Are you looking for a fun Smoky Mountains experience or a creative way to be outdoors and enjoy the beautiful fall weather? One of my favorite ways to spend fall is to climb the Maryville College Alpine Tower. The company Mountain Challenge owns, operates and opens the tower to the public every Wednesday from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. for the small fee of $5/person (MC students and faculty are free).
The Alpine Tower stands near the Crawford House in what is commonly known as the “Backyard” and is about 60 feet tall. The tower is made out of logs and rope, which gives it a simple, yet daring, look. You are required to put on a harness and a helmet, and one of the experienced staff members will belay you up the tower.
With three sides to choose your ascent, climbing the tower gives you the thrill of reaching the top, where an astonishing view of the Smoky Mountains rewards you. If you enjoy the experience of climbing the tower and find it easy, you have the option of racing to the top against an opponent, or even climbing the tower blindfolded. On the week of Halloween, everyone who comes to the tower is invited to dress up and throw pumpkins off the tower just for fun.
If you would rather not climb the tower, the company offers exercise or yoga classes with fitness experts. Also, Mountain Challenge boasts a climbing cave and several picnic tables that are located in scenic areas that work perfectly for studying, reading or eating. The Backyard is dog-friendly and is a great place for your dog to socialize with other dogs while you enjoy the weather. Sometimes, the employees put together a table full of farm-fresh veggies and fruits, candles, and even hand-knitted or crocheted items for sale.
Mountain Challenge is located on the beautiful campus of Maryville College for the purpose of getting college students interested in working in a nature-based community. The Mountain Challenge staff mainly consists of college students who are interested in pursuing a degree in the outdoors or simply want to appreciate it. The staff is friendly and eager to help you have a great experience in whatever you decide to do at their facility.
The company Mountain Challenge strongly believes that going outdoors refreshes the mind and body and that it should be fun and challenging. I hope this column finds you having a great fall season and getting interested in the limitless possibilities of the great outdoors.