Congratulations! By choosing a trip to Tennessee to soak up the history of Gatlinburg, you’re in great company.
Approximately 12 million people visit Gatlinburg’s County, Sevier County, every year. That’s quite a difference from just the 71,000 residents of the county (plus 1,600 black bears!).
Whether you’re planning to hike, tour, ski, shop, or rest, don’t visit Gatlinburg before you read a couple of quick facts about your planned destination.
Pack for It All!
Is a visit to one of Gatlinburg’s world-famous historical sites on your agenda?
Don’t just toss a couple of little dresses and sandals in your bag and head out the door.
Gatlinburg (go ahead, call it G-burg, many do!) has one of the widest ranges of weather temperature ranges you’ll see in your travels, so it can be hard to pin down what to pack, especially if you’re packing way in advance.
Heading to G-burg in October? Well, you could be taking selfies with a statue in 28 degree temperatures all the way up through 90 degrees.
January ranges from a brisk 7 degrees up through a balmy 73 degrees.
Even summer can range – from 52 and 55 in June and July up to 99 and 97 degrees, respectively.
Beat Mother Nature by bringing lots of light layers. You can roll them up in your bags so they won’t snag too much room, and shed throughout your day as you tour.
Prepare for some rain too, with a small foldable umbrella stashed in your bag. The average lowest rain is about 2.4″ in October with “the floods” coming in July with 5.5″. The Smoky Mountains are actually considered temperate rain forest. The high elevations can see upwards of 80 inches of rain per year!
The (Off-Book) History of Gatlinburg: Snow to Mountains
Your first inkling that Gatlinburg was a place of interest may have been when your teacher assigned it as a unit in school.
Which probably didn’t pique your interest at the time, but many adults come to know and love G-burg for its culture and history and the way it seems carved out of time a bit.
Well, as adults, we get to enjoy our travels by going off the book, and Gatlinburg visitors find many facts about G-burg’s history that haven’t (yet) made the books.
While much of the write up on Gatlinburg concerns its connection to the Civil War, adventure seekers may want to read up on this fast fact: G-burg is the only place to ski in Tennessee!
Strap on your skis and drift over to Ober Mountain, which has 9 runs and rents out equipment.
Ober also features:
- Aerial tram
- Wildlife encounters (including bears, otters, and bobcats!)
- A ski coaster
- Winter sports outfitter
- Multiple shops
- Aqua massage
- Old time photos
- Handmade candy and taffy
Plus there’s also a webcam and live stream, which means you can set up a time to “appear” online and say real-time hellos to your friends and family back home!
Of course, there’s nothing like seeing the real deal.
Fortunately, the Civil War has ended, but you can see something so close to the real deal that you may even swear it is.
It’s called reenactment, and Gatlinburg is rife with it!
Check out groups that put on reenactments such as the Battle of Burg Hill, complete with full armor and period dress, year-specific flags, weaponry, and more.
Actors remain fully in character and are pleased to interact with you.
In some cases, you may actually even participate in the battle!
Something many people may not know about East Tennessee history – the area was staunchly pro-union during the Civil War.
Gatlinburg’s 15 Minutes of Fame
Andy Warhol wasn’t born in Gatlinburg (Pittsburgh, PA can claim him as its native son), but enough famed-faces hail from East Tennessee to help push way past Warhol’s claimed “15 minutes of fame,” including:
- Beloved writer Cormac McCarthy (“The Road,” “All the Pretty Horses”)
- Actress Christina Hendricks (“Mad Men”)
- Whiskey magnate Jack Daniel (Jack Daniel’s whiskey)
- Actress Patricia Neal (“Hud”)
- Stuntman and prankster Johnny Knoxville (“Jackass,” MTV)
If you’ll be touring around some of Gatlinburg’s neighboring towns such as Pigeon Forge and the Smoky Mountains, you may also find an homage to some of Tennessee’s other famed faces who have helped form the history of Gatlinburg and its surroundings, such as:
- Dolly Parton (singer)
- Johnny Cash (singer)
- Chet Atkins (bluegrass musician)
- Davy Crockett (explorer and politician)
Pets on the Prowl
You’re ready and excited for your trip to Gatlinburg, then you catch sight of your dog’s pouting face.
It’s a sad fact for most travelers: leaving behind our pets is the worst.
You don’t have to.
In fact, several areas you’ll definitely want to hit on your tour of the history of Gatlinburg welcome animals (though the usual disclaimer of always checking ahead is true here).
Dogs are welcome at Great Smoky Mountains National Park with some cautions:
- Keep pups on a leash that maxes out at six feet.
- Stay on the Gatlinburg or Oconaluftee River Trails, both are dog-friendly. Dogs are not allowed on any other trail in the Smokies. Don’t get an expensive fine – stay on the designated two trails!
- Dogs must remain on the “developed” areas (campgrounds, paved roads, and picnic sites – don’t go off into the wilderness).
Several restaurants and shops also cheerfully welcome four-legged Gatlinburg visitors.
Before you go, make sure to book pet-friendly lodgings, too. There’s nothing worse than getting to your destination, ready to explore, and being turned away. And there’s no need to sneak your pet in.
So many options area available, from the cabins themselves to the number of bedrooms, to choosing your amenities such as hot tub or Jacuzzi, mountain views, and even pool tables and home theaters for when some of G-burg’s weather just doesn’t favor outside activity.
Get to Know Gatlinburg
These days, it’s so easy to just jump online and start clicking into travel booking sites without really knowing what you’re getting yourself into.
That’s where we come in!
Let us help you plan and book a perfect trip to G-burg. Whether you want to truly immerse yourself in the history of Gatlinburg or sample some sights and then branch out, we know our town.
Click here to get all the ways to contact us, including direct lines (we even have lots of available hours to talk on Saturdays and Sundays) and an in-page chat box.
We’ll be happy to help you no matter what stage you’re in to plan the best trip to Gatlinburg for you!