Gatlinburg is a mountain town in Tennessee’s Sevier County. Gatlinburg’s climate is subtropical, with hot, humid summers and chilly, damp winters. It is a popular tourist attraction in Tennessee. Every corner of this town offers thrilling activities.
There are several hotels, chalets, and eateries to choose from. Its malls, museums, and mountains draw tourists from all over the world. The most popular national park in the country may be entered from this town.
Because Gatlinburg is also home to Tennessee’s sole ski resort, winter sports enthusiasts go there throughout the winter.
You may be unsure where to begin if you’re organizing a trip to Gatlinburg. This article will give you a brief idea of things to do in Gatlinburg.
Things to Do in Gatlinburg
Listed below are 26 fun things to do in Gatlinburg.
1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited national park in the nation. Visiting this national park is one of the most common things in Gatlinburg. A stroll through the Great Smoky Mountains, whether on the Appalachian Trail, a wildflower walk, or a visit to one of the many waterfalls, will leave you smiling and with a lasting impression. Because the experience changes seasonally, there is always a fresh scene to discover.
This national park doesn’t require an entrance fee, making it one of the few locations in the USA where tourists can take in all the sights and the surrounding splendor.
See the sights along the road, such as the Sugarlands Visitor Center, Newfound Gap, Clingman’s Dome Road, Ocanaluftee Valley, and Mingus Mill, as every trip to the Smokies begins with a drive down the Newfound Gap Road.
The Gatlinburg Space Needle is only a short stroll from the museum, which is situated in the city’s center. The Gatlinburg Trolley stops outside the museum’s entrance, and there is pay-and-display parking close by.
For fans of television and movies as well as car enthusiasts, a visit to the Hollywood Star Cars Museum is essential. Discover over 40 of Hollywood’s most well-known automobiles on display with engaging exhibitions related to the featured movies and television shows.
General Lee from The Dukes of Hazzard and the Ecto-1 truck from Ghostbusters are two of the museum’s highlights.
Riders are taken on a unique trip down the mountain by sweeping bends and turns. The original family-friendly attraction is likely to excite the crowd’s adrenaline seekers. On the other hand, the Gatlin Mountain Coaster allows passengers to choose the speed to make the ride glide through the trees, which is a more pleasant experience for individuals who don’t like the excitement of intense attractions.
4. Snow Tubing
You don’t want to miss out on Ober Gatlinburg snow tubing, one of the most well-liked winter activities in Gatlinburg for locals and tourists. Without undertaking the arduous climb up the mountain, you can still enjoy all the excitement of tubing downhill in the snow. The Ober Gatlinburg “Magic Carpet” escalator will take you back to the top of the mountain after you’ve finished snow tubing down the hill so you can repeat the process endlessly.
You may race family and friends while down a 400-foot hill in the snow tubing park at Ober Gatlinburg, which has ten lanes.
5. Pigeon Forge
Pigeon Forge is a year-round, family-friendly vacation spot with many entertaining activities. It is simple to understand why so many people choose Pigeon Forge to be their home away from home, with its exhilarating attractions, award-winning entertainment, and endless dining, shopping, and housing options. Dollywood, one of the most well-known theme parks in the nation, is located near Pigeon Forge.
6. Whitewater Rafting
Visitors can choose from several rafting excursions at Smoky Mountain Outdoors, based in Hartford, Tennessee. Since 1933, they have taken great satisfaction in being the industry leader in safety, attention to detail, and fun. Experts accompany each rafting adventure to ensure complete safety. Take the Upper River tour for an exciting 6.5-mile journey through class III and IV rapids for a cruise down the river.
From its site in Hartford, Tennessee, Wildwater provides trips on both the Upper and Lower Pigeon Rivers. On the banks of the Pigeon Rivers, their Pigeon River Adventure Center offers whitewater rafting, zipline and canopy rides, picturesque Jeep trips, and a restaurant in one accessible location.
Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort, which is close to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and has a spa, a zipline, mini golf, and on-site food & beverage options, is ideal for families. There are several options for lodging, from cozy studio villas to roomy two-bedroom villas so that everyone can have their area. There is parking and lodging here that is wheelchair accessible.
The heated indoor/outdoor water park, Wild Bear Falls Water Park, is one of the property features that guests can easily access during their stay.
8. Ice Skating
The Mountain Mile in Pigeon Forge has established an ice skating rink. You are invited to bring your skates or rent them if you choose. The rink is made of synthetic plastic so that you can skate on it, and parents can walk on it using conventional shoes.
1424 Old Knoxville Highway, Sevierville, Tennessee, is the address for Wilderness at the Smokies. The resort provides ice skating instruction for those who have never skated before. To celebrate the chilly season with light displays, unique shopping, award-winning shows, and attractions, all while showcasing the winter beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, these three mountain towns come together for Smoky Mountain Winterfest, which offers a spectacular display of lights and events.
Cades Cove is one of the most visited places in the Great Smoky Mountains, a wide, lush valley encircled by mountains. It offers some of the best opportunities in the park to watch wildlife. In the wide valley of Cades Cove, animals, including white-tailed deer, black bears, coyotes, turkeys, and other creatures are commonly seen.
The five-mile roundtrip trail to Abrams Falls and the Cades Cove Nature Trail are just two trails that start near the cove. The cove is also the starting point for longer Rocky Top and Thunderhead Mountain excursions.
Along the circle path are scattered several perfectly kept buildings from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, including three churches, a working gristmill, barns, log cabins, and many more.
When the Gatlinburg SkyLift Park opened in 1954, it was the first four-season scenic chairlift in the South. This landmark takes visitors from the city center 1,800 feet above sea level to Crockett Mountain, where the record-breaking Gatlinburg SkyBridge is situated and offers some of Gatlinburg’s greatest vistas.
The brand-new SkyDeck and nearby SkyCenter provide a spot for refreshment and leisure while taking in the expansive mountain views.
A ride on the Gatlinburg SkyLift is a must-do activity for thousands of visitors yearly, many of whom make it an annual tradition. It is the longest-running attraction in the city.
There are two 18-hole courses, each with several visual effects. A close-up view of a period of Tennessee history is provided by the course’s theme, which combines hillbilly culture and an old-fashioned farm setting. The course requires players to strategize on each move as they play golf on a terraced and continuous downward slope while dodging various hazards, which ups the action and thrill of the game.
You must ride a funicular tram 300 feet to the top to reach the two courses. Everyone can understand the surroundings, the mountain’s slope, and the difficulty of keeping your golf ball on course during the ride up.
12. Alum Cave Trail
The Alum Cave Trail is one of the most well-known hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Hikers will first traverse an old-growth hardwood forest as they cross log bridges over Walker Camp Prong and Alum Cave Creek. One of the hike’s highlights is passing through Arch Rock’s constricting tunnel.
The trailhead is 2.3 miles away from the Alum Cave Bluffs. When the air and ground outside the bluffs are moist, it is difficult to believe how dry the earth is underneath them. Many visitors leave at this point, but if you continue on the trek to the top of Mount Le Conte, you’ll be rewarded with expansive views from the trail’s exposed cliffside vantage points. If you’re up for it, taking Alum Cave to Mount LeConte’s summit is a fantastic climb possible for youngsters with the proper enthusiasm.
The Historic Nature Trail departs from the Parkway at Light #8 and leads to the Pinball Museum. Only a few blocks away, immediately after the Space Needle.
Over 100 pinball machines and vintage arcade games are available at the Gatlinburg Pinball Museum, an interactive museum. The museum features all your favorite vintage arcade games and a ton of limited edition and rare pinballs.
The Addams Family Gold Edition, The Walking Dead, Dialed In, Lord of the Rings, Metallica, Medieval Madness, Attack from Mars, and the 1965 classic Gottlieb Sky-Line are just a few of the museum’s pinball machines.
14. Rainbow Falls
A rainbow created by the mist from this 80-foot-high waterfall can be seen on sunny afternoons. The area around the falls develops a spectacular ice structure during prolonged winter cold spells.
The 5.4-mile roundtrip hike to the waterfall is rated as moderately challenging. However, some may consider the trip tough due to its duration, height rise, and occasionally rocky path conditions. The hike there and back takes three to five hours.
Pets and bicycles are not allowed on the trail. Avoid scaling the cliffs that surround Rainbow Falls. These rocks are incredibly slippery because of the mist and algae. Even if it would be tempting to climb on the rocks, keep in mind that major injuries and even deaths have happened frequently recently.
Put on reliable hiking boots and set off to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s renowned Rainbow Falls waterfall.
The first haunted attraction in the Smoky Mountains opened in 1980 and is called Mysterious Mansion of Gatlinburg. This home is allegedly haunted by the ghosts of a family who perished there in 1903. The family went wild, turned on one another, and murdered one another in a terrible series of events. No one can dispute that the house has been plagued by paranormal activity ever since.
A traditional three-story haunted mansion from the “turn of the century” can be toured independently at Mysterious Mansion. Navigate through hidden passages, winding staircases, and eerie, dark hallways without knowing what rotten, restless occupants may be hiding around the corner in each ominous room ahead of or behind you.
The live characters are one of the Mysterious Mansion’s best features; they are excellent, stay in character, and are well-trained in how far to push the boundaries. Live actors will magically arrive, vanish, and terrorize you and your group throughout the haunted home.
A visit to the Mysterious Mansion is one of the most exciting things in Gatlinburg. You should visit it at least once during your trip to the town.
The Smoky Mountain Winery is situated at 450 Cherry Street. From Light #3, take East Parkway, then turn left onto Pine Lane.
Gatlinburg’s oldest winery, Smoky Mountain Winery, was founded in 1981 and has won multiple accolades. Located just off East Parkway in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, it is a hidden gem and a top choice for many individuals who enjoy trying the region’s various wines.
The sweet flavors of Southern wines are popular with tourists from all across the nation. French hybrid grape types are ideally suited to Tennessee’s higher mountain elevations and humid environment.
East Tennessee wines typically have a rich blend of delicate and fruity undertones and a sweeter finish. Muscadine is a popular wine in the South, and Smoky Mountain Winery offers both red and white wines that they make.
In the Cherokee language, Anakeesta means “the location of high ground.” Located 600′ above Gatlinburg on a 70-acre mountain, Anakeesta.
The Treetop Skywalk features hanging bridges that reach 880’—more than 50′ above the forest floor—and AnaVista Tower, the highest point in the city center with 360-degree views, are among the featured activities. Adventurers adore the Dueling Zipline Tour, the Rail Runner Mountain Coaster, and the netted play areas, which include the TreeVenture Challenge course with a treehouse motif.
There are several different dining options at Anakeesta. Cliff Top offers elevated views of Mt. LeConte, while the Smokehouse serves slow-smoked southern barbecue. Our full-service bars with indoor or outdoor seating provide craft beer and specialty cocktails.
The Wild Plum Tea Room provides a unique opportunity to savor great cuisine in a cozy, cabin-like setting. It is situated in Gatlinburg’s historic Arts and Crafts Community. It offers special diets that are vegetarian-friendly, vegan, and gluten-free. The tea parlor has the air of a bygone pioneer village because of its mature trees and relative silence.
If the weather permits, you can eat outside on the Wild Plum’s patio area, on the screened porch, or in the main dining room. Stop in for tea or dessert if you want to enjoy the tea room but are not ready for a full meal.
Here are some previous visitors suggested favorites: A vegan platter with salad, olives, hummus, and veggie dippers is also available. Other dishes include Amaretto Apple Bread Pudding, Tuna with Kohlrabi Salad, Cuban Pork Sandwich with Chutney, Sherry Tomato Bisque Soup, Curry Quinoa Salad, and Cheesy Cauliflower Soup (made with eggless mayonnaise).
19. Ski Resort
The Ober Gatlinburg Ski Area is a popular year-round, family-friendly resort and the only ski area in Tennessee.
Upon arrival, visitors can ride on the Ski Mountain Coaster, spin around the rink on the Ice Bumper Cars, or listen to bluegrass music atop Mount Harrison via the Scenic Chairlift. Outdoor adventures include skiing, snowboarding, and snow tubing in the winter; the Alpine Slide, Guided Hiking Tours, Rock Climbing Wall, Chair Swings, Maze, and Mini Golf in spring, summer, and fall; and the Ski Mountain Coaster, Scenic Chairlift, Wildlife Encounter.
20. Mountain Mall
The Mountain Mall is in Gatlinburg, TN, adjacent to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
The shopping center is decorated with mountain-themed accents, from the wood walls to the whiskey barrel garbage cans (made from the same barrels used to produce Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey). Additionally, you can hear local artists playing Appalachian mountain music as you stroll through the Mountain Mall.
The shops preserve an emphasis on regional handcrafted goods while selling virtually everything under the sun. Your arrival will be greeted by handmade quilts, leather goods, crafts, jewelry, and other stuff.
The Ryan Marsh Gallery, a spectacular art gallery with the artist’s one-of-a-kind paintings and other works within, is located in the mall. Additionally, beautiful chess sets are available. You may even specify your brand and color.
On the Gatlinburg Bypass, which connects the Spur and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, is where you’ll find the Gatlinburg Overlook.
The Gatlinburg Scenic Overlook provides a breathtaking mountain backdrop and magnificent views of downtown Gatlinburg. The mountains below are covered in a lovely mist in the mornings. The view is clear during the day, and the Space Needle and the other lights of the downtown area are visible at night.
A 407-foot viewing tower is part of the Gatlinburg Sky Needle, also known as the Gatlinburg Space Needle. Additionally, it provides a fantastic vantage point for viewing the nearby mountains.
Local Gatlinburg residents deeply ingrained in the family legacy of Tennessee sweet wine are the founders of Tennessee Homemade Wines. They brew and sell the greatest sweet wine using local craftspeople, craftsmen, and produce. They create sweet table wines with various flavor notes from many different fruits.
You may rest assured that when you purchase a bottle of wine, you are genuinely savoring the essence of the Smoky Mountains and supporting local growers because the fruit used in the winemaking process is acquired from several different nearby farms.
Their standout products include Blueberry Bammer, Old Apple Recipe, White Knuckle Grape, and Midnight Red Muscadine.
23. Amusement Parks
Gatlinburg has many amazing amusement parks, such as Gatlinburg Skylift Park, Ripley’s Mountain Coaster, Ober Gatlinburg Amusement Park, and Ski Area, Anakeesta, Rowdy Bear Mountain Coaster, and Moonshine Mountain Coaster. Exploring these amusement parks with your family or friends can be added to Gatlinburg’s list of things to do.
24. Mountain Streams
Stop number five on the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail is where the Grottos Falls Trail starts. This short path leads behind the falls, through a hemlock forest, and spans three tiny streams. Summer hikers and salamanders thrive in the fall’s cold, humid climate.
The Indian Creek Falls Trail runs alongside Deep Creek on an old-fashioned road. It has a simple gradient and a comfortable walking surface. There are pines, oaks, rhododendrons, and hemlocks, and in the moister areas, there are also wildflowers. The falls generate a large pool at their base after plunging 60 feet over rocky ledges.
In the Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge area, there are ten professional golf courses. The Great Smoky Mountains can experience very harsh winters. Therefore, spring and fall are the ideal seasons to play golf there. Golf can still be played during the summer because the area’s summers are cool in the mornings and late afternoons.
There are numerous miniature golf courses and professional golf facilities in the area. These are excellent for novices since they allow them to learn the game’s rules, such as how to aim a club, what par means, and how to score a game.
Some examples are Laurel Valley Golf Course, Island Pointe Golf Club, and Patriot Hills Golf Club.
This 6.4-kilometer (four-mile) Greenway along the Little Pigeon River is a little-known natural treasure. There are numerous places to stop and rest along the journey, including benches, restrooms, and drinking fountains. Additionally, walkers can rest on the river’s edge and dip their feet in the water to cool them off.
There are plenty of fun things to do in Gatlinburg. Before visiting Gatlinburg, look at this article, and as you explore the neighborhood and this distinctive Smoky Mountains town, uncover your adventure.