This unique city at the gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park has been drawing visitors to its high mountain valleys and rushing streams since the nineteenth century.
Today, its quaint European-style store fronts, fine dining, specialty shops, and galleries are a mecca for vacationers seeking cool mountain air and unsurpassed views.
From downtown Gatlinburg, on the Roaring Fork MotorTrail, visitors can experience an example of wilderness and frontier life back through the early 19th century. Of the many areas settled in the mountains, Roaring Fork was one of the most unmerciful, due to the boulder fields which made farming exceedingly difficult. Beginning in Cherokee Orchard Road, the motor trail follows the original road bed which took the path of least resistance and followed the creek. When the original road was hewed with picks and shovels it served as an access route to what is now Gatlinburg for the twenty-five families carving an existence out of the forested hillside.
Along the route, visitors can see log cabins, a cemetery, and the Ogle homestead, a beautiful example of pioneer engineering with running water pumped naturally into the house along log troughs from a nearby stream, and the homesteads of Jim Bales & Ephraim and Alfred Reagon.
Gatlinburg is a town full of diversity. With the Smokies as a backdrop, you can jump on a chairlift or travel high into the mountains by America's largest arial tramway to Ober Gatlinburg where everyone can enjoy the latest in amusement and skill games in The Arcade or, if you dare, take a plunge off the Bunge Tower. For young visitors, as well as a carousel, cars, snowmobiles, and a scaled down Rio Grande train to ride, there are tunnels to explore, swinging bridges to cross, a web to scramble through, ladders to scale, and chutes to slide down in Kidde-Land. The young-at-heart can test their racing skills on a unique 700' high-bank figure 8 NASKART go-kart course. All can enjoy the Mega theatre, located in central Gatlinburg, featuring spectacular films.
Everywhere you turn, you'll find plenty of family attractions and things to do. Gatlinburg has something special to offer its visitors no matter the time of year. We celebrate the seasons with special events such as parties, craft fairs, concerts and food festivals. Our calendar is jam-packed with seasonal events such as SpringFest, WinterFest, the nation's first 4th of July Parade and last fireworks display, and the fall Heritage Festival. There are special events throughout the year to make your Tennessee family vacation unforgettable. Enjoy downhill snow skiing, rafting, golf and fishing in hundreds of miles of streams.
Gatlinburg CVB - www.gatlinburg.com
RIPLEY’S AQUARIUM OF THE SMOKIES
Discover an exciting underwater world filled with 8,000 sea creatures, from piranhas to 11 foot sharks, at different exhibits. Pass through what Ripley’s claim to be “the world’s longest aquarium tunnel” while visiting the Shark Lagoon. The Aquarium also offers dive shows, presentations, special birthday celebrations on weekends and a variety of educational programs. Allow 2-3 hours for a self-guided tour, refreshments are available at the Verandah Restaurant and The Feeding Frenzy. Hours: Sun-Thurs 9am/9pm, Fri-Sat 9am/11pm. 88 River Road, Gatlinburg. Tel: 865 430 8808 or 888 240 1358.
Every twenty minutes a 120 passenger cable car departs from downtown Gatlinburg to take visitors on a smooth, non-stop, 2¼ mile ride on America's largest Aerial Tramway for a breathtaking panorama of the city and the Great Smoky Mountains that changes with every season. After the 10 minutescenic journey, a day of fun and adventure awaits where the whole family can enjoy "a mountain of fun." Ober Gatlinburg is a "must see" at any time of the year, but for an unforgettable winter vacation, everything you need is right here in this mountain Ski Resort and Amusement Park.
Take a scenic chairlift to the pinnacle of Mt. Harrison for an awe-inspiring view and photo opportunity of the Great Smokies and descend on a fun-filled ride through curves and hairpin turns on the dry-track simulated bob sled ride of the Alpine Slide.
Rain or shine, enthusiasts of interactive screen games can challenge their skills on the most popular and current games in The Arcade, and everyone can explore the latest in amusement and skill games in the Country Carnival and Redemption Center, or wear a velcro suit and jump, bounce, or flip onto an inflated velcro wall at the Spider Web Jump, which is as much fun for onlookers as it is for participants! Test your might and try not to be the first to get snapped back on the Bungee Run, or test your batting skills as the on-screen major league pitcher challenges you with 60 mph pitches directly through the screen in the high-tech Power Alley Batting Cage, or "walk on the wild side" if you dare and take a 60' plunge off the Bungee Tower!
The centerpiece of Ober Gatlinburg's massive enclosed mall is the huge indoor Ice Skating Arena where rental skates are available to skate away an hour or an afternoon. THe annual "Christmas on Ice Show" featuring choreographed ice skating routines set to traditional Christmas music takes place the second week in December with a spectacular night time Torch Light Parade for the grand finale, when torch carrying skiers weave down the unlit Castle Run ski slope.
You don't need to find snow in your backyard to go skiing. If the temperatures have been below freezing for a couple of nights, there is probably enough fresh snow at Ober Gatlinburg, but if not, snowmaking begins around December 1st or as soon as favorable temperatures arrive. There is nothing "artificial" about this snow - Ober Gatlinburg has one of the largest and most advanced snowmaking systems in the world.
For season schedule, slope session times, rates, and more information, write:
Ober Gatlinburg, Inc.
Gatlinburg, TN 37738
or call: (865) 436-5423 or toll free 800-251-9202
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The most visited park in the US plays host to about 10 million visitors annually and encompasses over 500,000 acres across Tennessee and North Carolina. The charming mountain village is a year 'round destination for families and couples because of the variety of activities.
The "Smokies" are part of the Appalachain Mountain chain that stretches from north Georgia to Maine and four times older than the Rockies. Apart from the awe-inspiring natural beauty of the mountains there are more species of plants found in the park than in any other area on the North American continent, earning it a United Nations designation as an International Biosphere Reserve. The park also maintains over 80 historical structures, including homesteads, churches, schoolhouses, and grist mills, providing an insight into the lives of the area's first settlers and are open for viewing at several locations throughout the park.
Visitors will find over 400 specialty shops and galleries to browse through and accommodations from chalets and cabins to campgrounds, hotels, and B&B's. And when it comes to dining, visitors can enjoy gourmet meals in our fine restaurants or great southern cooking in our local cafes. Gatlinburg offers something for everyone in the attractions category including golf, horseback riding, skiing in the winter, go-carts, miniature golf, ice skating, and museums.
Information can be obtained at either Oconaluftee Visitor Center, located at the North Carolina entrance, or Sugarlands Visitor Center just outside Gatlinburg, east Tennessee. Cable Mill Visitor Center, located halfway along the 11 mile loop road through Cades Cove is one of many buildings in the Cable Mill area where visitors can see a working grist mill, blacksmith's shop, cantilevered barn, and the Gregg-Cable house.
HIKING IN THE SMOKIES
Choose from 600 miles of trails. Numbered stakes are keyed to leaflets available at trailheads, which describe points of interest along the way.
Easy round trips for the family
- COSBY, 1 mile, Cosby Campground - features nature awareness.
COVE HARDWOOD, 3/4 mile, Chimney Tops Picnic Area features primeval forest.
- ELKMONT, 3/4 mile, Elkmont Campground - features second growth forest.
SUGARLANDS, 1 mile, Sugarlands Welcome Center
INDIAN CREEK FALLS, 2 miles, Deep Creek Campground to a 60’ waterfall.
LAUREL FALLS, 2.5 miles, Little River Road to double drop falls.
GROTTO FALLS, 3 miles, Roaring Fork. Visitors can walk behind the falls.
Moderately difficult round trips for the more experienced hiker.
- BOOGERMAN TRAIL, 7.5 miles, Cataloochee Campground - ancient trees.
CHARLIE’S BUNION, 8.8 miles, Newfound Gap and offers spectacular views.
- SMOKEMONT LOOP, 6 miles, Smokemont Campground - historic homes.
HEN WALLOW FALLS, 4 miles, Deep Creek Campground to a 60’ waterfall.
JUNEYWHANK FALLS, 1.5 miles, Deep Creek Road to a 125’ cascading waterfall.
RAINBOW FALLS,5.5 miles, Cherry Orchard Road to an 80’ sheer drop waterfall.
ANDREWS BALD, 4 miles, Clingmans Dome Road to the Park’s highest bald
- GREGORY BALD, 9 miles, Parsons Branch Road to mysterious treeless area
SILERS BALD, 10 miles, Clingmans Dome Road, offers excellent views.
SPENCE FIELD, 11 miles, Cades Cove picnic area and follows the old road.
Strenuous round trips for the more adventurous
CHIMNEY TOPS, 4 miles, Newfoundland Gap Road, featuring rock climbing.
MT. STERLING, 12 miles, Cataloochee Schoolhouse, features high country forests.
SHUCKSTACK, 10 miles, Twentymile, with panoramic views, allow 7 hours.
ALUM CAVE, 5 miles, Newfound Gap Road, features Heath Bald & Arch Rock.
RAMSEY CASCADES, 8 miles, Greenbriar, to the Park’s highest falls.
Come to Gatlinburg and find out why we're the South's #1 Favorite Mountain Getaway.
©2014 Wentworth, Inc. All Rights Reserved