Winter Events in Gatlinburg

While winter may be cold in the Smokies, it is still a beautiful sight to behold. With a holiday to celebrate in each month of winter, make your way to Elk Springs Resort and cozy up near a fireplace, or relax in a Jacuzzi! In addition, Winterfest is a fantastic way to enjoy the sights of Gatlinburg with lights on display all through town, or you can ride down Tubing Hill at the Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort, and definitely go see Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas.

“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.”

– Edith Sitwell

Weather to Expect:

The temperature is cool with highs in the high 40s-low 50s during the day and mid-low 30s at night. With snow-topped peaks at higher elevations with an average snowfall of around 12 inches, you might have a white Christmas after all.


December Events

Pigeon Forge Winterfest

NOVEMBER 8, 2016 – FEBRUARY 28, 2017

The Pigeon Forge Winterfest is the longest lasting winter light display in the Smokies. Join locals and guests alike for cider sipping, candy sampling, live music and of course, lights!

Gatlinburg Winter Magic Trolley Ride of Lights

NOVEMBER 9, 2016 – JANUARY 31, 2017

The streets of Gatlinburg have never been brighter! Featuring one-of-a-kind LED light displays, guests can see custom-built winter forests, snowmen, dancing fountains, indigenous animals such as deer, squirrels, foxes, and more! Now that the lights have been converted to LED bulbs, the City of Gatlinburg saves 95% in energy cost allowing all 120 days to be lit for the price of three days of electricity! Trolley rides are at 6:30, 7:30, and 8:30. $5

Dollywood Holiday Events

NOVEMBER 5, 2016 – JANUARY 1, 2017

Starting in early February, Dollywood hosts a number of holiday-related events such as Appalachian Christmas, Carol of the Trees, A Christmas Carol, and a Gospel Christmas. For more information, click here.

Winter Magic Tunes & Tales

NOVEMBER 27, 2016 – DECEMBER 17, 2016

On Friday and Saturday nights all winter long, enjoy free live entertainment on the Parkway including caroling, storytelling, and lights!

Breakfast or Brunch with Santa

DECEMBER 3, 2016

Head to the Old Mill Square for breakfast or brunch with Santa and create a lasting memory for the whole family!

Great Smoky Christmas Arts & Crafts Show


The Gatlinburg Arts and Crafts Community is the nation’s largest organization of independent artisans, and every December they bring you crafts and hand make products such as quilts, woven baskets, hand-dipped candles, leather goods, jewelry, art, and pottery. The Gatlinburg Convention Center hosts hundreds of artisans each year and this event is free.

Gatlinburg Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade

DECEMBER 5, 2014

Join in early for the 39th Annual Fantasy of Lights Parade in downtown Gatlinburg. Be sure to bundle up and arrive early as the streets fill up quick! The parade starts at 7:30pm, and includes marching bands, giant Christmas balloons, and of course, the Winter Magic Lights.

Christmas in the Smokies Bluegrass Festival

DECEMBER 7 – 10, 2016

Head over to the Smoky Mountain Convention Center in Pigeon Forge to hear some of the oldest and finest music in the Smokies: bluegrass. Combined with your Christmas favorites, it’s sure to be a family favorite. For more information and tickets visit the their official website.

New Year’s Eve Ball Drop & Fireworks


Live it up mountain-style on the most festive night of the year in the 27th annual New Year’s Eve Ball Drop and Fireworks Show! Gather near the Space Needle at the intersection of the Parkway and Historic Nature Trail Road for the show, and stay afterwards for the street party featuring music, celebration specials at local restaurants and more.


January Events

Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway

The Tramway is open year-round, but can be especially spectacular with all the winter lights up around Gatlinburg. The Tramway holds 120 passengers and departs from downtown Gatlinburg to the Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort & Amusement Park regularly.

Penguin Playhouse at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies

Keep warm while mingling with winter’s favorite birds, penguins! The Ripley’s Penguin Playhouse has an interactive display that will let you get up close and personal in the world’s best penguin exhibit. Daily activities are abound, and you can even take home an original penguin painting to cherish the memories! See www.ripleysaquarium.com for more details.


February Events

Yeti’s Run Opens at Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort

For the first time since 1987, Ober Gatlinburg is opening a new ski slope to guests. The advanced slope will slip off to the left from the top of existing Black Lift letting skiers and snowboarders head down a 635-foot long and 45 feet wide run. Day and nighttime ski options are available all 2014-1015 Winter Season long. See http://obergatlinburg.com/ for more information.

Winter Hiking in the Smokies

There are lots of trails that are quite beautiful when covered in snow. If you are ready to dress warmly and see historic homesteads, beautiful mountain views, and more! Check out our own Hiking Guide for tips, top hikes, a hiking checklist and more.

Saddle Up


Grab your hat and boots and saddle up with singers, cooks, storytellers and cowboys and girls from all over Tennessee. Learn more about the event and get tickets here.