downtown gatlinburg covered in snow from the gatlinburg overlook

6 Fun Activities to Do in the Snow in Gatlinburg

With winter being one of the slowest seasons in the Smoky Mountains, visitors have a chance to enjoy the delights of both Gatlinburg and the surrounding countryside without the crowds. Savoring a peaceful, snow-covered vista from Newfound Gap Road is one of the most magical sights of the winter season in Tennessee, but the city itself also offers its own unique range of fun activities for those who love to visit when there’s snow in Gatlinburg. To make sure you enjoy the most of your visit, we’ve made a list of 6 fun activities to do in the snow in Gatlinburg:

1. Downtown Events

Gatlinburg stripGatlinburg pulls out all the stops for winter holiday season! The Winter Magic Tour of Lights lasts from November to the end of February and showcases the city’s extravagant display of holiday decorations, many of which feature depictions of animals native to the region. Take in the lights while wandering the downtown area or hop on the Gatlinburg Trolley to enjoy the magical evening scene in warmth and comfort.

There’s also the Winter Magic Tunes and Tales taking place each Friday and Saturday in the lead up to Christmas. Singing choirs dressed for the holidays perform traditional carols in the downtown area while storytellers keep crowds enthralled with fantastical tales.

Early in December, the Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade features a dazzling array of parade floats festooned with sparkling lights, marching bands, popular characters in costume and an appearance by none other than Santa Claus himself. Crowds line the route along Highway 321, so be sure to come early for a great spot.

Each December 31st, visitors gather to watch the New Year’s Eve ball drop and enjoy a fireworks show to ring in the new year. Crowds gather to enjoy the festivities at the base of the Gatlinburg Space Needle. The ball drops over 400 feet from the top of the Needle, kicking off the fireworks show while crowds are entertained by a free musical concert.

2. Winter Sports at Ober Mountain

A fun destination year-round, Ober Mountain’s winter season begins in December and runs through mid-March. While skiing and snowboarding are the most popular pursuits on the slopes, there are other outdoor activities like snow tubing and a snow play area to enjoy. The tubing hill has multiple lanes, and tubers can even ride the “Magic Carpet,” a mechanical lift, right to the top, so there’s no trudging up the hill carrying an inflatable tube. Renting the proper equipment for skiing, tubing and skating is a snap, and soon visitors can be gliding down the slopes. After all the fun in the snow, relax inside with a steaming cup of hot chocolate or try indoor ice skating!

3. Sledding From Sites Along Newfound Gap Road

Newfound Gap Road in the SnowFor those who enjoy experiencing nature without the crowds, exploring Newfound Gap Road in the winter is a stark contrast to its popularity in the summer months. Visitors can often enjoy having a spot all to themselves, and there are gentle slopes along the road that are perfect for some impromptu sledding or tubing. The opportunity to take some wonderful pictures of snow-covered peaks and pine trees are another perk of this scenic area. Even when Gatlinburg itself has no snow, the higher elevations may still experience dramatic snowfalls, allowing visitors to enjoy the beauty of the snowy landscape before returning to the warmer elevations below. Keep in mind during inclement weather, Newfound Gap Road may close to vehicles.

4. Gatlinburg SkyLift

One way to take in the winter landscape by day and the sparkling Christmas lights by night is a ride on the Gatlinburg SkyLift. Not only is Gatlinburg laid out in all of its glittering holiday glory below visitors’ feet, but the 360-degree view of the Smoky Mountains add all of their breathtaking beauty to the experience. Once you get to the top, hop off and enjoy everything that the Gatlinburg SkyPark has to offer! Not only will you have beautiful views of the snow, but you’ll be able to walk across the SkyBridge, go for a stroll along the SkyTrail, relax with a cup of hot chocolate, and enjoy the Lights Over Gatlinburg event!

5. Snowshoeing and Cross-Country Skiing

snowshoeing in the mountainsThose with an adventurous streak can enjoy the snow in Gatlinburg by making their own fun. Beautiful Cades Cove offers a number of suitable trails for either snowshoeing or cross-country skiing and promises plenty of opportunities for spotting deer, turkeys and other local wildlife in addition to the unparalleled natural beauty. Cades Cove Nature Trail and the trek to Abrams Falls are short and promise particularly pretty views. For longer treks, the seven-mile-long Old Sugarlands Trail is a good choice. Clingmans Dome Road is another popular spot for cross country skiing since it’s closed to vehicle traffic during the winter. You’ll love playing in the snow while being surrounded by the beauty of the Smokies!

6. Zip Lines

Streaking across the downtown area on a zipline is a unique way to take in the sights, even more enjoyable in winter when the Christmas decorations are on full display. Anakeesta offers dueling ziplines so you can ride side-by-side with your friend or a family member! You’ll have beautiful sights of the mountains and Christmas lights all around you.  The activity features 3 zip excursions and multiple rappels for unbelievable thrills! After your zipline, spend some time on the mountain taking in panoramic views and enjoying everything else it has to offer.

Come Enjoy Snow in Gatlinburg

snowy day in GatlinburgGatlinburg is a city that offers a little something for all ages during every season. Cooler temperatures and deep snowfall only serve to transform the city into a winter wonderland that offers unique opportunities not available to visitors at any other time of year. Savor the winter beauty of the surrounding mountains and take part in all of the festivities that are only possible when there’s snow in Gatlinburg. The winter months promise the opportunity to make memories lasting a lifetime.

After having lots of fun in the snow in Gatlinburg, you’ll need a warm and cozy place to rest. Old Creek Lodge has in-room whirlpool tubs and fireplaces in their rooms  to keep you warm on those cool snowy nights. Reserve your room today!