Gatlinburg, Tennessee, is often grouped with next door Pigeon Forge when it comes to vacations. The two small cities are near the North Carolina state line in eastern Tennessee. While Pigeon Forge is known for having the Dollywood amusement park and the Titanic Museum, visitors can spend an entire vacation without ever leaving Gatlinburg or the adjacent Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The city has enough year-round activities to keep people busy for an extended period.
WEATHER & WHAT TO WEAR
Expect the unexpected when it comes to weather conditions in the Great Smoky Mountains. Traverse the lower countryside in warm weather or hike through cooler temperatures at higher elevations, all in the same day. The temperature can drop 10 to 20 degrees the higher you go in the mountains. Be sure to dress accordingly, with layers in order to remain comfortable regardless of changing temperatures. Bring both long- and short-sleeved clothes to accommodate whatever weather you may encounter during your visit. Don’t forget that it gets dark early in the mountains, so plan your hike accordingly.
If you are traveling by car through the Great Smoky Mountains, be careful of tight curves, steep inclines and narrow drop-offs. They can be treacherous, especially if you are not accustomed to driving on mountain roads. The best way to stay safe while driving in the mountains is to remember a couple of simple rules. Drive slowly. Take curves slowly to avoid skidding. Avoid driving during bad weather. Light rain and black ice can make the road very slippery. Remember to make sure everyone in your car wears a seatbelt.
Part of the thrill of visiting the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is to view its beautiful waterfalls and streams. Be careful around the water because the moss on logs and boulders can make for very slippery footing. Never drink the water. It may contain natural parasites and impurities that can make you very sick. Swimming also can make you sick and is dangerous because of submerged rocks, logs and debris. Also, NEVER approach or feed any wild animals you encounter during you visit in the Smokies.
Leave the driving behind and enjoy the Gatlinburg Trolley, which offers six different routes depending on location and more than 100 stops, some with sheltered waiting areas. Trolley fare ranges from 25 cents to $2. Simply look for the street signs with a small trolley. Don’t miss the annual Gatlinburg Winter Magic Trolley of Lights. For more information about the Gatlinburg Trolley, call 865-436-3897.
Pigeon Forge Trolley
The Pigeon Forge Trolley, which also offers more than 100 stops, runs daily at 20-minute intervals from 8:30 AM to midnight (April through October) and 10 AM to 10 PM (November and December). Trolley fare is 25 cents. For more information about the Pigeon Forge Trolley, call 865-453-6444.
Gatlinburg-Pigeon Forge Airport
1255 Airport Road, Sevierville, Tennessee
McGhee Tyson Airport
2055 Alcoa Highway, Alcoa, Tennessee
Distance to Gatlinburg from Major Cities
Atlanta, Georgia – 197 miles
Charlotte, North Carolina – 195 miles
Chattanooga, Tennessee – 71 miles
Chicago, Illinois – 580 miles
Columbia, South Carolina – 228 miles
Memphis, Tennessee – 436 miles
Nashville, Tennessee – 223 miles
Raleigh, North Carolina – 325 miles
Richmond, Virginia – 438 miles
St. Louis, Missouri – 530 miles
Washington, DC – 489 miles