Blog for Zip line Attraction in the Smoky Mountains

Located in Pigeon Forge, TN and near Gatlinburg and Sevierville.

 

Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Winter

By Ross Bodhi Ogle
Posted on February 1, 2022

A couple of weeks ago, we talked about all the things going on at Dollywood theme park during the winter off-season. This time around, we thought we'd shine the spotlight on Great Smoky Mountains National Park and what visitors can expect to find there during the cold-weather months.

The park doesn't close, per se, but because of annual weather conditions, many park locations and roads aren't accessible in winter. And those visiting accessible areas will probably need to plan on modifying the ways in which they enjoy the park's many activities.

First, for those of you who aren't familiar with the area, we'd like to share a general overview of Smoky Mountains weather. Winters can be fickle, with daily highs ranging from the teens all the way to the 50s or 60s, depending on the kind of weather system passing through the area at any given time.

More relevant to this conversation is elevation. Even on days when it's pleasant and mild in the valley (the communities of Sevierville, Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg), there can easily be snowfall on the ground near the mountain tops, which can reach as high as 6,000-feet above sea level and beyond. Even in Gatlinburg, conditions can be more wintry than in Sevierville on the same day, so it's always a good idea to be specific about your destination when planning around the weather and elevation.

Having snow on the ground is great for attractions like Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort, where they thrive on heavy abundant snowfall. But those same conditions can spell danger when it comes to traveling in the national park. Major thoroughfares, like Newfound Gap Road (which runs from Gatlinburg to Cherokee, NC, over the Smokies range) are historically closed during winter, at least for part of the season due to treacherous driving conditions.

If you plan on doing some hiking in the national park, make sure you dress for the occasion. Try to find out the temperature not just at the trailhead but at the highest point in elevation that you plan to journey. Wear multiple layers to stay warm, consider putting some sort of traction accessory or device on your footwear and also consider taking trekking poles for added stability. And if you're planning on staying out for hours, be sure to take enough food and water to stay hydrated and keep your calorie count up.

Some popular winter-hiking destinations in GSMNP include Alum Cave, Porters Creek, Rainbow Falls and Trillium Gap. But as we've mentioned, check the park's website, https://www.nps.gov/grsm/index.htm, to find the latest information on area and road closures. You can also follow @SmokiesRoadsNPS on Twitter to get current info on road closures.

Once you've arrived at your destination, you're in for a treat. The park in winter is as beautiful as it is in spring and summer, and in some ways, it's uniquely beautiful in a way the other seasons can't match. The lack of foliage on many of the trees opens up view opportunities you won't get in summer, and when there's snow on the ground, the park can be a true winter wonderland.

One of the few downsides of visiting the Smokies in winter is that there really aren't great opportunities for ziplining. But when spring arrives and you do finally get to go ziplining, Gatlinburg, Tennessee should be your first stop. That's where you'll find us at Smoky Mountain Ziplines, excited to start a brand-new season!

 

This content posted by Smoky Mountain Ziplines. Visit our home page, smokymountainziplines.com for more information on zipline adventures in the Smoky Mountains.

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