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8 Things to Do in Gatlinburg in Winter You Can’t Miss

Gatlinburg is one of the most charming cities, with scenic views and enchanting mountaintops. While most people visit Gatlinburg during the peak summer or early autumn, winter is the best time for those who wish to experience the magic of snow-capped mountains, experience magical holiday traditions, and enjoy a variety of adventurous snow sports on the peaks.

As the temperature drops, nature casts a spell on the mountains and its adjoining valleys. The setting is almost like a fantasy world come to life. In other words, winters in Gatlinburg are a beauty, and you don’t want to miss out on some of the best spots in the area. So pack your bags and make sure to take advantage of some of winter’s best destinations.

gatlinburg in winter

Here are eight amazing ways to enjoy the snow-capped mountains of Gatlinburg this winter:

1. View the Mesmerizing Smoky Mountains from the cabin

As the snow falls on the mountains, the breathtaking views of the Smokys become a visual treat. To enjoy this view properly, stay in one of the iconic cabins in the area. 

Visiting off-season can also get you a discount on the cabin rentals, as there’s less crowd. You can contact cabin providers to make an advanced booking or search Google for “cabin Gatlinburg Tennessee” to find suitable accommodations. There are several cabin sizes at multiple locations in Gatlinburg. 

Staying in one of the cabins, you can marvel at the breathtaking views of the ice-capped mountains while enjoying a cup of coffee or hot chocolate. These cabins also have a game room, indoor pools, hot tubs, and fitted kitchens.

2. Visit Tourist Spots for Aerial Views of the City

There are many great places to visit in Gatlinburg where you can experience extraordinary views of the city. Gatlinburg has a range of aerial view spots where you can enjoy picturesque views while experiencing the sun’s warmth on a bright day. 

The best way to enjoy the views of the Smoky Mountains is to try the highest points of Gatlinburg, like Anakeesta, Ober, Space Needle, and Gatlinburg SkyBridge, and get a bird’s-eye view.

3. Take a Drive to the Ice-Capped Mountains

Do you want to stay warm while exploring every inch of Gatlinburg? Try driving through the icy mountains and witnessing the breathtaking landscapes covered with snow. Drive the Cades Cove Loop road, open 24/7 throughout the year for visitors, or drive to the little river road. 

However, check the weather conditions in advance as some roads may be closed during a storm. Before hitting the road, it’s better to check if it is included in the road closure list or is clear for driving.

4. Hike on Icy Mountains and Snow-Covered Tracks

What’s more adventurous and entertaining than taking a hiking trip to the snow-capped Smoky Mountains this winter? You can access nearly 150 hiking trails, comprising more than 800 miles in the Smoky Mountains. If you’re an avid hiker, you can also explore the open land and climb the mountain peaks.

Tourist attractions such as Alum Cave have some great sites where ice droplets from the cliffs above form frozen icicles, creating a magical effect seen in movies. You can also try some spectacular winter hiking trails, including Andrews Bald, Charlies Bunion, Bullhead Trail, and the famous national park.

A trail right outside downtown Gatlinburg goes along the riverside and takes you on a trip to historic buildings and chapels. Bullhead trail in the national park has some of the most amazing views, like Rainbow Falls.

5. Try Skiing and Snowboarding

If you love skiing down the icy mountains in winter, Gatlinburg is your dream tourist destination. Ober Gatlinburg is the best place to try all kinds of winter sports, including skiing, snowboarding, and snow tubing. 

Even if you’re not an expert, you can learn from professionals and certified trainers and practice until you become an expert. You can also try mountain coasters, ice staking, and bumper cars with your family in Ober Gatlinburg.

6. Enjoy the Holiday Lights

The best part of the night on a trip to Gatlinburg is watching the spectacular holiday lights across the city. The whole area is decorated with splendid light displays, adding more vigor and excitement to your holiday spirit. 

As you drive around the city, you get to see dancing snowmen, bright lights, snowflake lights on the light poles, and holiday decorations with vibrant colors along the way. Everyone loves to drive around to see these colorful, bright lights all around. There are also lighted displays of animals found in the Great Smoky Mountains.

7. Attend the Christmas Parade

If you’re planning a trip to Gatlinburg around the holidays, the Fantasy of Lights Christmas parade is a must-see event. 

Every year, tourists enjoy the Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade in Gatlinburg and try to reach early to secure a spot. People chant, sing along, and have fun watching the floats pass by. The marching bands play holiday music to enliven the holiday spirit. The floats have tons of lights and a variety of themes.

8. Experience the Gatlinburg SkyLift

In the winter, the Gatlinburg SkyLift Park hosts a celebration that’s one of a kind. The park is decorated with thousands of lights that visitors can see until the end of January. On top of that, tourists can pass through a 300-feet long tunnel on the SkyBridge lit up with beautiful lights.

SkyBridge is a semi-transparent bridge with three glass panels in the middle that provide spectacular views of the forest below. In the SkyLift park, you also witness a 30-foot tree with lights that surprisingly move to the music. This park hosts the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in South America.

You can also ride on the Gatlinburg SkyLift to see the mountain views during the daytime. Once you reach the SkyDeck, you will be treated to a breathtaking 360-degree view of downtown Gatlinburg.

Final Thoughts

Winter is the ideal time of year to visit Gatlinburg for those who enjoy watching the breathtaking views of snow-covered mountains and taking an adventure slide down the icy mountains. With so many fun winter activities, Gatlinburg is a must-see destination for visitors this holiday season. We hope this list will assist you in planning your next trip to Gatlinburg and creating a checklist of all the fun things to do there with family and friends.

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