Blog for Zipline Attraction in the Smoky Mountains

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


Why Visit The Smokies Now?

By Ross Bodhi Ogle
Posted on January 2, 2024

It's over. The frenzy of shopping, making the rounds to visit family during Christmas, returning and exchanging unwanted gifts, staying up until midnight - or falling asleep on the couch - to ring in the new year. This is the week that life traditionally gets back to normal - or at least what most of us consider normal. Jobs resume, routines are re-established.

But what if you're not ready to completely get back to the grind? What if you still want to milk just a little more merriment from this transitional period from one year to the next. We would like to recommend visiting the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee.

Yes, the Smokies were certainly a blast during the holidays. There were shopping destinations galore, lots of great holiday shows, Winterfest lights, visits from Santa and much, much more. But what about now? Hasn't all that gone away? What would be the point of going to Sevierville, Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg in early January? This post offers several great arguments for why visiting the Smoky Mountains might be a good way to transition from those holiday highs into the dreariness of mid-winter.

Pssst… The lights are still on

If you missed seeing all the Winterfest lights in the Smokies during the holiday season, it's not too late. They'll be up through the end of February throughout the area. From brightly lit utility poles to animated roadside scenes to drive-through lighting attractions that are embellished by musical soundtracks, there's an entire buffet of opportunities when it comes to holiday lights alone. Contact the respective visitors' bureaus in Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg and Sevierville or visit their websites to find maps detailing where each city's light displays are located. Then during your visit to the mountains, set aside some time one night (or two or three) to drive around and see all the magic. None of the cities operate trolley tours of the lights anymore, but if you ride the trolley systems at night, you'll certainly see some of them. There are also a few commercial ventures, like Scenic Helicopter Tours, that offer visitors unique ways to view all the displays.

You can still shop

Just because Christmas is over doesn't mean all the shops and outlet malls have gone into hibernation like black bears. Those businesses are still open during the off season. And there are several advantages to shopping in the Smokies right now. If you received gift cards for Christmas, many of them might be spendable at Smoky Mountain locations. That goes not just for retail stores but for restaurants and attractions as well. This is also the time of year that retailers mark down their merchandise to make room for their 2024 stock. So if you still have some cash in your pocket, you might head to the mountains and pick up some great deals, both at the outlet malls and at some of the independently owned stores.

There's still fun to be had

Most of the theater shows do go on winter hiatus, much like we have done at our Smoky zipline attraction, but most other indoor attractions are still open for business. This includes major destinations like Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies and the Titanic Museum Attraction as well as the many unique museums and family amusement centers. In some instances, if you want to ride go-carts outside in the middle of January, you can do it!

Special events

There are also several Winterfest events scheduled for January and February. These include many of the special lighting displays we referenced earlier in this post as well as non-holiday events like Wilderness Wildlife Week (January 22-25) in Pigeon Forge and several Valentine's Day happenings in February.

Hiking for the hardy

You can even still get out and do some hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park this time of year. There are a few caveats to go with that, however. Several of the major routes through the park are closed for winter, including U.S. Hwy. 441 between Gatlinburg and Cherokee, North Carolina. That's because of the increased chances of snow in the higher elevations. And many of the hiking trails become treacherous as you get into the higher elevations as well. But if you dress appropriately (layers, layers, layers), put on some grippy boots and stay on the trails, you can still have a great outing in nature.


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

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