Don’t let the cold weather stop you from having a good time! Here is a Gatlinburg vacation guide featuring the best things to do in Gatlinburg in winter.
While winter doesn’t have the best reputation for being the most ideal season to travel, Gatlinburg is an exception. This quaint little mountain town in Tennessee transforms into a winter wonderland, and there are still plenty of fun things to do!
If you’re planning a trip to the Smoky Mountains, be sure to check out our list of the best things to do in Gatlinburg in winter.
From exploring the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to enjoying some of the town’s top attractions, there’s something for everyone.
What is Gatlinburg like in the winter?
The weather in Gatlinburg is generally moderate in winter, with average highs in the mid-40s and lows in the low-30s.
However, it can occasionally dip below freezing, so make sure to include warm clothing in your winter packing list for the Smoky Mountains just in case.
You’ll still be able to enjoy all the same activities as usual in Gatlinburg, from hiking to visiting the local attractions. Just be sure to dress warmly!
One of the best things about Gatlinburg in winter is that the town is relatively quiet compared to other times of the year.
This makes it a great time to enjoy all the attractions and activities that Gatlinburg has to offer without having to deal with large crowds.
Aside from fewer crowds lodging is often cheaper in winter, so you can save money while enjoying all Gatlinburg has to offer.
If you’re looking to experience the best of winter in Gatlinburg, check out our top things to see and do in the area down below.
Is It Safe To Drive To Gatlinburg In Winter?
The answer to this question depends on the specific conditions at the time you plan to travel. Winter weather can be unpredictable, so it’s always best to check the forecast before heading out.
If conditions are good and you’re comfortable driving in winter weather, then there’s no reason you can’t make the trip to Gatlinburg.
Also, make sure to check the National Park Service website to be updated on the seasonal road closures in the Great Smoky Mountains.
Are there bears in Gatlinburg in the winter?
Black Bears can be spotted in the Smokies during the winter months. However, it’s important to note that black bears, which are the species found in this region, significantly reduces their activity and they retreat to their dens for a long sleep.
Still, it’s not uncommon to see some bears out and about, especially during mild winters. Despite their reduced presence, it’s always crucial to practice safety measures to avoid any unwanted encounters with these majestic creatures.
Festivals & Events In Gatlinburg In Winter
- Trolley Tour of Lights– The Gatlinburg Trolley Tour of Lights is a Winterfest tradition! This year, the trolley will be running from November-February. The tour is a great way to see the lights in both Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.
- Tunes & Tales(Winter)– Gatlinburg’s Tunes & Tales is a winter event that celebrates the music and stories of the Smoky Mountains. The event features live music, storytelling, and other traditional Appalachian arts.
- Thanksgiving & Christmas Craft Shows– Gatlinburg is the perfect place to find unique, hand-crafted gifts for your loved ones this holiday season. Artisans from all over the area come together for two weeks of holiday craftsmanship. The first week features Thanksgiving-themed crafts, while the second week is dedicated to Christmas decor and crafts.
- Gatlinburg New Years’ Eve Ball Drop and Fire Work Show– Gatlinburg is one of the best places to be during New Years’ Eve. The ball drop and firework show is a can’t-miss event that has been happening for years.
Smoky Mountains 7-Day Itinerary
I understand how difficult it can be to plan a trip, especially if it’s your first time going. That’s why I created this 7-day itinerary for the Smoky Mountains. It outlines all of the best places to go in the area and comes with insider tips that will save you a lot of stress–trust me, they saved me when I was planning my own trip!
- Our 7-day itinerary takes you to the best places in the Smoky Mountains.
- You’ll get to see all the best sights and attractions with driving directions
- The itinerary is designed to show you the most scenic routes.
- Packing Checklist for every season.
- You’ll have everything you need to make the most of your trip.
- Insider Tips!
Here’s a quick overview of our Smoky Mountains 7-Day Itinerary.
- Day 1: Cades Cove Loop
- Day 2: Rich Mountain Road
- Day 3: Cataloochee Valley
- Day 4: Newfound Gap Road
- Day 5: Roaring Fork Motor Trail
- Day 6: Little River Road
- Day6: Foothills Parkway
Get Your FREE Winter Packing List For The Smoky Mountains!
Recommended Gatlinburg Vacation Resources
- Smoky Mountains Vacation Guide
- Pigeon Forge Vacation Guide
- Fun Things to Do in Gatlinburg in March
- Great Smoky Mountains Family Vacations Facebook Group
MORE RELATED RESOURCES
To make the most of your winter vacation, check out our post on the best Things To Do In the Smoky Mountains In Winter.
And for a more fun and exciting trip with the kids, try this fun national park photo scavenger hunt idea from PhotoJeepers.