfortable for a couple.
Parking is available in a paved level spot next to the cabin with ramp access to the wrap around porch. There’s level access to the cabin, and good pathway access throughout the first floor. The living room features a 14-inch high queen-sized sleeper sofa, an easy chair, a TV and a gas fireplace; while the kitchen is equipped with a stove, oven, dishwasher, lowered microwave, full-size refrigerator, and a stackable washer and dryer. Top it off with a dining table with four chairs, and a bar with two high chairs and you have just about everything you need.
The first-floor bedroom is furnished with a 24-inch high open-frame king-sized bed with wheelchair access on the right side (as you face it). The adjacent bathroom has a full five-foot turning radius and is equipped with 36-inch square roll-in shower with grab bars, a hand-held showerhead and a fold-down shower bench. The toilet is located in a 36-inch wide alcove with grab bars on both sides, and the bathroom also has a roll-under sink.
There’s also a hot tub on the front porch, but you need to be able to navigate two steps to use it. All in all access is nicely done here, and you just can’t beat the view from the front porch.
Sweet Memories (store.dollywood.com/lodging/cabin.aspx?propertyid=32997) is located just a few miles from Dollywood in the Bear Cove Fall Resort. This two-bedroom, two-bathroom cabin can sleep six, and it makes a good choice for two couples or a family with kids in tow.
There’s plenty of parking on a level cement slab in front of the cabin, with barrier-free access over to the front door. Inside, the great room separates two one-bedroom suites, and there’s good pathway access on the wood floors throughout this single-story unit.
The great room features a 12-inch high king-sized sleeper sofa, a love seat, an easy chair, a TV and a traditional wood-burning fireplace. The adjacent kitchen is outfitted with a stove, microwave, dishwasher, refrigerator, toaster, coffee maker and even a blender. It also includes everything you need to whip up a gourmet meal, including a full set of pots, pan, dishes, glassware and utensils. Additionally there’s a dining table with four chairs, as well as a washer and dryer in the unit.
The bedrooms are each furnished with a 25-inch high open-frame king-sized bed and a chest of drawers. One bedroom has a fireplace, while the other has a standard Jacuzzi tub. The adjacent bathrooms are mirror images of one another and they are each equipped with a low step (3 inch) tiled shower with grab bars, a hand-held showerhead and a portable shower chair. The toilet grab bars are located on the right and back walls (as seated) in one unit, and on the opposite side in the other. Both bathrooms also have a roll-under sink.
There’s also a standard hot tub on one porch, and several rocking chairs on the other porch.
This property is a good choice for part-time wheelchair-users and slow walkers because of the mirror image bathrooms that offer a choice in grab bar configuration. And although the shower does have a small step, many slow walkers will still be able to transfer with a little assistance.
Located in Pigeon Forge, George’s Cabin (www.eaglesridge.com/pigeon-forge-cabin/georges-er309) features five bedrooms and four bathrooms and can sleep up to 14 people. It’s a good choice for a two-family getaway, as the two ground-floor bedrooms can accommodate the parents, while the kids can bunk upstairs.
There’s ramped access from the parking area to the rocking chair-lined front porch, and level access into cabin. The first floor of the cabin is wheelchair-accessible, with plenty of room to maneuver a wheelchair through the great room, kitchen and the accessible bedroom suite.
The great room is furnished with a comfortable sofa and love seat, and includes a gas fireplace and a TV. The dining area features a table with eight chairs and the fully equipped kitchen includes a stove, microwave, dishwasher and a full-size refrigerator. There’s also a washer and dryer on the first floor.
The accessible first-floor bedroom is furnished with a 25-inch high queen-sized bed with wheelchair access on both sides. The adjacent bathroom is equipped with a roll-in shower with grab bars, a hand-held showerhead and a portable shower bench. The toilet has a grab bar on the back wall, and an optional toilet seat riser with one grab bar on each side. The bathroom also has a roll-under sink.
Additionally there’s level access out to the spacious deck, which features a gas grill and a standard hot tub with steps.
It should also be noted that this property is owned by a proud Vietnam veteran, who offers a military discount. Additionally he hosts a group of women from the American Widow Project — a non-profit organization that provides peer-to-peer support to military widows — at his cabin every year.
Big Elk Lodge
Last but not least, if you’re planning a large get-together, consider the Big Elk Lodge (Big Elk Lodge). Located in the Wild Briar log home community in Pigeon Forge, it’s just a few minutes off the main drag, yet it’s tucked away on a quiet mountainside for maximum privacy. This massive 16-bedroom, 16.5-bathroom lodge can sleep up to 74 people, and it’s a great choice for family reunions, destination weddings and corporate retreats.
There’s ramp access up to the front door, and level access into the large great room. Inside there’s a variety of sofas and love seats on the side near the fireplace, and dining tables and chairs on the side near the kitchen. The double commercial kitchen can surely keep pace with any large group, and it comes fully stocked with all the plates, cups, glassware and utensils that you’ll ever need. Plus you just can’t beat the gorgeous mountain view from the great room or the large wrap around deck.
The first-floor accessible suite is located right off the great room, and is furnished with a 30-inch high open-frame king-sized bed, a loveseat, a chest of drawers, a table and a TV. There’s wheelchair access on both sides of the bed, but depending on the furniture placement, the table may need to be moved a bit to fully access both sides. There’s also level access out to the wrap around deck from the bedroom.
The adjacent bathroom features a full five-foot turning radius and is equipped with a roll-in shower with grab bars and a hand-held showerhead. The toilet grab bars are located on the back and right walls (as seated), and the bathroom also has a roll-under sink. A portable shower chair is available upon request.
The large lodge also has a washer and dryer, as well as a full theater downstairs, plus plenty of space in the front to set up picnic tables or even a tent. And if you need more space, you can also rent the Big Moose Lodge (thebigmooselodge.com). It’s located just down the street, can sleep up to 74 people, and has the same access features as Big Elk Lodge.