Don’t let the cold weather dampen your mood! Here in this Smoky Mountains vacation guide we give you our list of the best things to do in the Smoky Mountains in winter.
The Great Smoky Mountains never run out of beauty and are always ready to welcome everyone all year round. After the busier seasons of spring, summer, and fall, now comes winter. So get your winter clothes ready because we’re about to explore what this season is all about.
Searching for the perfect winter adventure in the Smoky Mountains? You’ve come to the right place!
Check out our list of the best things to do in the Smoky Mountains in winter that are sure to make your stay one for the books! From skiing, snowboarding, and snow tubing to visiting historical sites, exploring nature trails, and dining at local restaurants – there’s something for everyone!
What Are The Winters Like In The Smoky Mountains?
Winter in the Smokies starts mid-November through February and is a bit fickle when it comes to the weather. Generally, the weather in the Smokies during the winter is moderate, some days are sunny with high temperatures of 65° Fahrenheit.
On the other hand, Snow or extreme weather conditions can occur on higher elevations. About half of the days in the winter have temperatures that are equal to or more than 50 degrees.
Most nights have a lower temperature at or below freezing point and can go as low as -20°F at high elevation.
If you enjoy the snow, make sure you go in the months of January and February as these are the times when you will most likely find snow on the mountains especially on the higher ones.
Driving Through Smoky Mountains In Winter
Winter driving in the Smoky Mountains is possible but it comes with a caution. The 33-mile-long Newfound Gap Road (U.S. 441) is the main automobile route through Great Smoky Mountains National Park which at its highest point presents lower temperature than in Cherokee or Gatlinburg.
Aside from this, the higher elevations receive considerably more precipitation resulting in more snow.
The combination of lower temperature and high precipitation results in periods of dangerous driving conditions. Due to this fact, the Park Service imposes certain restrictions on driving in the winter with the Newfound Gap being temporarily closed 15-20 times during winter.
For your safety, it’s best to reduce your speed when driving through snow-covered roads and leave extra space between you and the vehicle in front of you.
To get updates about the current weather conditions or road closure please call (865) 436-1200 or check Smokies Road Info Twitter account. You can also check out the Nationa Park Service website for more info on seasonal road closures.
What do you wear to Smoky Mountains in winter?
When visiting the Smoky Mountains in winter, dressing warmly and in layers is key. Start with a good quality thermal base layer that will wick away moisture and keep you warm even if you sweat. Over this, wear a fleece or wool mid-layer for added insulation.
On top, a waterproof and wind-resistant outer-layer is essential to protect from the elements. Don’t forget a warm hat, gloves or mittens, thick socks, and waterproof boots.
Dressing in layers allows you to add or remove clothing as needed, so you stay comfortable regardless of the changing weather conditions.
Get Our FREE Winter Packing Checklist For The Smokies!
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
Related Smoky Mountain Resources
- Pigeon Forge Vacation Guide
- Gatlinburg Vacation Guide
- 125+ Things to Do in the Smoky Mountains
- Great Smoky Mountains Family Vacations Facebook Group
More Related Resources
The surrounding communities of the Smoky Mountains also offer a plethora of amazing attractions and activities year-round. Make sure to head to our list of top 25 Things To Do In Gatlinburg, TN!
Try this photo scavenger hunt idea from PhotoJeepers when you visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.