Gatlinburg is renowned throughout the country for its wintertime sporting atmosphere, including snowboarding, downhill skiing, and cross-country skiing. While people typically think of downhill skiing when they think of skiing in general, cross country skiing is just as invigorating and allows you to explore the snow-capped sights of Gatlinburg. Read on below to learn more about cross country ski in Gatlinburg!
Ski Your Way Through a Winter Wonderland
Tucked away inside of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a fantastic cross-country skiing trail known as Clingmans Dome Road. Normally open to vehicles for most of the year, this road closes during the winter season and transforms into an informal cross country skiing trail where you can ski directly on the snow-blanketed road. It’s a hidden treasure known primarily to locals only, but if you inquire with park staff about cross country skiing locations, they will surely point you in the direction of Clingmans Dome Road.
Another great locale for cross country skiing is Blue Ridge Parkway. Similarly to Clingmans Dome Road, Blue Ridge Parkway is closed to vehicles during the winter season.
Nearby Clingmans Dome Road is the Newfound Gap. This area is famous for its fantastic skiing due to the lack of snowplowing here. However, the weather conditions and lack of plowing can lead to Newfound Gap Road being closed as many as fifteen to twenty times per winter season, so it’s essential to check ahead of time and make sure it’s currently open. If you’re lucky enough to visit when the Newfound Gap is open, you’ll be rewarded with ample snow and stunning views to complement your cross country skiing experience. Enjoy the ethereal backdrop of icicles hanging off of the immense rockfaces that line the road.
While Ober Gatlinburg is a mecca for downhill skiing in the southeastern U.S., much of the area around Gatlinburg—particularly inside of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park—is ideally suited for cross country skiing. And if you choose to cross country skii near Gatlinburg primarily at Clingmans Dome Road or the Newfound Gap, the Nordic Ski Patrol keeps a close watch, ready to help skiers and perform search and rescue operations.
Things to Do in Gatlinburg
Once you are done skiing, you will find that there are many other things to do in town. You can take a walk down the art trail, where you will meet many local crafts people and have the opportunity to purchase their work. You can take in a show at one of the town’s many dinner theaters. You can ride a wooden roller coaster at Dollywood, or just enjoy the Christmas lights at the park. You can ring in the new year at the Space Needle and find jellies and candies to take home at the farmer’s market.
Gatlinburg is a great place to attend a festival. If you love classic cars, you will want to come to town in April for the Spring Rod Run, where you will see some of the coolest rides in the country. If you want to hear some great music, be sure to check out The Smoky Mountain Music Festival that is also held in April. Fall brings Oktoberfest to our town, where you can sip enormous mugs of beer as you walk around Ober Gatlinburg, watch traditional German dances, and eat enormous pretzels.
Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokys is located at 88 River Rd, Gatlinburg, TN and it offers a fun and educational day for the entire family. The massive aquarium has several informative exhibits featuring some of the sea’s most fascinating creatures. You can learn about the lives of sharks, visit a rainforest and even touch a stingray at this attraction. They even offer a glass-bottom boat ride. Tickets are $32 for adults $17.99 for children from 6 to 11 years old and $7.99 for kids who are between the ages of 3 and 5.
Anakeesta is another fun place to spend a day. A chondela, which is a combination of a chairlift and a gondola takes you to the top of the mountain where you will find many shops and restaurants in the Firefly Shopping Center. You will get a panoramic view of the mountains from the lift and you will see the aftermath of a devastating fire that tore across the area a year ago. Adult tickets are just $21.99, seniors pay $19.99 and kids under 12 are just $17.99. A 16-bridge treetop skywalk is included in the price. The skywalk takes you on swinging bridges high above the forest.
Places to Eat
There is an awful lot of good food in the Gateway to the Smokies, and you will want to try a little bit of everything while you are here. If you are looking for a hearty breakfast, you will want to check out the Pancake Pantry located at 628 Parkway in Gatlinburg, TN. Be sure to try the fresh red raspberry pancakes or the sweet and filling cornmeal pancakes along with a cup of the restaurant’s delicious coffee. You will be amazed at the low prices and huge portions of food you will receive.
If you are looking for something a bit fancier, be sure to check out The Park Grill located at 1110 Parkway in Gatlinburg, where you can enjoy your meal in a sophisticated yet rustic atmosphere. The bar offers inventive cocktails made with top shelf alcohol. Be sure to try a Pomegranate Martini or a Manhattan. You will not want to pass up the kitchen’s fresh mountain rainbow trout or the smoky mountain shrimp. Save room for dessert because the Nanner Pudding in a mason jar is the creamiest most decadent confection you will ever eat.
Split Rails Eats is a casual dining restaurant that is located at 849 Glades Road near the covered bridge. It offers tasty food and has a laid-back family atmosphere. The menu consists of comfort food and the dining room is open from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm Tuesday through Saturday and from 10:00 to 3:00 pm on Sunday.
Be sure to try one of the spinach and cheese hand pies that are only $3.00. The southern fried pickles with ranch and cheese curds make for the perfect appetizer and the tater bowls are very popular with the locals.
No one wants to watch their diet when they are on vacation, and Gatlinburg has more than a few sweet shops. If you are stopping by Dollywood, don’t pass up on their famous cinnamon bread which comes topped with butter cinnamon sugar and icing. Mad Dog’s Creamery and Donuts is located at 731 East Parkway and serves some innovative pastries and ice cream concoctions. Some of the shops biggest hits include the rich and creamy caramel pie ice cream and the espresso sugar donuts.
Places to Stay
Gatlinburg is famous for its rustic country charm and its friendly people. Your Smoky Mountain vacation should be spent in a mountain cabin. The Cabin Rental Store can find you a place that is rustic on the outside and filled with modern amenities on the inside.
Cross Country Ski in Gatlinburg!
For more details on cross country skiing and other exciting activities you can enjoy in Gatlinburg, contact our office and discuss reserving your lodgings in one of our pristine vacation rental cabins today! Learn about cross country skii near Gatlinburg. Learn more about us today!