Gatlinburg, nestled in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains, is a winter wonderland. But beyond the slopes of Ober Gatlinburg, a wealth of magic awaits those who prefer their winter adventures sprinkled with a touch of cozy charm. So, lace up your boots, grab a mug of hot cocoa, and get ready to swap out the skis for a different kind of winter fun.
Snuggle Up in a Secluded CabinBack to Top of List
There's nothing quite like a cozy cabin retreat to banish the winter blues. Imagine crackling fireplaces, steaming mugs of cider, and breathtaking mountain views from your private porch. Gatlinburg boasts an abundance of charming cabins, each one a haven for relaxation and reconnection. Curl up with a good book, play board games by the fire, or simply soak in the serenity of your snow-globe-like surroundings. With a plethora of cabin options catering to various preferences and group sizes, these accommodations offer an intimate and immersive winter experience.
Admire the Winter LandscapeBack to Top of List
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park transforms into a winter wonderland when the snow falls. Take a scenic drive through the Newfound Gap Road or the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, where snow-covered trees and frost-kissed landscapes paint a serene picture.
For those with an adventurous spirit, lace up your hiking boots and hit the trails for a breathtaking, peaceful experience. There is easy access to several family-friendly trails, while more adventurous hikers can tackle the Alum Cave Trail for stunning panoramic views. The crisp winter air and the tranquility of the snowy trails offer a unique perspective of the Smokies, but remember to bundle up and wear proper footwear, as the trails can get icy.
Dazzle Under the Lights of Winter MagicBack to Top of List
While many associate festive lights with the holiday season, Gatlinburg's Winter Magic ensures that the enchantment continues long after the holidays have passed. From late November to February, the town comes alive with millions of LED lights illuminating the streets, creating a captivating winter wonderland. Take a leisurely stroll along the Parkway or drive through the dazzling light displays that adorn the downtown area. Don't forget to stop for a steaming cup of hot chocolate or a delicious gingerbread cookie to complete the experience.
Discover Gatlinburg's Artsy SideBack to Top of List
Gatlinburg is a haven for art lovers and home to the nation’s largest organization of independent artisans. The Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Loop, spanning eight miles, serves as a premier destination for showcasing the region's most exquisite artistry. Here, you'll discover a curated collection of the area's finest creations, ranging from Smoky Mountain paintings to meticulously crafted pottery, intricately carved woodworks, and a diverse array of other handmade crafts. Pick up a unique souvenir or simply explore the art galleries that dot the region.
Take a Scenic Ride on the Aerial TramwayBack to Top of List
Soar above the winter wonderland on the Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway. This scenic 8-minute ride offers breathtaking views of the Great Smoky Mountains, especially stunning when dusted with snow. Once at the top, explore the Ober Mountain Ski Area and Amusement Park where year-round attractions, shopping and dining await. Even if you're not a skier, the Aerial Tramway provides a unique and unforgettable winter experience.
Warm Up with a DrinkBack to Top of List
Warm up from the winter chill by exploring Gatlinburg's breweries and distilleries. Sample locally crafted beers and spirits as you learn about the art of the distillation and brewing processes.
Gatlinburg has a burgeoning craft beer scene, perfect for warming up after a day in the cold. Several local breweries offer tastings and tours, where you can learn about the brewing process and sample their latest creations. Relax in a cozy taproom, sip on a delicious brew, and swap stories with fellow adventurers.
If you’re looking for something a little stronger, stop by the Ole Smoky Distillery. Tour the facilities and taste some of the best Tennessee liquors straight from the source.
Visit a Gatlinburg MuseumBack to Top of List
Escape the winter cold by delving into the rich cultural offerings of Gatlinburg's museums. Discover the intriguing exhibits at the Gatlinburg Pinball Museum. Featuring a vast collection of vintage and modern pinball machines, this museum allows visitors to enjoy unlimited play with the purchase of admission. For those interested in marine life, Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies delivers a captivating experience beneath the waves. Additionally, the Hollywood Star Cars Museum features iconic vehicles from beloved movies and TV shows, making it a must-visit for pop culture enthusiasts.
Gatlinburg Space NeedleBack to Top of List
For a bird's-eye view of the winter landscape, the Gatlinburg Space Needle offers a thrilling experience. Take a glass elevator to the observation deck, where panoramic views of the snow-covered mountains and the town await. The Space Needle is open year-round, allowing visitors to witness the winter beauty from a vantage point that promises awe-inspiring vistas.
Wildlife EncountersBack to Top of List
Winter in the Smokies unveils a different side of the region's wildlife. Bundle up and embark on a wildlife viewing adventure in Cades Cove. Keep an eye out for deer, elk, and other native animals that are more visible against the snow-covered landscape. Gatlinburg's proximity to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park makes it an ideal base for those seeking a connection with nature and the opportunity to witness the beauty of winter wildlife.
Live Entertainment and ShowsBack to Top of List
Gatlinburg's entertainment scene thrives even in winter, with a variety of live shows and performances. Whether you're in the mood for laughter at a comedy club or the foot-tapping rhythms of a live music venue, Gatlinburg has something for every taste.
Be sure to stop by Ole Red for live music and great eats. In addition to featuring southern cuisine and tasty signature drinks, the Blake Shelton inspired venue is the place to hear up-and-coming country music artists outside of Nashville.
Gatlinburg's vibrant arts and entertainment community ensures that visitors can experience the warmth of live performances amid the winter chill.
Gatlinburg, Tennessee, unveils a winter wonderland beyond the confines of skiing and holiday festivities. Embrace the magic of the season, explore the town's unique attractions, and create cherished winter memories in this charming mountain retreat.