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One of the best parts about visiting Smoky Mountains in the winter is seeing the gorgeous views that surround you everywhere you turn. The Smokies truly transform into a winter wonderland! From snow-covered mountain peaks to frozen waterfalls and icicles, you can see it all during the winter season. To help you decide where to go to see the best views of the Smoky Mountains in the winter, we’ve made a list of the top 6 places!
1. Alum Cave Trail
If you want to enjoy the winter views up close, go for a hike in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park! One of the best winter hikes is to the Alum Cave Bluffs! The hike is about 2.3 miles to the bluffs along the Alum Cave Trail. Along the way, you pass through Arch Rock and have gorgeous views of Anakeesta Ridge! You’ll also love Inspiration Point, which offers beautiful snowy views during the winter. Once you reach Alum Cave, the views get even better. During the winter, you can even see large icicles hanging from the ledges above!
For more on the best winter hikes, read our blog, “5 of the Most Popular Hiking Trails in the Smoky Mountains During Winter.”
If you’d rather see views of the Smoky Mountains in the winter while having fun at an attraction, plan a visit to Anakeesta. The adventure starts as soon as you hop on the scenic chondola to ride to the top of Anakeesta mountain. From there, we recommend climbing to the top of the AnaVista Tower, an observation tower that provides breathtaking views from the highest point in downtown Gatlinburg! You can also admire a snow-covered Mount LeConte while you dine at the Cliff Top Restaurant, or keep warm by the fire pit while you take in the winter scenery.
3. Ober Gatlinburg
Another popular winter attraction you don’t want to miss is Ober Gatlinburg. This spot offers a mountaintop of winter fun, including skiing, snowboarding and snow tubing. Plus, you’ll have the best views of the Smoky Mountains in the winter from the Aerial Tramway! Board the Aerial Tramway in downtown Gatlinburg and enjoy a 2.1 mile ride up to the top of Ober Gatlinburg. Along the way, you’ll experience a 1,500 rise in elevation and stunning views of Gatlinburg and the mountains.
4. Gatlinburg Scenic Overlook
If you want to take a quick and easy drive to see some of the best winter views, visit the Gatlinburg Scenic Overlook. This scenic spot is a popular roadside overloop that offers panoramic views of the city and the mountains. The views are great both during the day and at night, and it’s one of the top places to go if you’re hoping to see the Smokies covered in white. The Gatlinburg Scenic Overlook is located along the Gatlinburg Bypass, which runs between the Gatlinburg Spur and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. If you’re coming from Pigeon Forge, you’ll pass the Gatlinburg Visitors Center on your right and see a sign for the Gatlinburg Bypass. From Hwy 441, you’ll drive past the Sugarlands Visitor Center towards Gatlinburg, where you’ll see a small sign that points to the Gatlinburg Bypass.
5. Cades Cove
Cades Cove is one of the most popular destinations in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park! This scenic drive is open all year round, weather permitting. You’ll love driving the 11-mile loop road through the cove, stopping to explore the historic structures and hoping to still catch a glimpse of wildlife in the snow. Some of the best views can be seen in this valley, and if you’re hoping to explore Cades Cove with fewer crowds and traffic than usual, this is the best time to do so!
6. Smoky Mountain Cabin
Of course, you don’t have to go anywhere to see winter scenery when you stay in a cabin! Some of the best views of the Smoky Mountains in the winter can be seen from cabin decks. Can you imagine sipping your morning coffee while watching the snow glisten as the sun rises, or keeping warm in the hot tub while you take in views of the snow-covered trees and mountains. Some cabins even have floor-to-ceiling windows so you can enjoy the sights from inside your cabin! Cabins also come with other great amenities, like full kitchens, fireplaces, games, indoor pools and more. You’ll love everything a Smoky Mountain cabin has to offer you in the winter!
Smoky Mountains Winter Weather Updates
When you’re ready to plan your trip to the Smoky Mountains in the winter, be sure to check the weather so you know the right clothes to pack and what to expect while you’re in town. We can help you stay up to date with our weather videos from Smoky Mountain meteorologist, Paul Poteet. Watch our Smoky Mountain weather forecasts so you know what to expect on your winter vacation!