Using more than 8,000 gallons of water per minute, Runaway Canyon sends entire families rocketing through winding channels and gargantuan tunnels. This dark journey has guests blasting through water curtains, climbing high onto steeply-banked walls, and leaning into explosive turns, 360-degree loops and pulse-pounding dips. Runaway Canyon features themed lighting, music and sound effects that provide the ultimate family thrill.
Wilderness guests looking for a more relaxing ride, can head outdoors, grab a tube and jump in the Lake Wilderness 12,000-square-foot Wave Pool, where waves within the pool can crest as high as five feet. Also winding around the outdoor waterpark is Cataloochee Creek, a nearly 1,000 foot rapid-moving river with water spray features located along its path.
“We have been extremely pleased with the success of both the Wild WaterDome Indoor Waterpark and Lake Wilderness and believe Runaway Canyon will only continue to enhance our guests’ experience,” says David McGregor, general manager of Wilderness at the Smokies. “With another exciting attraction now in place, we feel as though we have one of the premier indoor/outdoor waterpark resorts in the country.”
The 10 private poolside cabanas situated around Lake Wilderness are available for guests to rent, with each cabana featuring shelter from the sun, cabana-style lounge chairs, a flat panel television and a personal cabana host. An outdoor bar and grill is also located within the outdoor waterpark to help satisfy those afternoon cravings.
Appropriately named the Wild WaterDome, the indoor waterpark spans more than 60,000 square feet with a see-thru, energy-efficient Texlon™ roof that allows UV rays to permeate the structure so guests can tan indoors year-round. The waterpark is home to the Smokies SurfRider, the state’s only surfing simulator that uses 50,000 gallons of water a minute to create a continuously moving sheet of water on which people can surf or boogie board. “It’s like riding an ocean wave, but indoors,” McGregor said. “Parents and kids alike will love the thrill of riding a wave in a safe and controlled environment.”
The waterpark also boasts the Storm Chaser, a four-person tube slide that begins with a 58-foot drop into a giant orange-and-white funnel where riders swoosh back and forth up the sides of the funnel, causing shrieks of delight and flip-flopping stomachs. Other activities at the Wild WaterDome, which is reserved exclusively for resort guests, include the Great Wave, a 10,000-square-foot wave pool capable of generating waves up to five feet high. In addition, two tube slides, an indoor/outdoor hot spa, a multi-level play structure with a gigantic dumping bucket and 50-plus play-and-spray features, along with a special toddler area with mini-slides and a swing tree are sure to keep the whole family occupied for hours.
The Wilderness at the Smokies Resort currently boasts two outdoor waterparks and the Wild WaterDome Indoor Waterpark, making it the largest resort of its kind in the southeast.
Wilderness at the Smokies, located minutes from Interstate 40 and situated in the scenic foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, is establishing a new standard for family vacations to East Tennessee. Phase I of the resort opened in June 2008 with a 234-room hotel and outdoor waterpark. The Wild WaterDome Indoor Waterpark opened in December 2008 and the following year, the resort unveiled its Lake Wilderness Outdoor Waterpark which features an Adventure River and a 12,000 square foot Wave Pool, along with the park’s newest attraction, Runaway Canyon.