If you choose not to drive from Pigeon Forge or any of the other areas surrounding Gatlinburg where youre staying and pay $5 for daily parking, why not opt for the trolley? Midway through the gateway to the park and downtown Gatlinburg, you will find a welcome center. Just beyond the parking lot of the welcome center, you will find a waiting area for the Gatlinburg trolley system. Trolleys drop off and pick up at the aquarium for persons traveling to and from the gateway area.
This came in hand for us, as we didn't have to take the car. With a rainy day our first day there, Mike got cold and had to go back to the room for jeans and a jacket. It was easier for us to do this, as we only had to pay $1 between us, as opposed to using the gas to go back & forth and pay $5 twice in a day to park the car.
Trolleys usually arrive at the stops every 20-25 minutes and it's $.50 per person for a one way ride, or for $2 you can get a day pass.
Gatlinburg has more tourists coming through daily than they have parking places. Staying on the strip is very helpful.
Due to the influx of traffic, parking is difficult to say the least. Walking is a main mode of transportation while in Gatlinburg.
The streets are well marked with Crossing lanes every few hundred feet. Cars are to stop for all pedestrians crossing.
During high tourist seasons, you can walk the strip easily or you can sit in traffic. I prefer to walk!!
Gatlingburg takes only 30 min. from the Interstate in Janurary but in the spring and summer can easily take 3 hours to reach!!
If you are not a local and know the back ways then you will have a hard time getting there.
This 120 passenger tram departs the station on the Parkway in Gatlinburg every 20 minutes and carries passengers 2.1 miles to the top of Mt. Harrison and Ober Gatlinburg. Along the way you will enjoy unsurpassed vistas while traveling at a top speed of 23 mph. The trip takes about 10 minutes.
Ober Gatlinburg is a year-round amusement park and ski resort. The skiing here isn't the best, being in a southern clime, but with snow making capabilities the season usually runs from mid-December through early March. There are 8 trails ranging from beginner to expert. There is also an 1800-foot twin track Alpine Slide and a year-round indoor ice skating arena.
Other attractions at Ober-Gatlinburg include the Municipal Black Bear Habitat, Craft & Gift Shops, Spider Web, Bungee Run, Kiddie Land, Video Arcade and a Restaurant/Lounge. The ride on the tram itself is well worth the trip.
The best way to get around Gatlinburg is to park the car and walk. We always stay at a hotel in town and then walk to everything we can in town. However, there are restaurants on East Parkway that are best to be driven to.
There is a sky lift that will take you to the top of the mountain for a great view of Gatlinburg. You can also take a tram or drive up the mountain to Ober Gatlinburg.. Ober Gatlinburg has plenty of things to do even if you do not ski. There are shops and places to eat. They have a bear habitat and a ice skating rink. Fun for all.
It is a good idea to stay in a hotel in downtown Gatlinburg if traveling during a busy time. This way you can walk everywhere you need to go. They have trolleys to take you to many places in and around Gatlinburg. This tram will take you to Ober Gatlinburg. You can also drive to Ober Gatlinburg. You will enjoy the ride as you will be able to see a lot of the city from the tram.
If traveling through Nashville consider I-40 East to Exit 364 at State Route 95, then U.S. 321 East, continuing through Maryville and Townsend, then Highway 73 to Gatlinburg. If traveling through Lexington on I-75 South, consider taking I-40 West from Knoxville to Exit 364 at State Route 95 and follow the same directions into Gatlinburg.
If traveling through Roanoke on I-81 South, consider I-40 East to Exit 435 or 443 (Foothills Parkway), turn onto U.S. 321 and continue until you reach Gatlinburg.
When traveling through Asheville on I-40 West, take Exit 443 (Foothills Parkway) or Exit 435, then turn left onto U.S. 321 and continue until you reach Gatlinburg.
If you're traveling through Chattanooga, consider I-75 North to Exit 81 at State Route 95, then Highway 321 East continuing through Maryville and Townsend, then Highway 73 to Gatlinburg.
Through town can be slow due to pedestrians crossing, so get to know the Gatlinburg By-Pass
I-40 East (from Knoxville) take exit 407, Hwy. 66, then 441 South to Gatlinburg.
I-40 West (from Asheville, NC) take exit 440 (Foothills Parkway) to Hwy. 321 West to Gatlinburg.
If you are close to town, walking is the best way to get around. If walking is not your thing, the city has a trolley system that covers most of the city.
Gatlinburg is situated at the base of the Smoky Mountains in eastern Tennessee. You really have to want to go there in order to get there. We were in Chattanooga, so we drove on I75 northeast to Knoxville (approx. 114 miles), then headed east on I40 through Knoxville, then south on route 441 to Gatlinburg. To get out you need to back track, or go over the Smoky Mountains.
It's best to have a car to drive around the town. There is a free shuttle service that takes you around, but you have to walk to anywhere that's not on the shuttle routes.