The best way to get to this combination of a ski resort and amusement park — which sits pretty 1,400 feet above downtown Gatlinburg — is to take a ten-minute, two-mile ride on one of the largest aerial tramways in the U.S. Once you disembark, you can enjoy several wacky water rides in summer or the ski slopes (10 trails for all abilities), snowboarding terrain park, and snow-tubing park in the winter.
Tip: If you buy a lift ticket, show your aerial tram ticket and you’ll get a discount.
While the 600-foot vertical drop is relatively tame, Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort has excellent snow-making, equipment rentals, and a ski school. You can even rent parkas and snow pants, too!
In good weather (year-round), you can also enjoy the alpine slide (two hair-raising, 1,800-foot tracks side-by-side) and a scenic chair lift. Kiddie Land, which offers lots of small-fry activity options, including a ride on a miniature train, is open only in the summer. Indoor activities that are open year-round include a large indoor ice skating rink, various zany arcade games, a traditional carousel and the Smoky Mountain Wildlife Encounter (a mini zoo displaying regional critters).
Note: Be aware that Ober Gatlinburg does close for about ten days each year between the end of April and the beginning of May.