Known for its multiple gateways to Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg is a hotspot for nature lovers, offering access to hiking, river rafting, fishing, cycling and snow skiing. From aerial trams to moonshine tasting and outdoor adventures, it’s never a dull day in Gatlinburg.
Things to do in Gatlinburg
Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers an extensive trail system for hiking, cycling, horseback riding and wildlife viewing. You can also take scenic drives to the picturesque Cades Cove and the cascading waterfalls along Roaring Fork Motor Trail. If you’re visiting in the winter, hit the slopes for snow skiing and tubing at Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort.
The Appalachian region is famous for its hidden moonshine whiskey stills during the Prohibition era, and the practice has remerged with trendy moonshine tastings at local distilleries. Stop by Sugarlands Distilling Company for free tastings and head over to Ole Smoky Distillery for tastings accompanied by live bluegrass music.
The 13-kilometre-long Arts and Crafts Loop curves in and around Gatlinburg, where you can see mountain craftspeople making baskets, hand-blown glass, pottery and old-fashioned brooms at the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts. Art galleries and small boutiques feature works from regional and international artists.
Ride to the observation deck of Gatlinburg Space Needle for stunning views of the Smoky Mountains or take the Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway to the mountain peak to explore eateries, shops, ice skating and an amusement park at the top. Back in town, visit Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies and see a vaudeville show at Sweet Fanny Adams Theatre.
Getting around Gatlinburg
McGhee Tyson Airport sits about 64 kilometres away in Knoxville, offering rental cars for exploring the area. Taxis, shuttles, limos and ride-shares operate in Gatlinburg and there is a trolley that connects to main attractions.