Things to Do in the Smokies during Winter
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The Best Things to Do in the Smokies during Winter

Where better to travel for a winter getaway than the Smoky Mountains?  The towns of Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg become a picturesque scene, ensconced in snow-capped mountains and luminous holiday decorations.  The quaint mountain villages have plenty to offer, with numerous attractions, shopping, dining and, of course, the great outdoors available to visitors.  Want to learn more about things to do in the Smokies during winter?  Read on.   

Things to Do in the Smokies during Winter

Hit the Slopes

Visit Ober Gatlinburg for family fun in the snow.  The mountaintop ski resort makes its own snow, which means no matter the weather you can always take part in winter activities like skiing, tubing, and snowboarding.  Need to warm up?  Visit the on-site shops or restaurant for a quick warm-up. 

Things to Do in the Smokies during Winter

Visit Dollywood

If you visit the Smokies during December you’ll still have time to experience A Smoky Mountain Christmas.  The theme park transforms into a winter wonderland filled with four million holiday lights and spectacular holiday performances.  Three of the top things to do at Dollywood include watching A Christmas Carol, the Carol of the Trees and Parade of Many Colors.

Dollywood’s “It’s a Wonderful Life,” an original musical adaptation of the 1946 film, brings to life the small town charm of George Bailey and how he discovers the value of life, family, and friends. It’s a can’t miss Dollywood holiday production. In addition, The Carol of the Trees is a dazzling sight to see as thousands of lights synchronize with holiday music to transform Rivertown Lake into a seasonal symphony while the Parade of Many Colors marches through the park nightly with bringing Christmas cheer aboard parade floats adorned with bright lights.

In 2018, Glacier Ridge will also be a highlight. This massive area will immerse guests in a winter wonderland filled with sparkling displays, Christmas music and decor, and a 50-foot video motion Christmas tree!

Things to Do in the Smokies during Winter
Ring in the New Year

Both Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg offer special events to help you welcome 2019.  The Island in Pigeon Forge is hosting a New Year’s Party featuring live music, fireworks and midnight rides aboard The Great Smoky Mountain Wheel. The fun begins at 10:00 PM. In addition, Gatlinburg hosts its annual New Year’s Eve Ball Drop and Fireworks Show on December 31.  Held at the base of The Space Needle, the event features live music, fireworks, and a midnight ball drop.  The popular event has been named one of “Best New Year’s Eve Shows in the South.”  Wrap up in your best winter wear, grab a hot beverage and toast to 2019 in the Smoky Mountains!

Things to Do in the Smokies during Winter

See the Sights

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is beautiful any time of year, including winter.  It may be cold outside but you can still see some of the most majestic sights by auto-touring the region.  Auto-touring is great this time of year, too, as you won’t have to deal with bumper-to-bumper traffic.  Many times the mountains will be capped with snow while the roads themselves stay nice and clear, perfect for safe travels.  If you’ve brought your cold weather gear you can also take to the trails.  Have you ever seen a frozen waterfall?  Or perhaps a snow-dusted hike through the woods is in order.  Places like Cades Cove and Roaring Fork Motor Trail are a marvel to see during this season, especially with deer and other wildlife in full strut.

Even More Things to Do in the Smokies during Winter

The things to do in the Smokies during winter don’t end there. Add even more fun to your winter vacation by visiting the Ripley’s Aquarium, attending a show like Dixie Stampede or enjoying one of the many Pigeon Forge attractions that are open year-round.


Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Pigeon Forge to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.
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