Cades Cove in the Snow
December 14, 2023

A new year calls for new adventures in the Smokies! Whether you want to soak up the snowy winter days in Gatlinburg or take it easy enjoying the attractions in the area, you’ll find plenty of fun things to do! Check out these 5 great things to do in Gatlinburg in January!

1. Ring in The New Year

Night time in Gatlinburg

Kick off the new year with a trip to Smoky Mountains and celebrate with the New Year’s Eve Ball Drop and Fireworks show in downtown Gatlinburg. Since 1987 families, friends, and couples have been gathering together here in the Smokies for one of the greatest New Year’s Eve events in the country. It’s a fantastic way to start the new year off right with fun, festivities and new adventures.

2. Ober Mountain

Tennessee’s only ski resort, Ober Mountain , sits above downtown Gatlinburg and is one of the top destinations in the Smokies during the winter months. January is the perfect time to hit the slopes with time skiing or snowboarding. Spending time snow tubing, ice skating, and attending Ober’s events is a great way to enjoy your vacation in the Smokies and soak up wintertime fun. During your stay with us you’ll be within walking distance of Ober Mountain’s Aerial Tramway that allows you to take a scenic ride to the top. Ober Mountain is one of the perfect things to do in Gatlinburg in January!

3. Visit Ripley’s Aquarium

ripleys aquarium of the smokies in gatlinburg

Even though you’re looking for things to do in Gatlinburg in January, sometimes a classic attraction is the perfect experience! Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies is one of the most highly rated aquariums in America. A day at the aquarium is a treat during every season but can be even better if you’re in town on an extra day in January. Enjoy the warmth of being indoors while you explore exhibits that are made up of over 10,000 amazing creatures of the sea. Walk among the sharks, pet stingrays, take a ride on a glass bottom boat, enjoy live shows, and let the kids play and learn while all of you enjoy your time in the Smoky Mountains. Check out these other fun things to do indoors in Gatlinburg !

4. Enjoy a Less Crowded Hike or Drive

Are you hoping to explore the Great Smoky Mountains National Crowd without as many crowds? January is the perfect time! After the holiday season draws to a close, the heavy traffic and crowds tend to lessen. This is the best time to enjoy the beauty of the Smokies without as much congestion on trails and roads. Some of the best winter hikes are Alum Cave Trail and Rainbow Falls, and there’s never a bad time to take a drive through Cades Cove! Be sure to keep check on road and trail closures before heading to the park — some areas close seasonally, while others close depending on the weather.

5. Lights Over Gatlinburg

If you’ve been to the Smokies recently there’s a good chance that you’ve been to the Gatlinburg SkyLift Park and walked the SkyBridge. However, to see the area lit up with lights is a completely different experience. Until the end of January, you’ll be able to enjoy the Lights Over Gatlinburg event . The Gatlinburg SkyBridge and SkyDeck are covered in thousands of Christmas lights and decorations. Visitors especially love the Tunnel of Light over the SkyBridge and the huge 38 ft. Christmas tree! Take a trip up to the top early in the day and take in all the views of the Smokies. But, you’ll want to return once nighttime sets in so that you can experience the beauty and magic that awaits over downtown Gatlinburg.

Wondering what else you can do when you’re in town? Check out these other fun things to do in Gatlinburg this winter !

New year, new adventures. Who’s ready to check out these things to do in Gatlinburg in January? Check out our Gatlinburg hotel rooms , and find the perfect one at our downtown Gatlinburg hotel for your winter getaway!

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