It doesn’t matter what time of year you head to the Great Smoky Mountains, as Tennessee’s Ober Gatlinburg Amusement Park and Ski Area offers fun and games for all seasons. With our complete guide to this attraction, you’ll have all you need to know to plan your next visit.
What Is Ober Gatlinburg
In the hills above the town of Gatlinburg, Ober Gatlinburg Amusement Park and Ski Area is a four-seasons resort surrounded by the beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains. Beyond the six lifts and 10 skiing trails, you can get your heart rate going on the mountain coaster and alpine slide, visit the black bear wildlife habitat, take to the ice all year round, go whitewater rafting and snow tubing and much more.
Beyond the attractions, Ober Gatlinburg is home to a number of restaurants and eateries. There’s also shopping opportunities both up on the mountain and downtown at the Aerial Tramway Shopping Mall.
Where Is Ober Gatlinburg
The resort city of Gatlinburg can be found in east Tennessee, on the edge of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park along U.S. Route 441. Driving distances to Gatlinburg include 197 miles to Birmingham, AL; 205 miles to Atlanta, GA; and 220 miles to Nashville, TN.
How Do I Get to Ober Gatlinburg
Ober Gatlinburg is linked to downtown Gatlinburg via an Aerial Tramway that lifts you up from the city center on a 2.1 mile journey above the trees and onto the mountain. Not only is this the easiest way to reach Ober Gatlinburg, it also gives you the chance to take in the stunning views of the surrounding landscape.
It’s also possible to drive the three miles along Ski Mountain Road from the city center to Ober Gatlinburg. However, there is limited parking ability at the top, and during certain weather conditions the road is only open to vehicles with four-wheel drive and/or chains.
Where Can I Stay in Ober Gatlinburg
There are many places to stay close to the Ober Gatlinburg, including cabins and condos, apartments and hotels. On Ski Mountain Road, between downtown and the ski area, Laurel Point Resort is a family-friendly hotel and chalet village with a range of room options. In Gatlinburg itself, Hampton Inn Gatlinburg is a good value option across the street from the Aerial Tramway. Meanwhile, the nearby Holiday Inn Club Vacations Smoky Mountain Resort is a good option for families. Take your pick from classic rooms, villas or apartments.
Is Ober Gatlinburg Open Year-Round?
Yes indeed – and it’s open on all holidays too. There are shorter hours on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, but it’s still open throughout the festive period.
Ober Gatlinburg in Summer
In fine weather, the amusement park really comes into its own. Take the scenic chairlift for mountain views, and fly down the mountain on the alpine slide, the mountain coaster and the summer tubing ride. Ober Gatlinburg’s indoor ice arena is open year round, and you can try your hand at the ice bumper cars or climb above it all on the resort’s rock wall.
Other summer attractions include the wildlife encounter, where you can get up close with bears, river otters, bobcats, birds of prey and more. The summer is also a time to make a splash with the water raft rides. There’s mini golf and a maze, as well as Kiddie Land & Rides for the little ones, including ladders and slides, a miniature train and play area.
Ober Gatlinburg in Fall
It’s all about the colors during fall in Ober Gatlinburg, with the Great Smoky Mountains foliage putting on a show. Activities include the indoor ice arena, Kiddie Land & Rides, a scenic chairlift and an alpine slide. Signature fall events include the first snow tubing days of the year, the Back in Blue Rail Jam competition and, of course, Oktoberfest.
Oktoberfest at Ober Gatlinburg
A little taste of Bavaria in the Great Smoky Mountains, the Ober Gatlinburg Oktoberfest runs from the end of September through to the beginning of November and includes traditional German food, from schnitzel to bratwurst, and classic Oktoberfest music from the Smoky Mountain Oompah Band. Of course, the outdoor biergarten will keep you from going thirsty, with lots of activities and games for the younger guests.
Ober Gatlinburg in Winter
In the winter it’s time to hit the slopes at Ober Gatlinburg. The ski season running from approximately early December to mid-March, depending on the weather. Beyond the Aerial Tramway there are six further lifts in the ski area. These link the 10 different ski runs from beginner to intermediate and advanced. The Terrain Park is where you can try your tricks on a perfectly maintained track of jibs, ramps and mogul runs. The Terrain Park is also home to a number of snowboarding and freestyle competitions throughout the season.
Of course, it’s possible to rent all the equipment you need at the park, and the ski and snowboard school is there to get you started or refresh your skills. Winter is also the time for snow tubing, while the Cubbies Snow Zone is aimed at the smallest guests and is a great way to give your little ones a bit of winter excitement during the ski season.
Ober Gatlinburg in Spring
The Great Smoky Mountains look fantastic in the spring, as they emerge from their winter blanket of snow, with fabulous views from the Aerial Tramway. All the amusement park attractions are open. This includes the mountain coaster, rock wall for climbing and the indoor ice arena. Visit before the end of March and there is still time to try snow tubing. Additionally, you’ll get to see some of the animals waking up after their hibernation, including the resident black bears.
Signature events for spring include the Mayfest, a traditional German festival celebrating the end of winter. You can expect various culinary treats, maypole dancing and plenty of good beer. Other events include the spring mountain run, a tough 5k challenge.