[caption id="attachment_1366" align="alignleft" ]Gatlinburg, TN winter 2013 Join us for winter views like this in Gatlinburg![/caption]

The great part about visiting Gatlinburg in the winter is it's not as cold as the weather you'll encounter up north, but cold enough for you to enjoy many favorite winter activities. We've put together a short checklist for you to help you plan your Gatlinburg winter trip. Don't forget that you can book a room quickly and easily by visiting our website's home page. There you'll find our booking tool which allows you to reserve a hotel room, cabin or chalet. You can easily enter in your travel dates and book your accommodations. It's so fast we bet you'll be back here reading this blog in two minutes.

Here are some fun activities and sports for you to enjoy during your Gatlinburg winter vacation:

Hike Chimney Tops in the Park

One of the most popular hikes in the park is to Chimney Tops. This mountain is 4,800 feet high. The hiking area that most people enjoy spans about 2 miles to the top. People aged 6-60+ have enjoyed this hike that ascends 1400 feet from beginning to end and rewards trekkers with some stunning scenery at the summit. Dress in layers and wear hiking shoes or boots. There can be some ice in spots this time of year and the trail can be strenuous for some hikers. The last segment of the hike has a much steeper incline than the first mile or so; some hikers may have some difficulty ascending the final half mile.  Keep attuned to the weather conditions before you go as the trail can get muddy, and this time of year it can be cold, especially if you go earlier in the day. The photography opportunities are definitely worth the trip.

Try an Easier Hike and Enjoy the Winter Views

This summer we wrote a post about some of the short hikes in and around Gatlinburg that might be good for families and those who want some outdoor fun without overdoing it. Some of these shorter trails may also be good for a winter day. The Sugarlands Valley Nature Trail is one of these trails. The Visitors Center is a great place to get information about the area. Located at 1420 Old State Highway 73 Scenic, this is the entry point to Great Smoky Mountains National Park from Gatlinburg. You'll find friendly staff who can answer your questions and there are seasonal ranger-led tours. There are several nature trails nearby, with the Sugarlands Valley Nature Trail one of the more popular hiking spots. It's a favorite due to its being paved and its easy distance of .5 miles. Many visitors rate this short hike as a relaxing, serene walk after a day in town. People also like to stop here to stretch their legs after a day of driving.

Ober Gatlinburg Snow Tubing

Snow tubing opened at Ober Gatlinburg on Nov. 23 and lasts through Easter. This is an awesome activity that many families enjoy. Kids 3 and up can ride and kids at least 6 years old can ride solo. They have several tubing sessions per day and you can get a discount for riding during the week on non-holiday times. Each session lasts for 90 minutes and Ober Gatlinburg provides the tubes. You'll get the fun of sledding and you won't have to walk back up the hill as you'll take a lift back. Make the most of your day at Ober Gatlinburg by calling ahead first to ensure that the weather is right for tubing and that the sessions haven't already been sold out. The Aerial Tram up to Ober Gatlinburg is fun in and of itself as you'll see incredible views of the Smoky Mountains as you ascend to the top.

People who live in larger cities marvel at the serenity and quiet they find in Gatlinburg during the winter. Visitors to Gatlinburg spend lots of time making their own fun playing in the snow and building snowmen near their chalets and cabins. Are you looking forward to a fun trip to Gatlinburg this winter? It's easy to book a room right on our site. Start planning now by making a room reservation.

What are your favorite Gatlinburg winter experiences? Share them with us in the comments, on Facebook, on Twitter @travelgburg, or on Google +!