Ski slope during winter in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

Winter Activities in Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Gatlinburg is a great destination any time of the year, and the winter season is no different! You can take advantage of bargains and fewer crowds after the holiday season, while also enjoying the crisp weather of the Smoky Mountains. Here are some of the fun activities you can experience when you visit Gatlinburg in the winter months!

Ober Gatlinburg

Tennessee’s only ski resort comes alive in the winter, and Ober Gatlinburg is known far and wide as a winter wonderland for the entire family. The park’s skiing and snowboarding season begins in mid-December and typically lasts until mid-March. Grab rentals onsite or bring your own! Other fun things to do at Ober Gatlinburg include indoor ice skating, snow tubing, and their famous ice bumper cars!

Best of all, you can get there using the aerial tramway which departs regularly from Downtown Gatlinburg and offers spectacular mountain views on the way up!

Winter in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Nothing embodies this time of year like taking a winter hike through Great Smoky Mountains National Park, where you can enjoy the quiet trails and frozen waterfalls during the park’s less busy season. You won’t even have to worry about any black bears since they will all be hibernating!

Not in the mood for a hike? Hop in your car and take a scenic drive around Cades Cove, a valley filled with historic structures that turns magical during a Gatlinburg winter. It’s the most popular site to visit in all of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, receiving over two million visitors a year! In winter, however, it’s a different story, and you can enjoy Cades Cove at your leisure.


Anakeesta theme park is just off the Parkway in Downtown Gatlinburg, and winter magic is in full swing at Anakeesta, with festive light displays decorating the entire park. During the winter, Anakeesta hosts the special “Astra Lumina” attraction, an amazing nighttime show that brings the stars down from the heavens and allows visitors to walk through their celestial beauty. It’s definitely a can’t-miss attraction!

Rent a Cozy Cabin

Who says you have to GO OUT and do something when you’re in Gatlinburg? Spend a winter vacation bundled up near the fire in your own cabin. There are countless cabin options available for rent, depending on how rustic you want your Smoky Mountain getaway to be; you can find spacious cabins with game rooms, hot tubs, fire pits, and all the amenities of home, or you can have a simple, secluded cabin deep in the woods.

Visit a Winery or Distillery

You can’t come to Gatlinburg without making a stop at one of the city’s wineries or distilleries. In the wintertime, you can warm up with special moonshine flavors, like pumpkin pie or eggnog. Some authentic Tennessee moonshine or local wine also makes a great gift!

If you’re interested in a distillery or winery tour, you can even book one with a professional guide who will take you through all of the area’s most renowned locations. If you’re out sampling, you can expect to pay anywhere from five to seven dollars for a moonshine or wine sampler, depending on the location.

Holiday Events

If you’re planning a visit to Gatlinburg during the Christmas season, there’s a ton of holiday-themed activities and fun for you!

Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas

Dollywood is Dolly Parton’s theme park, and is just a short drive down the road from Gatlinburg in nearby Pigeon Forge. The entire park is decorated in holiday lights for the Christmas season. Vendors have special holiday-themed treats and there’s even Christmas crafting for the whole family!

Holiday Shopping

Gatlinburg is an amazing place to find one-of-a-kind, handmade Christmas gifts. Explore the unique stores in The Village Shops and find something for everyone on Santa’s list! The Smoky Mountains Arts and Crafts Community is a spectacular place to find items you can’t find anywhere else, endowed with old-fashioned craftsmanship.

New Year’s Eve in Gatlinburg

Every year since 1987, Gatlinburg rings in the new year with a ball drop and fireworks show from the Gatlinburg Space Needle. It’s best to arrive early to find a good spot to watch the show, since a portion of the Parkway closes approximately an hour before the show starts.

Lights Over Gatlinburg

Lights over Gatlinburg is a special event that takes place at Gatlinburg SkyLift Park. Twenty dancing Christmas trees line the SkyTrail, with a thirty-foot tall Christmas tree serving as the ultimate destination. The famous Gatlinburg SkyBridge becomes a three hundred foot long tunnel of dazzling holiday lights! The whole experience is included with the purchase of a SkyLift park admission ticket.

There’s No Time Like Wintertime in Gatlinburg TN

Gatlinburg in the winter months is a spectacle like no other. From the lights and sounds of the holidays to the serenity of the snowy Smoky Mountains, Gatlinburg can be the perfect winter destination.

For all the news and information on Gatlinburg fun in any season, always check back to Relax Gatlinburg. We’ve got the inside track on Gatlinburg events and activities for all twelve months of the year!