Gatlinburg, Tennessee has a rich history that dates back to the early 1800s. The town was founded in 1807 by William Ogle, who built a cabin in what is now downtown Gatlinburg. Ogle and his family were among the first settlers in the area, which was then known as White Oak Flats.
Throughout the 19th century, Gatlinburg grew slowly as more settlers arrived and established homesteads in the area. The town's economy was primarily based on agriculture, and the people of Gatlinburg grew crops such as corn, wheat, and tobacco.
In the early 1900s, the creation of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park brought new opportunities to Gatlinburg. The town became a gateway to the park, and visitors began to arrive in increasing numbers to explore the area's natural beauty.
As tourism grew, Gatlinburg developed into a bustling mountain resort town, with attractions such as the Gatlinburg Sky Lift, Ripley's Believe It or Not! Museum, and the Ober Gatlinburg ski resort.
In 2016, Gatlinburg suffered a devastating wildfire that destroyed hundreds of homes and businesses. The community banded together to rebuild and recover, and today, Gatlinburg continues to thrive as a popular tourist destination, with attractions that celebrate the town's rich history and natural beauty, including the Gatlinburg Arts & Crafts Community, the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center, and the Gatlinburg Space Needle.
Top Tourist Attractions
Gatlinburg, Tennessee is a popular tourist destination with a wide variety of attractions for visitors to enjoy. Some of the top tourist attractions in the area include:
- Great Smoky Mountains National Park: The most popular attraction in the area, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers visitors breathtaking views of the mountains, hiking trails, wildlife viewing, and more.
- Ober Gatlinburg: This ski resort and amusement park offers year-round activities such as skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, an alpine slide, and more.
- Gatlinburg SkyLift Park: This park features a chairlift that takes visitors to the top of Crockett Mountain for stunning views of the surrounding mountains.
- Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies: This popular attraction features over 10,000 sea creatures and a variety of interactive exhibits.
- Gatlinburg Space Needle: This observation tower offers 360-degree views of Gatlinburg and the surrounding mountains.
- Anakeesta: An outdoor theme park located on top of Anakeesta Mountain, featuring ziplining, a treetop canopy walk, a mountain coaster, and more.
- Gatlinburg Arts & Crafts Community: This 8-mile loop features over 100 local artisans and craftsmen, offering visitors a chance to browse and purchase unique handmade items.
- Sugarlands Distilling Company: This craft distillery offers tours and tastings of their award-winning moonshine and whiskey.
- Great Smoky Mountains Wheel: A 200-foot-tall Ferris wheel located in the heart of Gatlinburg, offering views of the city and the surrounding mountains.
- Smoky Mountain Winery: A family-owned winery offering tours and tastings of their award-winning wines, including a variety of fruit wines made from locally grown produce.
Gatlinburg, Tennessee has a humid subtropical climate, characterized by hot summers and mild winters. The area receives an average of 53 inches of rainfall per year, with the majority of the precipitation occurring during the summer months.
Summer temperatures in Gatlinburg typically range from the mid-80s to low 90s Fahrenheit (29-34 Celsius), with high humidity levels. Winters are mild, with average temperatures in the mid-40s to low 50s Fahrenheit (7-10 Celsius), and occasional snowfall.
Spring and fall are pleasant times to visit Gatlinburg, with mild temperatures and lower humidity levels. However, the area is known for its unpredictable weather, and visitors should be prepared for sudden changes in temperature and precipitation.
Overall, Gatlinburg's climate is characterized by warm summers, mild winters, and a high likelihood of rainfall throughout the year. Visitors should pack accordingly and be prepared for changes in weather during their visit.
The town is located in Sevier County, at an elevation of approximately 1,300 feet above sea level.
The Pigeon River flows through the town of Gatlinburg, providing opportunities for fishing and rafting. The area is also home to several waterfalls, including Grotto Falls, Rainbow Falls, and Laurel Falls.
Gatlinburg's location in the mountains provides stunning views of the surrounding landscape, with many scenic overlooks and vistas accessible via hiking trails or scenic drives. The area is also known for its fall foliage, which attracts visitors from around the world to witness the vibrant display of autumn colors.
Overall, Gatlinburg's geography is characterized by its mountainous terrain, pristine forests, and abundant natural beauty, making it a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers.
Anakeesta is an outdoor theme park located in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. It is situated on a 70-acre site on top of Anakeesta Mountain and offers breathtaking views of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
The park features a variety of attractions and activities, including ziplining, a treetop canopy walk, a mountain coaster, and a chairlift that takes visitors to the top of the mountain. There is also a play area for children, a shopping village, and several dining options, including a smokehouse and a café.
One of the park's most popular attractions is the Firefly Village, a collection of shops, restaurants, and attractions that are built to resemble a small mountain village. Visitors can browse through unique gifts and souvenirs or watch glassblowers and blacksmiths at work.
Another highlight of Anakeesta is the AnaVista Tower, a 360-degree observation tower that stands 55 feet tall and offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. Overall, Anakeesta is a popular destination for families, outdoor enthusiasts, and anyone looking to experience the natural beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains in a unique and exciting way.