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How To Get Around Gatlinburg

How To Get Around Gatlinburg


Gatlinburg, Tennessee, is a picturesque town full of thriving natural beauty, cabins near the Smoky Mountains, and thrilling recreational activities. Needless to say, there are a million and one fun things to do in Gatlinburg and the surrounding area. 

For starters, you can walk down the Parkway to shop, stop for a bite to eat, and get your heart pumping with family-friendly activities. You can also hop on the Gatlinburg Trolley and go to Ripley’s Aquarium, the Gatlinburg SkyPark, or Hillbilly Golf. Or, if you rent a vehicle for your trip, you can head over to Ober Mountain or Dollywood. 

The main thing you need to do to experience everything on your bucket list is figuring out the best way to get from place to place. That said, here is an all-inclusive list of how to get around Gatlinburg, approved by locals. 

Catch the Gatlinburg Trolley

  • Price: Free
  • Best for: Getting to activities in Gatlinburg
  • Routes: Blue, Purple, Red, and Yellow
  • Hours of operation: 10:30 a.m. – 10 p.m. from March to April. 8:30 a.m. to midnight from May to October. 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. or 10 p.m. from November to February. 
The orange and green Gatlinburg Trolley picks up passengers on its route.

The signature orange and green Gatlinburg Trolley is a fun option for people who want to experience interesting, less common ways to travel in Gatlinburg. Even better, the trolley is 100% free to ride and hits the road 365 days a year. 

Another perk? You can drop your car off in the Park-N-Ride lot and relax the rest of the way to your destination. This is a bonus if you want to explore downtown without the hassle of finding parking. 

When you’re ready to hitch a ride, pull up the Gatlinburg Trolley Locator to see when the next trolley will arrive. Or, see if you can catch a trolley tour to see the twinkling holiday lights in Gatlinburg from November to January.

Ride the Aerial Tramway

  • Price: Free for kids under 5; $29 for ages 5 and up. 
  • Best for: Traveling between downtown Gatlinburg and Ober Mountain
  • Hours of operation: Opens at 10 a.m. and closes between 4:30 p.m. and 7 p.m., depending on the day of the week. 
The Aerial Tramway carries passengers from downtown Gatlinburg to Ober Mountain.

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The Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway runs by Ober Mountain and stretches 2.1 miles, soaring above the trees and offering breathtaking, panoramic views. The tram carries visitors from downtown Gatlinburg to the Ober Mountain Adventure Park and ski area for free. It takes off every 20 minutes and can fit 120 people. 

You can also choose to upgrade your tram tickets to activity wristbands, which are: 

  • $49 each for guests between the ages of five and 59
  •  $39 for anyone over 60

If you upgrade to the activity wristbands, you’ll still have access to the tram. The only difference is that you can also spend the day at Ober Mountain Adventure Park ice skating, speeding down the Alpine slide, climbing rock walls, flying down the mountain roller coaster, or crashing into your friends and family on ice bumper cars — depending on the season when you visit. 

Finally, when the park closes for the day, you can take the tram back to town to get dinner or head back to your cabin.

Rent a Vehicle

  • Price: The average cost to rent a car in Gatlinburg is $75 per day, but seasonality and availability often cause fluctuations
  • Best for: Good for traveling between cities and self-guided exploration
  • Hours of operation: Most vehicle rental businesses open at 9 a.m. and close between 6 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. 
A family rented a jeep and is checking out the sights around Gatlinburg.

Jeep rentals are a hot commodity in Gatlinburg because they’re built perfectly for exploring the off-road and less-traveled areas nearby. They’re also a good option for anyone who booked a cabin in the woods or beside a creek that needs a sturdy ride to get around. 

Not to mention, a town less than 10 miles down the road is known for hosting the Jeep Invasion, an event where Jeep enthusiasts roll into town for two days of shopping in Gatlinburg, trail rides, and social gatherings. Still, they’re far from the only rental option. 

If you plan to stick close to town or take a scenic drive in Gatlinburg on paved roads, you can also rent a standard family vehicle or a Slingshot. Regardless of your preference, here are some local vehicle rental businesses in Gatlinburg that can hook you up with a reliable ride: 

If you’d like to compare prices before you book, you can also enter the dates you’re visiting on websites like Expedia and Kayak to get a detailed look at your options. 

Order a Ride

  • Price: $15 to $25 on average
  • Best for: Driving in town or to nearby cities
  • Hours of operation: 24/7 if drivers are available
The BENZ-TAXI of Gatlinburg's fleet.

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If you just need an efficient way to get from point A to point B without spending a lot of money on a rental, ordering a ride is probably your best bet. It’s also a good idea if you plan to explore Gatlinburg’s nightlife scene since many transportation options close early. 

Rideshare services like Lyft and Uber are available in and around Gatlinburg. However, you can also call one of these local taxi services: 

Regardless of what you choose, make sure to plan ahead to avoid surge pricing (i.e., prices that rise significantly when demand is high) — this usually happens during events and on weekends. 

Go on foot

  • Price: Free
  • Best for: Getting around downtown

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Join in on the hustle and bustle of the downtown Gatlinburg area for a well-rounded vacation experience. 

Anyone planning to spend most of their time at downtown shops, events, and activities can likely walk most places. Known widely as a walkable town, Gatlinburg has well-maintained, accessible sidewalks that are great for getting to a destination or just going for a stroll.

Make Your Way to the Elk Springs Resort

Spend the day out on the town exploring all that Gatlinburg has to offer. And when you’re done, come back to a cozy and relaxing Elk Springs Resort cabin to wind down for the day. We have a wide selection of cabins with a variety of features and amenities like indoor pools and game rooms to enhance your stay. 

Not sure if we have what you’re looking for? Call us to learn more about our cabins or look at our available cabins online. 

Reserve a cabin